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The Linux Professional Institute has announced that a handful of individuals have received its LPIC-3 Core certification, the highest level of certification the organization currently offers.

And it’s a certification that IT organizations are demanding, according to LPI President and CEO Jim Lacey, as work force development continues to rise on the list of concerns among hiring managers.

The LPI certification program also reflects an ongoing shift in the industry for certifications to be offered by organizations other than individual software vendors, according to Lacey.

“The industry is starting to take charge of what is important,” Lacey said.

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LPI is offering a Core certification of the skills needed for open source in an enterprise. The organization is also offering an elective or an extension certification of those core skills. The first offered by the organization covers a “mixed environment.”

The initial Core certification was earned by Kazufumi Ichikawa, of Japan. Tzu-Wei Hsu, of Taiwan, was the first to earn the mixed environment specialty certification. And Michael Gisbers, of Germany, was the first recipient of both the Core and mixed environment certifications.

“We have a larger installed base of our Level 2 folks in Japan and Germany,” said Lacey, “so there is more opportunity there for our Level 3 certification.”

Certifications in those countries are higher because the value of certifications did not erode there like they have in other geographies, Lacey said.

“The value of certification did not hold in the mid-’90s,” he said. “But the value of certification is starting to rise again. I’ve been asked to participate in conferences in many different regions to discuss the value proposition around certification and how it ties to work force development.”

With so many VARs and others lamenting the work force talent problem, a rise in value of such certifications should come as a welcome change.

“Everyone understands that there was a problem and everyone is trying to address that problem right now,” Lacey added.

LPI said its new certification, launched in February, represents the highest level of distribution-neutral Linux certification within the IT industry and is targeted at Linux professionals providing technology services at the enterprise level.

The LPIC-3 Core certification (LPI 301) focuses on skills in authentication, troubleshooting, network integration and capacity planning.

In addition to the mixed environment specialty, LPI is looking to offer specialties in areas such as security, high availability and virtualization, Web and Intranet, and mail and messaging.

The LPIC-3 exam (301) is priced at $250 in most locations and at 30,000 yen in Japan. The LPI-302 exam is $150 in most locations and 20,000 yen in Japan.

The LPIC-3 certification program was developed through the volunteer efforts of more than 300 volunteer IT professionals from around the world.