November, 2017

I managed to successfully complete the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exam on a Debian based system.

Note that due to Linux Foundation rules, to which I agreed, I cannot disclose the exam contents.

The exam is performed online, using a web browser. There is a dedicated person, attending you for the entire exam, watching you over a webcam and inspecting your computer over their app (you share your entire screen).

Prior to exam start you have to show an ID, your desk and the near surroundings (under the desk included). The desk must be empty, and they are pretty rigorous about this. I suggest using a standalone web-cam, for it will be easier to show all of the previously mentioned.

While not allowed to browse the internet (eg.: search online for help), you are free to install any package through the package manager, including the documentation ones.
Also, do not be cheesy and use some kind of CLI browser to search online - they will fail you.

I would not say the exam is hard, but someone with zero experience would definitely have trouble passing. Still, going through all of the learning modules is more than enough, as the questions are not tricky in nature, just a lot of different topics are tested through practical assignments.
Some prior Linux knowledge is expected though.

The exam is timed, so the best advice I can give is to be disciplined, and not spend too much time on one assignment. I managed to complete all of the assignments about 20 minutes earlier, and used the extra time to double check everything.

Here are a few more tips that might come handy, especially if you used these tools before:

  • Learn the documentation package names (depends on your Linux distro choice, but usually they are suffixed with "-doc") and remember their location. It will save you time and nerves when you forget that basic command.
  • Use "screen". Having documentation open in one shell tab, while editing configuration in another just saves crazy amount of time.
  • Use "w3m" to read html based documentation. Opening a HTML document in Vim, or grepping it is just not going to help much.

I would definitely suggest this exam to any aspiring Linux SysOps. There is also the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS), perhaps more suitable for someone just starting to dive into the Linux world.