Linux Foundation Certified Systems Administrator (LFCS) Exam Review #LinuxFoundation @linuxfoundation #Linux #CentOS @sandervanvugt @tecmint #vExpert

So I spent a good few months brushing up on my Linux skills for this exam.

Where I work there is a big proportion of VMs that run CentOS 6/7 and with all the other studying I had been doing, I had never had the time to improve my Linux skill set and it has always been an area that I was lacking in.

The reason I went with the Linux Foundation is because they had a black Friday sale on last year where you could get the course and the exam (with a free retake) pretty cheap. My company paid for it and all, but it just seemed like a no brainer .

You can pick from multiple distributions, I obviously went with CenOS7.

I went through the official course and at the finish I felt that overall it was not the best use of my time, so even though it came bundled in, ha I known what I do now….I would have skipped it and gone with other options.

There are not many reviews out there for this exam, I normally like to read how other people tackled it and base my studying around that, but since there wasnt much there I went with what the blueprint had listed.

Blueprint:

This covers A LOT of stuff, it is very broad and I had no idea how they would cover all of this in a 2 hour lab exam and can be found here:

https://training.linuxfoundation.org/images/pdfs/LFCS_Domains_Competencies_V2.16.pdf

Techmint:

A few people recommend the site Techmint and their PDF for the exam. I agree with this the site and the pdf are great. The site in general has lots of tutuorials for the LFCS and LFCE and the pdf is geared towards the exams

https://www.tecmint.com/linux-foundation-lfcs-lfce-certification-exam-book/

@tecmint

Personally I learn best watching video tutorials and by practicing:

The best video course I found in my personal opinion was by @sandervanvugt for LiveLessons and it is not the cheapest

Just look at the course overview:

Table of Contents

Module 1: Essential Commands
Lesson 1:  Installing Linux
Lesson 2:  Using Essential Tools
Lesson 3:  Using Essential File Management Tools
Lesson 4:  Working with Text Files
Lesson 5:  Connecting to a Server
Module 2: User and Group Management and Permissions
Lesson 6:  Managing Users and Groups
Lesson 7:  Managing Linux Permissions and Quota
Module 3: Networking
Lesson 8:  Configuring Networking
Lesson 9:  Configuring the SSH Service
Lesson 10:  Configuring a Firewall
Lesson 11:  Configuring Time Services
Module 4: Operating Running Systems
Lesson 12:  Process Management
Lesson 13:  Managing Software Packages
Lesson 14:  Scheduling Tasks
Lesson 15:  Configuring Logging
Lesson 16:  Basic Kernel Management
Lesson 17:  Managing the Boot Process
Lesson 18:  Managing SELinux and AppArmor
Module 5: Storage Management
Lesson 19:  Managing Partitions
Lesson 20:  Managing LVM Logical Volumes
Lesson 21:  Managing Software RAID
Module 6: Service Configuration
Lesson 22:  Managing Web Services
Lesson 23:  Configuring FTP Services
Lesson 24:  Configuring a Basic DNS Server
Lesson 25:  Providing NFS and CIFS File Shares
Lesson 26:  Configuring a Database Server
Lesson 27:  Configuring Basic E-mail Handling
Lesson 28:  Configuring a Web Proxy
Module 7: Managing Virtualization
Lesson 29:  Working with Virtual Machines

This maps very well to the blueprint for the exam. Once I started going through his course….I was like AH HA! It was giving me the details I needed to be a good admin and also details that would help with my studying/exam. Some of the stuff I learned I showed to the Linux guys in the office and they were like “Ah I didn’t know you could do it that way, that’s pretty sweet”. At the end of each lessons there is a lab with set objective and then a solution which shows you the way he went about it.

I created myself two Centos 7 VMs and gave them lots of disks and took a snapshot and then went through the course. I broke the VMs multiple times and reverted the snapshots etc.

Now for the exam:

Recently there have been a couple of reviews that kind of echo what I have thought after I took the exam.

So you need to set up in a quite room, with nothing on your desk and you need a webcam. The proctor will ask you to show your ID (I used my British photo-card driving license) and then will ask you to pan slowly around the room and underneath the table etc, you also share your screen close anything that’s not your web browser window and confirm in task manager nothing else is running.

You then get two hours to do the exam,  the left side of the screen are the questions and the right side of the screen is the terminal window. It tells you in the exam document FAQ/Tips that you can sudo using sudo -i too.

I never needed to reboot the Linux machine at all, but according to the documentation it is allowed during the exam. You can install whatever  you need to to get the job done.

Now I am grateful for the free retake in some ways, because the exam I experienced was not really a reflection of everything I learned in relation to the blueprint. A lot of the things I had learnt simply did not show up and I failed with 66%, the pass mark is 74%. By no means a catastrophic failure, but a fail none the less. After the exam I was pretty sure where I lost marks and re-booked for a week later, and spent solid time on brushing up on areas that I needed to.

I spent a lot of time learning topics which simply did not show in the exam and as a result I spread myself a bit thin the first time around, the second time I focused in on the areas I didn’t know as well as I should have, it paid off as I passed with 89%. It takes up-to 36 hours for your results to be emailed to you. 

You can request a break and the exam pauses BUT THE TIMER CONTINUES ON. 

Also funny story, during my 2nd attempt with about 45 minutes left on the clock, work decided to have a fire-drill at work. The proctor could hear the alarm and I explained, they paused the exam (timer still running). I managed to come back 15 minutes later and pick up where I left off and finish in time!

Now even though I felt I learned extra stuff I didn’t need to, it has helped me in my current job already esp the video course, which I think is fantastic and if I go for the LFCE I will be using  @sandervanvugt course for that too 100%!

Tips:

Know user manipulation very very well, everything to do with users/groups etc know it like the back of your hand

Know disk manipulation, partitioning,resizing, mounting

Know how to use text editors well

Know how to search/find/copy files and inside files too

Know permission structures and changing them as required

logo_lftcert_sysadmin

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