Why Red Hat Certified Architect Is The Best Investment – with Elia Pinto

by Mirek Burnejko

Elia PintoThis is an interview with Elia Pinto. Elia is an IT System Architect working in Banca d’Italia. He has several IT certifications: RHCE, RHCDS, RHCSS, CEH, GIAC GPEN. Additionally he has on of the hardest certifications to get: Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA).

In this interview you will find:

  • Why Elia decided to achieve the RHCA certification?
  • Why skills + certifications are better than only skills?
  • Should you diversify your certification portfolio?

Mirek Burnejko: Hello Elia. It’s a big pleasure to have you here. Can you describe your beginnings in the IT industry?

Elia Pinto: I started my career in 1990 as Data Analyst. At that time I was DBA for Oracle DBMS and RDB and DBMS (A Reticular Dbms from Digital). I also worked as a Unix e VAX/VMS System Administrator.

MB: What was your first certification?

EP: My first certification was the RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer). I took it in 2002.

MB: Why you decided to achieve the RHCA certification? It’s still one of the hardest certifications to get.

EP: Indeed you’re right, it’s not a simple certification. Get certified took me a lot of time, effort and study. But these are the main reasons at the same time. I think that most IT professionals are “knowledge workers”. The knowledge is a life plan. This is why I believe in the continuous training and improvement is important in my profession. The certification is a means that allow me to check and measure my level of knowledge and let the industry to access me. Certainly acquiring an important certification as the RHCA goes in this direction.

MB: Can you describe your life after RHCA?

EP: Getting a certification as the RHCA has been a great stimulus for me, sure. In the same period I have also taken the Red Hat RHCSS and RHCDS Certification. The reason is simple. My professional interests are diverse: security, operating systems, LDAP, Kerberos, just to say a few, in the Linux and Open Source environment. Getting the RHCA gave me the right strength and the conviction to tackle the other certifications, no doubt.

MB: Why certifications? Aren’t skills enough?

EP: Sure, the daily work and practical experience are certainly important. But taking a certification, I mean a “good” certification, allows me to expand my knowledge, even on fields on which I do not work every day. In addition, the certification let other people to assess my skills and evaluate them. In my opinion this is very important for the industry, since a resume may not be enough.

MB: Do you recommend to achieve RHCE for a young Linux administrator as soon as possible?

EP: Yes, indeed. The RHCE is one of the first certifications that a young IT professional should get. It is a very valuable certification. It is a “must to have”. The RHCE certification is the basis with which the IT professionals should begin to build their training on Linux and on Red Hat Linux in particular.

MB: What is your opinion about trainings for the Red Hat certifications? Are they necessary?

EP: In my opinion, they are necessary. The Red Hat courses not only are useful, but also pleasant in my experience. Furthermore for some exams, they are critical in order to pass the certification exam. Red Hat, as an Open Source Company, put much emphasis on the value of education, and the quality of the courses it provides.

MB: Do you recommend trying to achieve the highest certifications from one vendor (Red Hat) or maybe try to diversify portfolio (Oracle, Novel, BSD, Windows)?

EP: For an IT professional it is absolutely essential having a multidisciplinary approach. This could increase your market value. It could expand your business and cultural horizons. So my answer is: Yes, becomes the master with a vendor if possible but tries to be “over the top” with multiple technologies in various fields, with most vendors. Personally I also follow some free university online courses (e.g. Stanford), and their exams. It is an effort, for sure, but also a pleasure.

MB: What are your plans for the future? Do you think about other certifications?

EP: My plans are simple. Keep on the continuing training and take certifications. I have been very interested in security since many years now. I found great the SANS courses and GIAC Institute certifications. Two years ago I followed the SAN 560 course and I got the GIAC GPEN certification. This year I will follow the advanced SANS 660 course and I will try to pass the exam GIAC Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester (GXPN). So, I do not ever stop but always stretch at best.

[This is part of the Interviews with IT Pros Series]