UNIX certification programs are generally 1-2 semesters in length, and they may be offered on-campus or online. Completing a certificate program may help students prepare for voluntary UNIX certification exams. Depending on the school, credits earned in a certificate program may count towards a relevant associate's or bachelor's degree in related fields, like computer science or information technology.
A high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to apply for college level courses. While no prerequisite coursework is required, the curriculum usually assumes that students are familiar with computers, operating systems and common applications.
A variety of certifications are available depending on the version of UNIX an individual is using. Oracle (www.oracle.com) Solaris 11 (developed originally by Sun Microsystems) has two certifications - Oracle Certified Associate, Oracle Solaris 11 Systems Administrator and Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Solaris 11 System Administrator. Both certifications require that candidates pass one exam, among other requirements.
AIX is a UNIX operating system developed by IBM. IBM offers certification as systems experts, operators, and system administrators for the AIX operating system.
The HP-UX operating system is a UNIX operating system developed by Hewlett-Packard. Certifications are available for administrators at the expert and professional levels.
Students may be required to take core courses in programming with C, shell scripting, and UNIX/Linux operating system. Other topics covered include:
- UNIX fundamentals
- System administration
- UNIX internals
- Programming in Perl
- Linux intro
- Server configuration
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The employment of network and systems administrators is expected to increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS projected that the employment of computer programmers would see a decrease of 8%, as well, during the same decade. Median salaries for network and systems administrators were reported by the BLS as $77,810 annually, as of May 2015. Computer programmers earned median wages of $79,530 annually that same year.
Students can gain programming, system administration, and networking skills within Linux and UNIX platforms during these certificate programs. These credentials will improve their employability in a variety of fields that make use of these systems.