Saturday, September 04, 2010

BSD Professional Certification Requirements Published

It's out the door!  After over 200 hours of work and 15 drafts, the BSD Professional Certification objectives document is now available.  Released just in time for your end of summer reading pleasure, the document contains the official exam objectives for 11 knowledge domains, and contains 140 separate objectives.

Officially called the "BSD Professional Certification  Requirements" the document discusses more than just exam objectives.  It describes the methodology used to create the objectives, information on the importance and frequency of each talk and practical details for study.  The exam will consist of both a written test and a hands-on lab exam, so the objectives document also identifies which tasks are likely to be present on the lab exam as well.

The BSDP exam aims to be the standard of excellence for system administration exams.  Achieving a BSDP certification demonstrates that you have what it takes to get the job done from the get go.  Read the announcement, and download a copy of the objectives today.   Give it a read and let us know what you think on the mailing list.

Thanks to all the contributors, reviewers, editors, and our graphic  artist for helping to get the document finished. 

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

BSD Professional Certification Exam Objectives Wiki Now Available

Thanks to the efforts of Jeremy Reed, one of the members of the BSD Certification Group, there is now a wiki page to help create the exam objectives for the BSD Professional Certification Exam.

The exam objectives describe the knowledge domains that will be part of the exam. The list of domains came from the BSDP Job Task Analysis Survey we completed a few months ago (see previous blog posts).

The are 11 knowledge domains and approximately 180 topics. The domains are as follows:
  4. USERS

You can web to and and see progress on the objectives or create an account and login to help us write some of them yourself.

The objectives form the core of the exam material. Each of the domains listed above has several topic areas that need a 'Concept' paragraph, some 'Practical' elements such as man page references, and a time estimate. Here's an example:

Configure a log server according to a set of specifications.

Importance: 3.9, Frequency: 1.9


Syslogd (sometimes known as newsyslogd) is capable of separating log facilities and
log levels into separate output channels. BSDP candidates must be able to configure
syslog to output, forward, or operate on log information according to a detailed
specification for log levels and facilities, and required actions.


syslog(8), syslog.conf(5), logger(1)

Estimated Time:

15 minutes to set up a solution

Notice the 'Estimated Time' block. This is intended to help candidates prepare for the hands-on lab portion of the exam. Candidates should be able to perform the objective within the time limit (or less) to ensure that they will have sufficient time to complete the hands-on lab.

Please join us! We're looking for BSD admins, users, developers, and anyone who is familiar with BSD systems to help us get the exam objectives done. Send an email to info at or pop into #bsdcert on freenode to get an 'Account Creation Password' for the wiki. Then read through the guidelines and give it a go.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

More on the BSD Professional Exam

BSDCan, the premier BSD conference held annually in Canada hosted a talk on the BSD Professional (BSDP) exam  given by yours truly at this years conference.  The talk discussed how the BSD Certification Group is currently creating the BSDP exam including the written form and a "hands-on lab".  If you couldn't make it to Ottawa this year you can still hear the talk and see the slides.  Many of the talks were videotaped.  The BSDP talk can be found at

Of particular interest are the lab requirements- 11 in all- that will form the basis for selecting the eventual lab design from the many ideas described throughout the talks.  If you are only interested in the discussion about the lab itself, you can fast forward to about 35:50.  That section presents an example lab and describes the types of things that the candidate would have to perform in the hands-on portion of the exam.

The actual lab tasks are drawn from today's news- a disaster has hit Example Corporation, and your boss Mr. Big, wants you to get things working again, using new 3 new BSD systems.

There are specific requirements for filesystem layouts, network connectivity, and DNS. A description of an example lab virtual environment is also shown.

Be sure to check out the live demonstration after the talk.  The demonstration, though different from what is described in the talk, shows how four virtual machines can be set up in a high  availability firewall environment, using two OpenBSD guest virtual machines, a DragonFly guest system, and a FreeBSD guest system. In the demo, the DFly and FreeBSD hosts  (external and internal hosts respectively) exchange data seamlessly through the  OpenBSD CARP and pfsync interfaces, just as they would in a real world physical environment.

Even more news about the BSD Professional Exam is coming up, including how you can contribute.  Stay tuned!

Monday, March 29, 2010

BSDP Job Task Analysis Survey Results

Development of the BSD Professional Certification Exam is officially underway. A Job Task Analysis (JTA) survey for the exam was held in October and November of 2009. The results have been collated and the report titled "BSD Professional Certification Job Task Analysis Survey Results" is now available at

The 93 page report details how the BSD community evaluated the exam knowledge domains and specific items in each domain. Each item was rated for its "Importance" and "Frequency" for a typical senior level BSD system administrator. The results will help determine the items that will be a part of the BSDP exam.

As with the previous JTA for the BSDA exam, the comments make a very interesting part of the survey report. Some were very vocal about specific topics such as installation and security. It was actually refreshing to see how much interest there is in the BSD Professional exam. Check it out for yourself!