I have recently passed Red Hat’s EX407 (Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Ansible Automation exam) and I wanted to share my experience for anyone else who might be looking into getting that certificate. At the time of my exam, I was only a second (publicly visible) person in the UK who had that certificate. Probably because it was only made available in summer this year.

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The exam

All Red Hat’s exams are performance-based, which means they’re “practical” exams – you are given a workstation with virtual machines running and are asked to perform certain tasks. In case of the Ansible exam, this means mostly writing playbooks, but also running ad-hoc commands and configuring Ansible itself.

You need to know how to create and use static and dynamic inventories (including dynamic inventory scripts), write playbooks using most of Ansible’s features (facts, variables, templates, etc.). Writing roles, as it is a base of using Ansible for anything, is an obvious must.
Ansible Galaxy, Vault, Tower are also present in the exam’s requirements, so you need to be familiar with “how, what and why”.

In short, the exam touches on a bit more than installing a role from Galaxy and starting a service – you need to have practical experience using almost every feature of Ansible and be aware of some caveats and common problems.

Exam strategy

My strategy for the exam wasn’t very elaborate – it’s a good idea to skim through the tasks before starting your work, as they are not always entirely specific, so you have to make assumptions and choose the best solution (as per your own judgement). Some tasks may be connected, some may not be, so it’s good to have a general idea of what’s to come.

You have total of 4 hours to complete the exam, which in my opinion is more than enough time – I wouldn’t expect anyone to take more than 2-3 hours to finish, so you can always use the extra time to re-run your playbooks, re-read the tasks and make sure everything is working as it should be.

Note: the exam’s details on Red Hat’s website list the exam as scheduled for 3 hours, but me and other people to whom I talked, where given 4 hours at the testing centre. Not sure if that’s a typo on Red Hat’s website or if the exam time will be shortened to the 3 hours in the future. Even if – 3 hours is really enough time to go through the tasks and re-run all your playbooks after you’re done.

The exam itself is not “hard” (if you have practical knowledge of Ansible), the tasks are no overly complicated, but it touches on a lot of features of the tool. If you’re not completely confident, you can do through the DO407 online training, which goes through everything that the exam covers (and more). If you decide to get the training (which is a self-paced course online with videos and guided tasks), be sure to read through all the content, even the guided tasks and solutions – as some important bits of information may be included in the tasks and not in the written introduction to each chapter.

If you’ve used Ansible extensively and feel confident, go ahead and schedule the exam. Especially if you’re based in the UK – let’s get more people on that list!

Links

Details on the exam and its contents: www.redhat.com/en/services/training/ex407-red-hat-certificate-expertise-ansible-automation
Find Red Hat Certified Professionals: www.redhat.com/wapps/training/certification/search.html
Red Hat’s training for the exam: www.redhat.com/en/services/training/do407-automation-ansible


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41 Comments

  1. donaldf

    Thks you for the feedback i attempt to do it this year,

    I worked on Ansible only during a year do you think that it is enough to attempt the certification ?

    Regards

    Donald

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Donald,
      It depends on how extensively you’ve used Ansible during that year. If you go through the documentation, are you confident with all concepts there, have you used them? If yes, then you should be fine 🙂
      Good luck!

  2. donaldf

    Hello Paulina,
    Sure i am confident about the biggest part of the documentation but i am scared about Ansible Tower. But i will try to work on it.
    I will let you know about my exam feedback too.

    Regards
    Donald

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Donald,
      Remember the Tower version covered by the exam specification is the older version (currently open source), which is quite simple to use. Also, on my exam Tower was not present – obviously that may not be case on your exam.
      Good luck and let us know how you got on!

  3. shaik mohammed

    Hey,
    May i know the path where we need to write all playbooks?
    and inventory file path?
    and nodes in different group in inventory?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi!
      All this info will be provided for you at the start of the exam. You may be given a different exam content than I had, so there’s not much point in sharing this 🙂

  4. Ahmed Hassan

    Hi Paulina ,

    Got a couple of questions that I wish you help me to solve

    Is it a must to be an RHCE to setin for this exam?

    I have only used Ansible in a very minimal way which was limited to installing a package with yum , starting the service and copying over config file ..etc , which study materials do u recommend me for ? the official ansible documentation or take the red hat preparation course , if there is a book on amazon or so it would be great

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Ahmed,
      No, you don’t need to be RHCE nor RHCSA to attempt this exam. They are recommended to have, but not required.
      The exam is not easy, you will need quite a bit of knowledge of Ansible to pass it – it is, after all, called “certificate of expertise” 🙂
      Going through Ansible docs is certainly a good starting point. I’m afraid I didn’t use any books, so can’t recommend anything specific. The Red Hat’s prep course is a very good source – in retrospective I can see it touches on everything that’s required on the exam, but Red Hat’s subscription can be quite expensive.

