CompTIA Linux+ XK0-005 – what changed with this cert and test? [2022 update]

Daniel Brecht
September 9, 2020 by
Daniel Brecht

With DevOps becoming the standard method for developing software and open-source skills in high demand, it is increasingly valuable for an IT professional to have Linux skills, as employers are looking for qualified talents.

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How Linux fits into an IT career

If you are looking for opportunities as a security analyst or system and network administrator, if not as a programmer and developer, this is the right time to hone your skills. A credential like CompTIA Linux+ can demonstrate that professionals possess the necessary competencies to do the job and stand out in a pool of applicants by proving the advanced knowledge that employers hope to find in a candidate.

The Linux+ certification (Exam Number: XK0-005) is geared towards those in an IT management role tasked with securing the enterprise, and its cloud and ensuring systems are running and available. The certification was recently updated to ensure that IT professionals, software developers, cybersecurity engineers and penetration testers have the necessary skills to support today’s tech systems.

Why it’s important to learn Linux

Linux is one of the most popular platforms today, so there are several good reasons for becoming familiar with this operating system that has seen tremendous growth everywhere since the ‘90s. Associated to desktop systems, large servers and supercomputers, if not used in mobile or cloud computing environments or meant for IoT devices, Blockchain technologies, or DevOps developments, this OS is far from being outdated as it has always been found to be more adaptable to the needs of users and even businesses. It is still invaluable to master Linux as part of a learning path toward building valuable cybersecurity skills.

Linux is truly scalable and portable thanks to its UNIX roots but has proved itself still more secure compared to other OSs (Windows and Mac), making it the obvious choice for companies building their own infrastructure. Because Linux works in many environments and distros, an IT professional should acquire direct, hands-on knowledge of it to be ready to manage systems in any work site.

How the CompTIA Linux+ certification fits into your IT career

As mentioned in the exam objectives document: “The CompTIA Linux+ certification exam will verify the successful candidate has the knowledge and skills required to configure, manage, operate and troubleshoot Linux on-premises and cloud-based server environments, while using security best practices, scripting, containerization, and automation.” The content covered is equivalent to at least 12 months of hands-on experience working with Linux servers in a junior Linux support engineer or junior cloud/DevOps support engineer role.

Linux+ is specifically tailored for the users, administrators and developers who will want to acquire competency and expertise in handling this popular OS especially if asked to assume responsibilities that include installing, configuring, and maintaining servers and workstations in various roles.

Why the Linux+ over other certifications? According to CompTIA, this is the only job-focused Linux certification that covers all the latest foundational skills required in the current job market.

Obtaining the CompTIA credential gives you an array of career options. What’s more, the salary trend is looking quite bright for certification holders. The Certification Magazine 2022 Salary Survey reports the average base salary of a Linux+ certified professional as $105,140 in the U.S. and $101,080 worldwide.

Jobs that use Linux+ include:

  • Linux Administrator
  • Junior DevOps Support Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Web Administrator/ Developer
  • Linux Engineer
  • Junior Cloud Engineer
  • Technical Support Specialist
  • Network Administrator
  • Cybersecurity Engineer

This intermediate-level IT certification is relevant to all major distributions of Linux and therefore is appealing to a larger number of IT practitioners whatever their goal is: from advancing in their current jobs or taking the plunge into selected fields. Undeniably, this certification can lead to many rewarding careers in the Linux world.

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Linux+ exam objectives

The new CompTIA Linux+ exam objectives have been completely revamped to reflect where the technology is going for private and commercial purposes and to test the actual usage and administrative tasks common to nearly all Linux distributions. The skills this exam tests are in high demand by employers, as proved by the latest Linux Foundation Research.

So, what’s new in CompTIA Linux+?

The following subject areas have been added:

  • Given a scenario, perform basic container operations
  • Summarize common infrastructure as code technologies.
  • Given a scenario, use a process to diagnose and resolve common problems with a Linux system.

However, all topics have been touched on and updated to ensure the test better reflects the skills needed by today’s professionals.

In addition, the CompTIA Linux+ exam XK0-005 objectives have been streamlined, and the test now covers four domains (whereas XK0-004 had five) in which topics have been redistributed.

