I have my
RHCE certification. I took the exam as an exam only candidate because I couldn't afford the course. At the time I had to pay for the exam as well, but thanks to a lucky accident with someone else's planning, the company refunded my exam fee.
Since getting the certification I've had several e-mails from RedHat trying to sell me other courses. Security has featured quite often. But what I've not seen is a single reason to take these courses.
My current company had been using GNU/Linux for three years before I joined them. Many of their servers were running RedHat. Even though we are not a small company, or a small installation, no-one in management had heard of the RHCE. This seems to be the case at quite a few companies that I've spoken to. Every one of the people that I've spoken to (normally director level) are in some part responsible for the decision to run Linux in their company. And almost all of them who had not heard of the RHCE knew exactly what an MCSE is and respected its value.
About 4 months ago I was promoted to department manager for our technology department. My RHCE has nothing to do with this. Mostly it was the fact that I am a sysadmin / developer with the ability to present projects and cases to the board. Since taking this position we have purchased RedHat software and registered it, and I have not received a single e-mail telling me why I should hire RHCE's. Yet in the same space of time I have received 2 e-mails from RedHat trying to get me to buy more training.
From a non-corporate perspective, one of my goals (since I was about 8) is to move to the USA. To get into the USA on the H1-B program, I need either 12 years experience or a degree relevant to my career. I could not afford tertiary education when I left school, so I started getting the required experience 2 days after graduating high-school. I now have 7 years of experience (5 short of the 12 I need to be granted an H1-B visa). The RHCE certification does not count in my favour in this instance either.
I discovered the same thing applies in moving to the United Kingdom. I was processing the work visa application for someone coming to the UK to work for my company. The home office did not recognise or care about the RHCE certification. The representative at the home office that I spoke to did recognise the MCSE but was unable to tell me if holding that would count for my candidate. But at least they recognised it!
In several e-mails where I have tried to draw RedHat staff out on the issue of government and corporate recognition of the RHCE, I've been stonewalled. In the case of government recognition, they have just pointed me at the standard state department pages. In the case of corporate recognition they have been evasive, mentioning only names of big tech companies like IBM.
So in summary, these are my observations:
- RedHat do most of the marketing of the RHCE at technical people, not management people. I have seen very little marketing aimed at persuading me I need to hire RHCE's, but lots telling me that I should be one.
- The RHCE does not count as a qualification when immigrating to either the USA or the UK.
- RedHat do not seem to have any plans to change this status quo.
USD795.00 just to sit an exam is a lot of money. The certificate and the lapel pin are all well and good, but what do I actually get for my money? Where is the value?
 I was supposed to have a day's study leave and then sit the exam on a Saturday. The company needed a project rolled out urgently so they cancelled the study leave. I worked all through Friday and until 1am Saturday morning, got some sleep, and took the exam. I refused to cancel the leave though until the company promised to pay for the exam.