Passing The CompTIA Linux+ Beta Exam (XK0-005)

After six weeks of studying, I took the $50 US CompTIA Linux+ beta exam in mid-February. The new exam was to go live this week but got postponed until Tuesday, July 12, 2022. I did find out that I passed the beta exam by ten points to earn my first new certification in 17 years.

Lifetime Certifications (17 Years Ago)

I got my first set of certifications over 17 years ago. I took the CompTIA A+ certification in 2003. The CompTIA Network+ and Microsoft Windows 2000 certifications in 2005. These were lifetime certifications that never expired.

I got my first help desk job in 2005, loved it, and done IT Support ever since then. None of those support jobs over the years ever required higher certifications than what I had. Windows XP through 10 remained the same on the system administrator side.

I coasted on my lifetime certifications.

That changed a couple of years ago when IT infrastructure moved towards THE CLOUD. Never mind that THE CLOUD meant new servers installed in a different part of the same datacenter.

My lifetime certifications were becoming less relevant.

A co-worker pointed out the $50 US beta exam for the CompTIA PenTest+ certification last year. I spent six weeks studying, took the beta exam in July, and found out in October that I failed by 50 points. That was pretty good considering that I knew nothing about this certification.

Memorizing a large set of facts when you’re in your 50s is a lot harder than your 20s.

CompTIA Linux+ Beta Exam

When I found out about the $50 US beta exam for the CompTIA Linux+ certification for the new year, I jumped on it. I’ve used Linux for 25 years, but I don’t use it daily.

I had three problems with Linux+ beta exam that I took in mid-February.

  • I found it annoying that 90% of the exam questions I would have looked up the answer. Most Linux programs have man pages, so you don’t have to memorize every little option. Looking up man pages or any other reference material wasn’t allowed during the exam.
  • The exam had an interactive command line segment that I couldn’t finish. The first four items I was able to complete. The last item I couldn’t complete because I couldn’t remember the correct order. I couldn’t look up the man pages to refresh my memory because no man pages were available.
  • I had over a half-dozen SSH questions during the exam. That took me by surprise. Since THE CLOUD was the focus of the new exam, I expected more questions about containers than SSH. I only got one or two container-related questions.

If CompTIA divided beta testers between the old and new exams, I got the old exam.

CompTIA Linux+ Certification

Unlike my older lifetime certifications, the Linux+ certification will expire in February 2025. I can renew that certification in over a dozen ways. The most likely renewal option will be a higher-level certification. That could be Cloud+, CySA+, or PenTest+.

I informed the HR person at the three-letter agency I worked for and the manager at my government I.T. job. The HR person was happy to check off the checkbox for a newer DoD-approved certification.

The manager told me that I was now on the fast track for a fulltime employee position. A fulltime employee positions requires a current DoD-approved certification. After eight years on the contract, I could be getting a new job thanks to my new certification.

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