Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month.   

Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.


Tetevi Ekon

Tetevi Placide Ekon, LiFT scholarship recipient Can you tell me more about yourself and where you are from?

Tetevi Ekon: I am 24 years old, and am studying civil engineering in Burkina-Faso (West Africa) but I am from a neighbouring country to Burkina-Faso: Togo. Both of those countries are French-speaking countries but because my father lives and works in Ghana (English-speaking country), I can speak both English and French. Why do you love IT?

Tetevi: I think from as long as I can remember I’ve always loved computers and everything that is related to them in any way. Computer science would have been my major at school but since my father is a civil engineer, that career path seemed like a better choice. How did you develop that interest/passion?

Tetevi: Although I chose civil engineering over computer science, my love for computers didn’t vanish and in December 2014, I discovered the existence of MOOCs through platforms like Coursera, Edx, Udacity …  I would have loved to do a double major in CS and Civil engineering but that option wasn’t available at my college so MOOCs seemed to be a good way to learn all the CS skills I wanted.

In addition those MOOCs were free and taught by professors from top institutions like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. All I had to do was a bit of time management and I could actually acquire solid skills in CS while still completing my major in civil engineering. That’s how I really got into programming and all the CS stuff. How do you plan to use your LiFT scholarship?

Tetevi: I will be taking the “Developing Linux Device Drivers” course. I really am thankful for this scholarship for allowing me to take a course on such an interesting topic as device drivers; a course I never would have been able to take any other way. I have even already received the manual for the course. How will the scholarship help you achieve your dream of becoming an IT professional?

Tetevi: I am planning on completing this course and then taking the LFCE exam. I’ve taken an operating systems course from Udacity and I really enjoyed that very much. I love the idea of low-level programming and am planning on taking additional low-level programming courses after “Developing Linux Drivers.” As for jobs, I really don’t know what opportunities will come out of a Linux Certified Engineer Certification but I do hope it helps me land a very fulfilling job in the IT world. What is your experience with Linux?

Tetevi: I have Linux installed on a virtual machine on my Mac, and I use it most of the time for my online courses. I can program in all the C family programming languages and I do it through an editor, which means I use the Linux terminal to run and debug the programs I write: kind of forces you to learn the “Linux Programming Language” … plus my favorite editor is vim.

Doing my online course assignments on Linux, has made me realise the OS wasn’t that hard to use and, since some of those courses can be really intense (HW/SF Interface from Coursera, Algorithm Toolbox from Coursera, Big Data with Apache from Edx …), it really forces you to learn how the whole Linux system is organised, which is why I have done the LFS101x course through EdX; a course that greatly helped. Why did you learn Linux?

Tetevi: Linux is present almost anywhere and computer science is present in every discipline; so I think learning more about the Linux system is important for anybody’s future and I certainly am not an exception. I like programming and I am graduate student in Engineering; I think mastering the Linux system is just a must-do for me. What is your dream job?

Tetevi: I have recently discovered that one of my best qualities is my ability to learn new things very fast. For a long time, I have tried to figure out what was that one thing I can be the very best at in the world, and I really think now that if such a thing exists it must be my ability to learn at a very fast pace.  At first, that sounded a little small of a quality to me but then I realised that in the IT and software world, that was far from being a small quality. I also realised my ability to master a subject is also greatly impacted by my level of interest in the specific subject. I just love IT and anything related to it. I think what IT people are able to do is just amazing, and I am determined to become one of them and a very sharp one.


Whether you’re looking to prep for the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam or just looking for some bite-sized ebook tutorials to help you get more familiar with Linux, our free Linux sysadmin tutorial series is for you. Sign up now!


Open source is the new normal for startups and large enterprises looking to stay competitive in the digital economy. That means that open source is now also a viable long-term career path.

“It is important to start thinking about the career road map, and the pathway that you can take and how Linux and open source in general can help you meet your career goals,” said Clyde Seepersad, general manager of training at The Linux Foundation, in a recent webinar.

Certification is one clear path with real career benefits. Forty-four percent of hiring managers in our recent 2016 Open Source Jobs Report said they’re more likely to hire certified candidates. And 76 percent of open source pros surveyed believe certifications lead to a career boost.

The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Certified Engineer (LFCE) exams are great opportunities for sysadmins to polish and prove their skills. The exams are available online to anyone in the world at any time. They’re also performance based, working within a Linux server terminal and overseen by a proctor. Because the format is not multiple choice, even seasoned pros will need some preparation in order to avoid common mistakes and complete the exam within the time limit.

