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How difficult is it to become Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA)?


Based on the reports and trends provided by the National Salary Trend, the RHCSA certification allows IT professionals to earn an average salary of $95,000. This number has seen a steady rise since 2012 and today an experienced professional can earn as high as $115,000, sometimes even more, based on individual capabilities. 

What makes a Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) Certification so valuable?

The value of a certification is majorly driven by two factors, namely market need and market perception.

Market need covers the performance of the technology and its ranking based on how well the technology is fairing in the market.

Market perception usually indicates the required experience and difficulty level of achieving the specific IT certification.

The RHCSA certification checks the box for both these factors.

Red Hat has been leading the Linux operating system for enterprise users for over a decade now. The popularity of Red Hat has reached global heights and is widely accepted and used. Over 90% of the Forbes 500 companies, across various industries, use the Red Hat Linux distribution, giving it a high market reputation which it has so rightfully earned.

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The immense global popularity of Red Hat Linux distribution has given the Red Hat Certified System Administrator certification an edge as being one of the most demanded IT certifications in the system admin space. Whether you’re an IT professional looking to move up the ladder within your organization or a newbie in the tech world who’s trying to get their foot in, the Red Hat certifications have got you covered. RHCSA training and certification is a sure-shot way for you to solidify your skills and demonstrate your worth. However, understanding the way Red Hat certification exam is conducted important. The exam is a performance-based exam that simulates real-world scenarios. The exam is a thorough test of the skills and knowledge of the participants, making it highly regarded and reliable in the IT world.

If you are looking to earn your RHCSA credentials and validate your skills & knowledge in the field, then you’ve reached the right place. Let’s explore some ways to ease your path, just a little bit.

Exam Description 

The performance-based RHCSA exam (EX200) is designed to test your skills and knowledge in the area of system administration across a wide range of environments and deployment scenarios. The exam is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and serves as the foundation towards becoming a Red Hat Certified Architect.

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Red Hat Certified System Administrator Learning Path

To pursue the RHCSA certification, it is mandatory to attend the Red Hat training (on-site or virtual), remote classroom or in-person training from an authorized training provider. Classes for these would be taken by Red Hat certified instructors.


  1. Practice, practice and some more practice – Any IT professional who has cleared the RHCSA exam would always emphasize the importance of practicing. No other trick works wonders like practicing for the RHCSA exam. Spend a considerable amount of time in preparing and learning advanced skills. Set up your home lab and get comfortable using the command line.
  2. Manage your time – The time constraint for RHCSA is not as strict as it is for RHCE. You get 2.5 hours to complete the exam. For 15 questions you get 150 minutes, wherein, you must ensure that you set aside sufficient time to review all the questions, before starting the exam and in the end, spend enough time to review all your answers.
  3. Read and group all the questions first – As briefly mentioned in the previous point, you must review all the questions before you start answering. A lot of questions have dependencies on each other. Therefore, it is better to check for dependencies and answers questions accordingly. Answer the most essential questions first. For example, if:
    • Q5.  is about creating new users
    • Q6.  is about configuring the network connection
    • Q9.  is about giving users different assess for some file

    So, in this case, it is better to group Q5 and Q9 and solve them together.

  4. Adjust the environment before you begin the exam – The worst thing you could do is spend the exam time in equipping yourself appropriately and getting used to the environment. Make sure you are used to the settings on your computer, screen lighting and keyboard layouts. For example, the default keyboard layout for the exam is en-US, so you have to get used to that layout. Essentially you have to ensure that you dot your i’s and cross your t’s before starting the exam.
  5. Familiarity with the official documentation – Familiarize yourself with the official documentation for the product being tested. Read and understand all the objectives. But remember that you do not get unrestricted internet access during the exam. So, it is imperative to prepare yourself accordingly.
  6. Reboot the system – This point is an important one to remember. It is imperative to reboot the system after solving a destructive task. In the off chance that your machine breaks down and becomes unbootable, you will need to reset the machine which will result in loss of all the questions already finished. Therefore, it is important to reboot your system after each destructive question.
  7. Join communities – Red Hat has a large online community. This community involves various experts, Red Hat trainers and candidates. The community is quite active and everybody is extremely helpful. They may answer any queries you may have and provide online assistance whenever possible.

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Why focus on the Red Hat Certified System Administrator certificate?

Still, wondering if RHCSA is the right journey for you? The following points may help you make up your mind.

  1. The RHCSA certificate is held at such high standards that it places you amongst the crème of the IT spectrum. You will gain a validation amongst your peers and your resume will stand out in the crowd.
  2. Achieving this certification presents the opportunity for you to explore the topics which are quite comprehensive and exposes you to all the core concepts.
  3. If you already have experience with Linux system administration, the certification will further impart knowledge on enterprise administration skills, shell scripting and troubleshooting large scale enterprise Linux deployments.

To conclude, the RHCSA certification offers you a career with the potential to grow and learn new things with a platform to earn a better salary than your current position. The certificate does not replace experience but it helps in accelerating the growth of your career by validating your skills and experience. Applying the knowledge and skills correctly will certainly give you an edge over other IT professionals in this competitive market.

Cognixia – world’s leading digital transformation company is an authorized training partner for Red Hat and offers the entire Red Hat library of trainings. We offer training courses for individuals as well as corporate workforce. Our instructors are highly experienced in their respective fields and meet all the necessary qualifications to deliver Red Hat trainings. We also provide full technical support and lifetime access to training materials via our Learning Management System. Visit here to know more about our Red Hat to prepare for the RHCSA.

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