cert_hatLess than a month after gaining some cred (and relief) from passing the F5 Certification 101 exam, the DevCentral team is now embarking on our 201-TMOS Administration journey. The 201-TMOS Administration exam is the second exam required to achieve F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator status. You see, the 101 is simply a gauge - a benchmark – to determine if you qualify to take the next exam to officially become F5 Certified. The 201 exam focuses on the TMOS operating system, the day-to-day operation and basic troubleshooting of BIG-IP devices. 

You won’t need to install the software but you do need to understand how to administer and troubleshoot it once it is running. You'll also need to understand how (and what) to provide accurate and appropriate information for senior engineers and/or F5 support. This exam is not so much 'what do you know' but more about 'how do you do it.' Theory plus experience.

The DevCentral team is taking the same preparation approach as we did for the 101. We’re doing weekly team study sessions with each person taking a section and presenting to the team. This allows us to share knowledge, experience and discuss the potential questions around a certain topic. We found this very successful while prepping for the 101. Plus it was a good excuse to get together to talk shop. In addition, we'll need to spend some hands-on time (at least I do) doing real GUI-click stuff.

The good news is there seems to be a lot of 201 resources available. Of course there is F5’s own Eric Mitchell’s comprehensive 201 Certification Study Guide along with the TMOS Administration Exam Blueprint.

f5 admin certOutside of F5, Rich Hill put together a great click-read-learn journey with the various exam sections and the corresponding links to F5 support, DevCentral and other resources. Funzune has a fantastic F5 BIG IP – 201 exam – TMOS administration (Tips and tricks) along with a how to set up F5 BIG-IP lab at home. This is critical since (as mentioned earlier) the 201 exam does require BIG-IP hands on participation.

You can pass the 101 by studying the material but you need actual experience to ace the 201.

TomsITPro has a good overview and career path article for F5 Certifications and there’s a nifty flash-card based 201 Study Guide on Cram.com which delivers 80 potential questions along with the answers. Like the 101, candidates need to answer 80 questions in 90 minutes so nail the ones you know and come back for the more difficult questions. And don’t forget to flag those so it is easier to review with 10 minutes left. Another great resource is the F5 Certified Professionals LinkedIn group. A very active group that always has good tips as members work their way through the process.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention TheF5Guy’s 5 reasons to become F5 Certified. As Nathan Abbott puts it, ‘Reason #1 – I’m “The F5 Guy”, I have to do my best to live up to my name!  Hehehe…

The one theme that runs through many of the 201 certification prep articles is that this exam is not something to take lightly. It is much more challenging than the 101. While the 101 has a 70% pass rate, the 201 hovers around 67%. 69% correct is a pass. And if you do pass you will be awarded the credential of F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator.

That’s what we’re aiming for.

ps