1.     System Management (32%)

This domain focuses on reviewing Linux fundamentals and mastering the management of software configurations, storage, processes and services.

2.     Security (21%)

The focus of this section is on security best practices in a Linux environment and understanding permissions, authentication, firewalls and file management. Knowledge of Identity management and access control are heavily tested in this part of the exam.

3.     Scripting, Containers and Automation (19%)

This domain focuses on using shell scripts, basic container operations and performing basic version control using Git. It also covers fundamental concepts in container, cloud and orchestrations. 

4. Troubleshooting (28%)

This section focuses on recognizing software problems, troubleshooting and resolving issues in network resources, CPUs, memory, user access and file permissions.

The new CompTIA exam has an increased focus on these topics that relate to job roles:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Kernel modules
  • Storage and visualization
  • Device management at an enterprise level
  • Git and automation
  • Networking and firewalls
  • Server side and command line
  • Server (vs. client-based) coverage
  • Troubleshooting
  • SELinux
  • Automation and scripting

Details of the CompTIA Linux+ exam

Exam Code XK0-005 

Launch Date  July 12, 2022

Exam Description The new version of CompTIA Linux+ focuses more on how Linux powers the cloud. This exam includes cutting-edge technologies and Linux's role in helping automate and orchestrate business processes, including infrastructure as code and containers. 

Number of Questions Maximum of 90 questions 

Type of Questions Multiple-choice and performance-based 

Length of Test 90 Minutes

Passing Score 720 (on a scale of 100 to 900)

Recommended Experience CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, and 12 months of hands-on experience working with Linux servers in a junior Linux support engineer or junior cloud/DevOps support engineer job role

Languages English only

Retirement TBD — usually three years after launch

Price $358 

Linux+ certification training

Professionals who have been studying for the CompTIA Linux+ XK0-004 have until January 16, 2023, to take this test before it retires, or they can make the switch and prepare for the new exam XK0-005.

CompTIA Linux+ Cert Exam Objectives for XK0-005 list the domains covered by this examination and the extent to which they are represented. By creating a study plan and understanding the exam objectives and domains, you’ll be prepared to come on the test day and be ready to pass it on the first attempt.

Explore training options to get the essential hands-on Linux experience you need to apply towards a CompTIA Linux+ certification and your career, with the potential to grow into advanced areas of IT.

  • eLearning with CertMaster Learn™ for Linux+ — is an interactive and self-paced option that includes instructional lessons with videos, practice questions and performance-based questions.
  • Interactive Labs with CertMaster Labs™ for Linux+ — dedicated to preparing candidates for the hands-on aspects of the CompTIA Linux+ exam objectives.
  • Exam Prep with CertMaster Practice™ for Linux+ — an option that can help candidates to close knowledge gaps.
  • Study Guides for Linux+ — these are essential because they offer 100% coverage of the CompTIA exam objectives.
  • Instructor-Led Training — this is an opportunity for professionals who’d rather not self-train but are looking for in-classroom or live online training to learn about the subject.
  • CompTIA Linux+ XK0-005 Complete Video Course, 3rd Edition — is 23 hours of Pearson Video Training with accessible personal visual instruction from an expert trainer that helps you prepare for the CompTIA Linux+ exam.  
  • Linux-related courses — is a great place to start for hands-on skills training and certification preparation in a format that meets various learning styles and needs.

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Many of our boot camps come with an Exam Pass Guarantee: if you fail on your first attempt, we'll invite you to re-sit the course for free and cover the cost of your second exam.

Is the certification worth it? Yes. “Linux plays an integral part in many IT disciplines, including security analysts, penetration testers, threat hunters and cloud security administrators,” mentions CompTIA.

Linux+ can officially recognize a professional’s competence through a single exam that, according to CompTIA, aligns with industry requirements and expectations.


Daniel Brecht
Daniel Brecht

Daniel Brecht has been writing for the Web since 2007. His interests include computers, mobile devices and cyber security standards. He has enjoyed writing on a variety of topics ranging from cloud computing to application development, web development and e-commerce. Brecht has several years of experience as an Information Technician in the military and as an education counselor. He holds a graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and a Master of Science in Information Technology.