RHEL 7 RedHat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA 7)

Published: 22 May 2017
Modified: 22 May 2017

RedHat Certified System Administrator 7 (RHCSA 7)

This is the entry-level certification offered by RedHat Linux. Successful candidates are certified to have demonstrated the fundamental skills to navigate and administer RedHat Linux 7 and essential applications that complement a basic installation of RedHat Linux 7. Mastery of these certification objectives represents a firm footing on the first rung of the ladder that leads to Linux administration expertise.

Following are the primary skillsets over which you will be tested, according to RedHat:

2. Operate Running Systems.
3. Configure Local Storage.
4. Create and Configure File Systems.
5. Deploy, Configure, and Maintain Systems.
6. Manage Users and Groups.
7. Manage Basic Security Settings.

About the Exam:

Passing Score: 210/300

This exam will test the candidate’s practical skill at implementing fundamental knowledge of system utilities and configurations to satisfy test objectives. This means that while some certifications rely on multiple choice questions to assess candidate skills and knowledge, every “question” on this test will require the candidate to actually use practical knowledge to make something happen on one of the test systems. If you do not know how to accomplish a task or find the answer (quickly) in whatever clues are available on the system, it is highly unlikely that you will score any points for that particular task or task group. For this reason, it is vital that you not only read to understand every step in these tutorials, but that you make a point of actually doing the exercises yourself.

It is also strongly suggested that you consider purchasing the supplemental materials referenced in the tutorials and in the advertised links. Having more than one well-written source of documentation available–not just google or stackexchange–will be very helpful indeed when it comes to finding the right answers in the right context at the right doses for test preparation.

Scheduling the Exam:

You can start the process of register for a RedHat exam here.

There are two primary formats for the exam: One is a classroom format that typically comes at the end of a weeklong training seminar. The test is taken along with other students in a classroom setting with a proctor present to assist and advise where appropriate. Dates for classroom exams are typically made available in tandem with scheduled classroom training courses, so dates for these exams are not always flexible.

The second option for taking the exam is a “kiosk-based” testing setup. The kiosk-based exams are scheduled through third-party education centers that generally specialize in RedHat and other types of training. These are typically much more flexible in terms of scheduling, though scheduling can be tricky. You can start the registration process for the RHCSA by visiting (RedHat’s Certification Portal) and searching for testing centers nearby. Once you find a location and time you would like to book, you can purchase an educational voucher from RedHat, which can then be applied toward the reservation at the testing center. Once your voucher has been processed and is visible to the testing centers’ reservation site (<=48hrs), you will then be able to use the (examslocal.com site) to book your exam. Due to a general lack of comprehensive guidance, it can be a confusing and frustrating process for first-timers. However, once your reservation is made, things should proceed relatively smoothly.

Sitting for the Kiosk Exam:

The kiosk-based exam stations are a bit interesting. They come with a document scanner for IDs, as well as a large camera-studded armature that extends up and over the testing candidate. This allows a remote proctor to see everything you do while you work through the exam. It may also feature voice recording, but I am not sure on that particular detail. If so, I can only imagine that those recordings consist primarily of a variety of swear words and potentially creative swear phrases. After you’ve strapped yourself into the panopticon and begun the test, you will work through the problems presented on one or more virtual systems hosted through the kiosk.

The key to succeeding with RedHat exams is effective time management. Do only the tasks that are required by the stated objectives, and NOTHING more, despite your natural inner yearning for procedural consistency and system hygeine. If you get stuck, do not linger too long. If you cannot find the answer within, say, a maximum of five minutes without progress, succinctly annotate your situation if you’re keeping tabs in a file and MOVE ON to the next most attainable objective. I found it effective to grab all the low hanging fruit I could as quickly as possible before moving on to the tasks I expected to present more of a challenge or time commitment. Additionally, something attempted will always be better than nothing tried for a task or group of tasks that you may not be 100% prepared to complete. You can earn partial credit for partially completed objectives, so don’t leave any points on the table by not trying a task just because you don’t know the last steps required to finish it.

Pace yourself. Some of the tasks will take a lot more time than others, not counting any unexpected problems you run into along the way.
REBOOT at regular intervals (if you have more than a handful of minutes left on the clock). Few things could be worse than having checked off a bunch of tasks, only to find that nothing functions as intended on reboot. And if you do experience a dreaded no-boot reboot like I did, try one more time before taking any drastic measures, such as rebuilding or going to a grub prompt. In fact, as you learn the skills I am going to teach you, make it part of your process that you utilize the proper commands to ensure persistence of configuration all the time, every time. This tactic will provide some level of insurance against post-reboot issues.

(The above requirements are current as of above date of publication, subject to update without notice. The official listing of requirements for the RHCSA 7 exam can be found on RedHat’s Site. Though we will do our best to stay on top of changes in the core skillsidentified by RedHat, please Contact Us if you become aware of any changes not reflected above.)

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