The 2012 RedHat Study Buddy Group Begins!

Earlier this week, I asked if anyone was interested in a loose-knit Red Hat study buddy group to finish 2012 with some Red Hat certifications. The response was positive and so far we’ve got five eight ten eleven twelve participants signed up to end the year with more letters after their name, and start 2013 with greater possibilities!

List of Participants:

Kenny: A man of many talents on ServerFault. Kenny is gunning for his RHCE. He already has his RHCSA.

Noe Gonzalez: SysAdmin with mostly Windows and Mac experience who is dabbling in the realm of Red Hat. He wants to get his RHCSA.

Simon: Attempting to slay the EX200 in his quest to attain the RHCSA honor.

Cole: Walking brain, currently working for NetApp. Has been working with Linux for many moons. Wants to do the EX200, but might also be able to hit up the EX300 for the RHCE just based on sheer experience.

Jeff C.: Already an RHCSA, Jeff has tried to complete the EX300 to earn his RHCE but been just shy of completing it. This attempt will be his triumph.

Shashi: An experienced Linux administrator who works on RedHat systems, this participant wants to get the RHCE by the year’s end.

Matthew: Already LPIC-1 certified, he’s going for the RHCSA/RHCE combo! No, wait — he’s going for the RHCSA. He’ll tackle the RHCE next year.

AdamD: Already been studying for the RHCSA but now wants to get in with a group of like minded penguins.

Ahmed Helmy: SysAdmin from Cairo Egypt going for the RHCSA.

Eddy Webster: Going for the RHCSA.

Leon Carter: And a late entrant emerges!

The Wesley: That would be me. I’ve been working with RPM based Linux distributions for a year and a half, so I’d like to have some official endorsements of my knowledge as well as have a structured means of exposing my deficiencies.

Study Buddy Hangouts

I made a thread over on the SysAdmin Network titled “Welcome to the 2012 RedHat study buddy group.” Go post a “hello!” message! I think the SysAdmin Network would be a good place to have direct discussions about specific topics as you slice through the Red Hat materials,

I was also considering the possibility of occasional Google Plus hangouts to have discussions and chats concerning anything that comes to mind. Perhaps we could have a bi-monthly schedule of every other Friday evening… or whatever time works best.

If anyone else has other and better suggestions for how to go about socializing and force multiplying our experiences so that we can all have better chances of passing our exams and, more importantly, learning useful information, let me know in the comments below or over on the SysAdmin Network.

Starting Lesson Plan

There’s really no official lesson plan for this little group, however it might be nice to have some kind of basic plan. I’m using the RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide (Exams EX200 & EX300), 6th Edition and find it to be pretty solid. The labs require some virtual machines, and I assume that everyone will have some spare equipment around to spin up some VMs, but if not, comment below and I’ll see what I can arrange.

If anyone has suggestions for other good training materials and sources, post about it on the SysAdmin Network. I’m not planning on taking any classroom courses, at least not for the EX200 material. I don’t know of any good RedHat focused video training courses. I’m just sticking to old fashioned books and breaking things on my own.

So for the first week  (Oct 8 through the 14th) I’m going to have a goal to do the following:

  • Scour the RedHat site for hints, tips, and the official synopsis for the EX200 test.
  • Set up some virtual machines with the latest CentOS (Sorry Scientific Linux)
  • Read one, maybe two chapters in the RHCSA/RHCE book including the labs.

Follow along if you’d like and share your experiences in the comments, but mostly over at the SysAdmin Network. I’ll post again on my blog in about a week concerning the topic of the study buddy group. I’ll include my commentary on my studying to date as well as with my plans for the next week of study. By the way, my goal is to be ready for the EX200 sometime in the first week of December to leave time for a retake if necessary.

Thoughts? Comments? Adulations? Detractions? lolcats?


  1. Kenny

    October 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

    I like the idea of using Google+ Hangouts, I just hope the time differences won’t be an obstacle. How would you feel about using an old school IRC channel?

    As to the first of your three bullet points, here are the official objectives for EX200:


    • Wesley David

      October 5, 2012 at 10:43 am

      I’m sure the time differences will be something to consider, but we can always adapt. I’d be cool with an old school IRC channel. Really, since there are no rules, you / we can do whatever we want. =)


  2. Mathew

    October 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I’m in. I’ve been reading the same book by Jang. Got through chapter 9 and got bored. :)

    My original goal was to get the RHCSA by June and then the RHCE by Dec. I think now I’m just looking to get the RHCE by December still.


    • Wesley David

      October 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Awesome, so have you taken the EX200 yet? Even if you pass the EX300, you won’t get RHCE until you also pass EX200. =/


  3. AdamD.

    October 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Is it too late to join in on this? I’m rather intrigued; I’ve been working independently on some material in preparation for the RHCSA exam. Would be nice to jump in a group.


    • Wesley David

      October 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

      No good sire, it is never too late. Consider yourself added to the posse.


  4. Mathew

    October 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    One thing to keep in mind about the Jang RHCSA/RHCE study guide is that the first couple chapters can be somewhat confusing when it comes to setting up your lab VMs. I even had to go directly to the author a couple times for clarification. Unfortunately, that confusion early on can affect labs later in the book. I don’t think I have it all sorted out even after the first half of the book.


    • Wesley David

      October 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Yes, I’ve definitely run into that. I think that if you take each chapter as a set of concepts and suggestions rather than trying to follow the labs verbatim, it gets better. So if you look at the objective and focus on getting the objective fulfilled regardless of any missing steps that the book may have left out, you’ll probably be fine and learn more than if everything harmonized well in the book.

      But yes, it’s still pretty frustrating at times.


  5. Mathew

    October 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I need to look into how the exams are set up. A friend of mine took the RHCE exam a few years back for RHEL 5. He didn’t pass the exam, but the structure was such that it was split into two sections. If you passed the first you got what was then the RHCT and you were allowed to continue to the next (RHCE) section. If you didn’t pass the first section you weren’t allowed to take the second.


    • Wesley David

      October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Nowadays you can take the EX300 (RHCE) exam and pass it but still not be an RHCE. You will need to pass the EX200 (RHCSA) exam to then “unlock” the RHCE. If you take and pass the EX300 first, and then a week later pass the EX200 you’re a RHCSA / RHCE on the same day.


  6. Mathew

    October 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I’m going to modify my goal. I don’t think I’ll be ready for the RHCE by the end of December. I’ll focus on the RHCSA and deal with the RHCE next year. Since I need the RHCSA before I can get the RHCE anyway, this should ease the task.


  7. Mathew

    October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Has anyone taken the skills assessment yet?


    • Wesley David

      October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Good question. I took one a long time ago – which means nothing now. Maybe we should do that. I’ll make a post for it next week, so if you take the skills assessment now, save the results. =)


  8. […] you’re not familiar with it, that you read up on it. Especially if you’re considering getting your RHCSA like some friends and I are. Oh, and make sure to check out the Stack Exchange thread of epic proportions titled “What is […]


  9. […] started out the 2012 RedHat Study Buddy Group with the best of intentions. I really did. And then, life happens. Or maybe that’s my excuse. […]


  10. Leon' Carter

    November 22, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I’d love to join. I’d like to get RHCSA by the end of the year if at all possible.


    • Wesley David

      November 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Awesome Leon! There’s only about five weeks left. Think you can do it? =)


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