Someone was asking me today where they might take a fundamentals of LinuxUnix class that isn't going to break the bank. Anyone have any suggestions?? Thanks, Michael.

--- paulc wrote: So, you attended the Networking course from Red Hat (???)

Yes, RedHat Networking and Security.

Were the Instructor(s) that conducted the coure from a Boston Office, or Releigh N. Carolina or where ...

The instructor was from North Carolina, and the class was taught in Burlington, MA. There is also Westford campus.

you sounded impressed with that course ... I want to take a R H course, can you tell me how it was conducted? With transparencies and overhead projector or with LCD or video projector an Power Point from a Lap Top or what???

There was a room set up with about 20 desktop computers in a typical IT classroom environment, and one for the instructor up front. Before the first class the instructor fired off kickstart installs on all the student machines so that we all had clean, identical configs to begin. There were about 6 people in my class, so there was plenty of discussion and time for questions.

There was a thick lecture/lab manual handed out, which contained in-depth detail to support the lecture material. The lecture was presented in slides and blackboard.

The labs required us to set up NFS shares off the instructors machine in order install the rpms locally according to each lab's requirements. We also used the instructor's machine for the IP Masquerading section to allow us to get out to the internet from our private network. Other labs that required both client and server components were able to benefit from the extra desktops so that we could set up both sides.

See the RH website for details of the curriculum. The manual itself is a great resource that I use regularly at work and home.

what were some of the positives of this course, as you saw it (???)

Other than comfortable rooms with good hardware, the most outstanding aspect of the course was simply that we had a GREAT instructor. The instructor was clearly very fluent in the details of the lecture material. Other colleagues of mine have taken this and other RH courses and they agree.

I've had other vendor training from IBM for WebSphere and Sun for Java/Servlets. Sun and RedHat are neck and neck. IBM fell short of my expectations twice as those instructors were more of the sales engineer type and it was clear that their product knowledge was superficial and glib at best.

I've also had IT training in various adult education programs in Cambridge and metro west, and generally speaking they just don't measure up to the vendor training. University classrooms ranged from extremely cramped (knee to back, knee to back) and without any live hands-on (no computers) to great facilities with state of the art training rooms (such as Bentley College).

The range of instruction at Universities varies widely, too. I've had instructors that were not the least bit motivated and really couldn't speak English clearly (learning technical topics is tough enough without the added obstacle of not being able to understand the instructor) to other instructors that were equally as knowledgeable in their field as the RedHat/Sun trainers, or more so.

I've been slowly shopping around for an adult education program that offers some type of certificate in IT. I've found the Harvard Extension School instruction to be superior to Bentley and Brandeis, although the quality of facilities at Harvard is somewhat less than Bentley, but still impressive. Most of the Brandeis IT classes are held in one building, Shiffman. All I have to say is that the building should be torn down its so bad.

Most adult eduction courses run at about 1500 for a 10-12 week class, although Northeastern is about 1000-1200, and Bentley used to offer 6 or 7 week classes for about half that.

I've attended the WPI information sessions, and they do appear to have a curriculum up to date with the technology and nice facilities, although I never enrolled in anything there. They have a campus in Waltham near the Costco. WPI has a combined Linux/Unix track certificate.

I've never had a class at Northeastern, although I often peruse their course list wishfully. Northeastern advertises Linux on the Desktop, Linux Sys Admin, and Linux Networking, and some kind of a Unix/Linux certificate. In two semesters recently I called to enroll for the Linux Sys Admin only to find out that it was cancelled due to lack of enrollment.

As far as other schools, Brandeis doesn't appear to have any Unix/Linux track, and not much at all for those type of courses. Neither does Harvard have any solid Linux courses. I can't find any Linux courses on the Bentley website, although Irv from this list reported that he will teach one there in the spring. One other interesting short course is an 8 week session on RedHat Linux at Middlesex Community College in Bedford for just a few hundred.

In sum, I'd say that with a University course its a crapshoot. You could get a Jerry Feldmen on the upside, or some IT professional that is trying his luck at teaching for the first time. You just don't know. Quality of instruction is of course the most important, but you don't want to spend 3 hours each week in crappy facilities either. With vendor training I'd say you're more likely to get the best of both, although the price is slightly higher than an adult ed courses.

Something else to keep in mind, the RH133 SysAdmin course includes a performance based test to get a steppingstone certification, the RHCT. You'll find many interesting reviews on the web about what an RCHT or RHCE can do for your career.

One final note, keep in mind that most companies will only offer tuition reimbursement for university courses that offer a letter grade, and will not reimburse you for a vendor course.

  • RH133 Red Hat Linux System Administration and RHCT
  • RH253 Red Hat Linux Networking and Security Administration
  • RH202 RHCT Exam
  • RH300 RHCE Rapid Track Course
  • RH302 RHCE Certification Lab Exam