Questions and Answer
Session of the BSD
Certification Group Community
Dru Lavigne and Mikel King
Recently, the BSD Certification Group (BSDCG) asked via their mailing lists
for questions regarding the BSDCG or the BSDA exam, offering to answer them
in this issue of BSD Mag.
Are there still two competing BSD certification groups? If so, what's the difference?
Around the same time the BSDCG exams, the two organizations wished BSDCG. The BSDCG accepted the offer
formed in January, 2005, a separate each other well and continued to pursue and now controls both the .org and the .com
commercial company started with a their goals separately. As a registered domains. Since its founding, the BSDCG
similar goal of assessing BSD system non-profit, the BSDCG established has published the standard for assessing
administration skills. The BSDCG bsdcertification.org and the company junior BSD system administration skills
approached the company to see if the continued to use bsdcertification.com. and launched the associated BSDA exam
two organizations should align. Since the In late July, 2008, the company re- in February, 2008. The BSDCG is now
company had already launched an exam contacted the BSDCG indicating that they creating the standard for advanced BSD
and the BSDCG wanted to concentrate were no longer providing an exam and system administration skills which will be
on creating a standard on which to base offered to transfer the .com domain to the used to create the upcoming BSDP exam.
Has anyone done a comparison of the BSDA and LPIC Certifications? I think that would be helpful
for managers who are not familiar with the BSDA and what it covers.
The BSDA exam is scored for 100 • Linux Installation and Package in the exam cost and delivery method. The
questions covering the following 7 Management (1 1%) BSDA costs $75 USD and is available
knowledge domains: • GNU and Unix Commands (26%) in a paper-based format. The LPIC -1
• Devices, Linux Filesystems, Filesystem costs $320 USD (as you have to take 2
• Installing & Upgrading the OS and Hierarchy Standard (15%) exams) and is available through VUE and
Software (13%) • Shells, Scripting, and Data Mana- Prometric. The cost of the LPIC-1 is due
• Securing the Operating System (1 1%) gement (10%) to the high cost of using the proprietary
• Files, Filesystems, and Disks (15%) • User Interfaces and Desktops (5%) services of VUE and Prometric. Three
• Users and Accounts Management (1 6%) • Administrative Tasks (12%) primary goals of the BSDCG are:
• Basic System Administration (12%) • Essential System Services (10%)
• Network Administration (15%) • Networking Fundamentals (14%) • to provide exams at a globally
• Basic Unix Skills (17%) • Security (9%) affordable price
• where possible, to use open source
The LPI equivalent is the LPIC-1. Its Both exams cover similar skills, target delivery solutions
knowledge domains cover: the same audience of junior system • to work closely with the BSD community
administrator, and provide detailed exam and employers who use BSD to offer and
• System Architecture (8%) objectives. A major difference can be seen promote exams that assess BSD skills
58 BSD 4/2009
Questions and Answer Session of the BSD Certification Group Community
How many people have taken the BSDA exam? Where has the exam been offered?
As of this writing: • Flourish: Chicago, Illinois • DCBSDCon: Washington, DC
• IT360: Toronto, Ontario • AsiaBSDCon: Tokyo, Japan
• 1,1 have registered for a BSDCG ID
14 • NLUUG: Ede, The Netherlands • Atualtec: Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil
(needed to take the exam) • BSDCan: Ottawa, Canada • LinuxFest Northwest: Bellingham, WA
• 102 have taken the exam • CONFidence: Krakow, Poland • devGuide: Hamburg, London, and
• 70 have passed the exam and hold • LinuxTag: Berlin, Germany Amsterdam
a valid BSDA • RMLL: Mont-de-Marsan, France • Certified Secure: The Hague,
• 9 exams are yet to be scored • OpenKyiv: Kiev, Ukraine Netherlands
• LinuxWorld: San Francisco, CA
Since its launch in February 2008, the • FrOSCon: Sankt Augustin, Germany We have had requests for exams in other
BSDA exam has been hosted at various • Augsburger Computer Forum: cities and currently have an outstanding
conferences around the world. Several Augsburg, Germany request for an exam event near Morocco.
user groups and employers have also • Open Source Days: Copenhagen, Hosting an exam event is an excellent
hosted the exam. Past events and their Denmark way to show your support for BSD and to
locations include: • NYCBSDCon: NYC, NY connect with other BSD users.
• EuroBSDcon: Strasbourg, France
• SCALE: Los Angeles, California • CONISLI: Sao Paulo, Brazil
• FOSDEM: Brussels, Belgium • Brandenburger Linux-Infotag:
• Linux-Tage Chemnitzer: Chemnitz, Potsdam, Germany
Germany • MeetBSD: Mountain View, CA
My company or user group is interested in hosting an exam event. How do we do this?
Excellent! In order to host the exam, you • give at least 6 weeks notice to necessary arrangements. It should be
need to: provide ample time to promote the noted that exam proctors are volunteers
event, find a proctor, and ship the who donate their time and travel. Many
• provide a quiet room with sufficient exams take time off from work and pay travel
desks/tables and chairs for up to 10 and accomodation costs to another
people to sit comfortably and not too The BSDCG will: city or even another country in order to
close to each other promote the BSDA. When sponsoring an
• provide a contact for the proctor • handle registration and payment for event, let us know if you are able to pass
and for exam takers (e.g. to provide the exam the hat or wish to sponsor some or all of
directions to the venue, provide • find the proctor nearest to the event the proctor's travel costs. We'll put you in
access to washrooms, etc.) location touch directly with the proctor to make
• demonstrate that at least 4 people • provide the exams and pencils the necessary arrangements.
are willing to attend the event (we • contact those who take the exam
will help you find more) regarding their results within 3-5 weeks
• assist the BSDCG in promoting the
event (e.g. on your website, mailing If you're interested, send an email to
lists, etc.) firstname.lastname@example.org to make the
Are there any success stories or any sightings of job listings "in the wild" that specifically call for
any BSD certs?
We know of one job candidate who the BSDA and have noticed that more of with other BSD system administrators.
received a job interview because BSDA those looking for work are mentioning The BSDA Certified group (http://
was on his resume. He was subsequently their BSDA. We encourage those holding www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1600807) is
hired and the same company has paid a BSDA to mention it on their resume and limited to those holding a valid BSDA and is
for several of their existing employees to social networking sites. This helps start the an excellent resource for employers looking
take the exam. We've also had several snowball effect, increases exposure to the to hire someone with a BSDA. If you're a
large companies express interest BSDA, and adds value to the certification. BSD sysadmin, we encourage you to join
in hosting an exam session for their Earlier this year we started two LinkedIn the group(s).
employees, for both the BSDA and the groups. The BSD Certification group (http://
upcoming BSDP. www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=160
On the various BSD jobs mailing lists 0767) is for anyone interested in BSD system
we have seen a few job postings mention administration and is a great way to network