Red Hat Certified System Administrator – RHCSA

by Mirek Burnejko

RHCSARed Hat Certified System Administrator RHCSA is the first certification in the Red Hat portfolio. We can’t name it an entry-level certification, but we can name it the first step to more advanced topics.

The RHCSA exam is different from other first steps from other vendors. This exam is a hands-on lab. No tests, only pure configuration and troubleshooting.

It is also a required exam for RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer) and RHCA (Red Hat Certified Architect).

RHCSA is an evolution of the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) certification and covers similar topics. The actual version is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.

What Exams You Must Pass to Become RHCSA

You must pass the RHCSA exam (EX200). You do not need any prerequisites for the exam (trainings, exams).

Format of the Exam

The RHCSA exam is practical. You have two hours to do all tasks from the exam guide. You can use an official Red Hat documentation, man pages and so on.

Where You Can Pass the RHCSA Exam

There are no central database for exam facilities. The best option is to use google: “EX200 + YourCity”. This is also a good move to find training companies for the EX200 exam.

How Much Does the RHCSA Exam Cost

The exam costs $400. You can also buy an official training with the RHCSA exam option.

How To Renew Your RHCSA Certification

The RHCSA certification is valid for three years. Before the date of expiration you must pass any higher exam like EX300 (RHCE) or an Expertise Exam (you must also have the RHCE certification to pass any of these exams). You can also pass an actual version of the EX200 exam.

Scope of the RHCSA exam

The exam covers basics of work with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

  • Understand and use essential tools
  • Operate running systems
  • Configure local storage
  • Create and configure file systems
  • Deploy, configure, and maintain systems and working with Red Hat Network
  • Manage users and groups (LDAP)
  • Manage security (firewall, SELinux)

The list of all topics on the exam you can find on the official Red Hat website.

How To Prepare to the Exam

  • Books
  • Lab
    • The exam is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. You should start your preparation on a server with RHEL6. The best and cheaper way is to install CentOS which is derived entirely from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. You should at least once train on a Red Hat distribution to test some aspects of working with Red Hat Network.
    • You can build a free lab on a workstation or a server with CentOS and VirtualBox. More in that great video. You can build more complex scenarios by manipulation of virtual switches and implementation more than one CentOS machine. You can also install a Red Hat distribution, which is “free”. You will not have an access to the Red Hat’s repositories, but you can use for that other (for example from CentOS)
    • One of the best document about commands and operations in Red Hat Enterprise Linux you can find on GitHub by mconigliaro.

Examples of Job Opportunities

Success Story

If you interested with sharing your success story with RHCSA please contact me.

Questions and Answers

Q: Can I test somewhere my skills? I want to know if I’m ready for the RHCSA exam.
A: Red Hat has on the official website a skills assessment. 58 questions that give you information about your knowledge and recommended trainings.

Q: Can I (or someone else) verify my RHCSA certification?
A: Red Hat allows you and others to test it through their official verification tool.