To help you prepare for the certification exam, and a long and successful sysadmin career, we’ve gathered some tips, below, from Linux Foundation certified sysadmins who have completed the LFCS or LFCE exams.


Chris van Horn

Chris van Horn, LFCS

1. Practice

“Experience is key. Spin up a VM, take a fresh snapshot of it and go to work applying all the requirements of the exam in practice. When you feel you have satisfied all the exam topics thoroughly, apply that fresh snapshot to revert changes and begin again until it is second nature. Also, feel comfortable with man pages; they are your best friend when Google is not an option.”

Chris Van Horn, Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and a “Debian guy.”


Dashamir Hoxha

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS

2. Give it time

“The best preparation is your experience. If you feel that you have enough experience with the topics required by the exam, you can give it a try. Otherwise, you have to work hard to get those skills.

Don’t think that in a short time you can learn everything.”

Dashamir Hoxha, LFCS, an Ubuntu user and open source contributor.


William Brawner

William Brawner, LFCS

3. Learn how to use man pages

“If you haven’t already, get familiar with the man pages. Know what they are and how to use them efficiently.

No matter how much you study, you can’t learn everything, and if you could, you wouldn’t retain it all anyway. The man pages will fill in the gaps.”

William Brawner, LFCS, and Arch Linux user who plans to take the LFCE exam next.


Francisco Tsao

Francisco Tsao, LFCE

4. Understand the material, don’t just memorize it

“Forget recipes, it’s not about memorization. Understand what are you doing by reading some books and documentation that give you a deep background of the tasks you’ll perform at the exam and in real life.

Imagine real problems and try to solve them.”

Francisco Tsao, LFCE, self-professed Debian fanboy and Fedora contributor.


George Doumas

George Doumas, LFCS

5. The boring stuff is still important

“Do not rely on one book only! Study and practice…even the stuff that you find mundane.

A portion of the tasks are boring, but you cannot avoid them.”

George Doumas, LFCS, and a fan of Scientific Linux, openSUSE, and Linux Mint.

6. Follow the instructions


Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS

“For experienced professionals, I recommend that they prepare the environment for the exam, and follow the instructions. It’s not a difficult exam if you work daily with Linux.

On the other hand, for newcomers, apart from having a look to open/free resources, I just encourage them to set up a Linux environment at home and get their hands dirty!!”

Jorge Tudela Gonzalez de Riancho, LFCS, Debian user and Raspberry Pi enthusiast.

7. Have fun!


Gabriel Canepa

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS

“Make sure you love what you are doing, and do not forget to have fun, to experiment, and then to do it all over again and again, and make sure you learn something new each time.”

Gabriel Canepa, LFCS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux admin and technical writer.

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More and more professionals are preparing for certification to fill in gaps in their Linux knowledge, build confidence, and prove to to their management team or hiring managers that their skills are sharp. According to the latest 2016 Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and Dice, 76% of open source professionals believe that certifications are useful for their careers, while 44% percent of hiring managers report that candidates holding certifications were more likely to be hired.

But despite all the compelling evidence that certifications are valuable for career advancement or making it past the “HR Firewall” some professionals are still reluctant to attempt to pass their certification exam. Whether the roadblock is fear of failure or uncertainty about how to properly prepare, The Linux Foundation is committed to addressing those challenges and helping you succeed.

Join us for a webinar session on Thursday, June 9, 2016, at 10 a.m. Pacific, focused on tips, tactics, and practical advice that will give you the confidence to take the leap to commit to, schedule, and pass your next certification exam.

By attending this session, you will learn:

  • how certifications can help you reach your career goals

  • which certification is right for you: Linux Foundation Certified SysAdmin or Engineer?

  • strategies to thoroughly prepare for the exam

  • how to avoid common exam mistakes

  • the ins and outs of the performance certification process to boost your exam confidence

  • and more…

Save your seat >>

Once you register, you’ll receive an email with important information about the webinar, in this email you’ll also find a link to submit your certification questions early, for a better chance of having the topic addressed on-air.

Ready to get started with certification now? Linux Foundation Training is offering a new course, LFS211 Linux Networking and Administration to help prepare senior Linux sysadmins to pass the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer (LFCE) exam, which comes bundled with the new course.