      I’d recommend having a lot of experience using Ansible for various tasks. Remember you can check out the requirements for the exam on Red Hat’s certifications page:
      General overview: https://www.redhat.com/en/services/certification/rhcoe-ansible-automation
      Details of the exam with study points: https://www.redhat.com/en/services/training/ex407-red-hat-certificate-expertise-ansible-automation

  5. Hal / tuxops

    Thanks for that Paulina. One of the objectives is “Use provided documentation to look up specific information about Ansible modules and commands”.

    For the exam: does the “provided documentation” include access to docs.ansible.com available for looking up ie loops, please? Or is it just the command line tools like man pages and the ansible-doc command?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Hal,

      I’m not sure how much I can share about the documentation given the NDA.
      As the exam objectives say, documentation is available and it should definitely be enough for anyone. I personally thought there was a bit too much docs available 🙂

  6. MOHAMED MOHARAM RAMADAN

    Hello Paulina Budzon

    thanks for your post my question is study form Red Hat Training Course for Ansible is enough or not . I have used study from long time using linuX Academy have more details more than the RH course.

    thanks

    thanks

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Mohamed,

      I think previous experience with Ansible and the Red Hat’s Online Course is enough for the exam. It’s one of the better courses available on RHOL in my opinion, quite comprehensive.
      I didn’t see the Linux Academy course, so can’t say what it covers.
      Hope this helps!

  7. ElinM

    Hi Paulina,

    Thank you for your post, really helpful to read about how you experienced the exam. What I still wonder about is: do we need to install Ansible and Ansible Tower ourselves, or will we get a running environment?

    Thanks

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi ElinM,
      I was given a working Ansible environment to use. For Tower, the exam’s requirements specify “Installing Ansible Tower and using it to manage systems” – so it seems you need to know how to install Tower, as well as use it.
      Good luck!

  8. Danish

    Hi Paulina,

    Congrats on getting your certification. I do not have any ansible experience. My only resources for preparation would be the freely available ones. Do you recommend that I should go ahead with the preparation? Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Thanks
    Danish

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Danish,
      Of course, go ahead! Ansible’s documentation is the ultimate source for all knowledge you’ll need, so if you’re comfortable with everything covered in there, you should be fine on the exam!
      Good luck! Let us know how you got on.

  9. Rishi Kapoor

    congratulations!

  10. ElinM

    Hi Paulina,

    Thank you for your answer! Did you find the questions to be overly complicated sometimes or was everything you needed available in ansible-docs? I have written many playbooks so far but some special features (parallelism, loops, etc) are things I actually never use.

    Is it necessary to know these by heart or do you recommend to rely on the documentation for these things?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi ElinM,
      Questions weren’t too complicated, but you had to be aware of things you can do in Ansible. Loops are quite basic and you should be able to use them without looking at the docs 🙂
      For more more complex things, the docs are there to help – obviously no-one would expect you to know the docs by heart in your day-to-day job (so it wouldn’t make sense to require that on the exam). But on the other hand, you shouldn’t need to refer to the docs for every little thing.

      So, you don’t need to be able to recite the documentation of the top of your head, but be aware of all the things that are possible (and where to find the docs about them) and be comfortable with things that are used day to day.

  11. Fre

    HI paulina

    How extensive it Ansible-Tower being questioned? Is it enough to know how to run a playbook on a selection of hosts?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Fre,
      As I mentioned before, Tower was not covered in the set of questions I received, so I can’t say how detailed the tasks would be.

  12. Anish Tharagar

    Hi Paulina,

    First of all i would like to Congratulate you for the ansible Certification.
    Do they allow you to refer to help docs during the ansible exam? if yes then, do all the topics listed in the ansible exam have a relevant help doc which can be referred during the exam..

    My question stems from the fact that its difficult to remember the whole command syntax and you may need the docs for reference..

    Do let me know the challenges regarding the same. how easy it is to access the help docs..

  13. suresh chode

    Hi Paulina,
    Congrats for your Ansible Certification .

    I would like to appear for the exam but I’ve seen the prerequisites for the exam is to be passed RHCSA or RHCE . I have more than 5 years of experience in RedHat Linux and currently working on Ansible . Am I qualify for the exam as I don’t have RHCSA/RHCE certifications.

    • Rakesh Jain

      Yes you can write the exam. RHCE/RHCSA is recommended not mandatory ..

  14. ElinM

    How much knowledge of RHEL is needed? I have been working a couple of years with RHEL and will seek RHCA or RHCE definitely in the future. Will my current basic experience be enough?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi ElinM,
      As long as you’re familiar with basics like configuration, how to start/stop services, etc. it should be enough! If you’ve used Ansible for common system administration tasks (really common, no fancy stuff), then that’s what the exam is checking!

  15. Thiru

    Hi Paulina,
    I am new to ansible. but I am working in Linux environment more than 6 years, but I don’t know how to write a script. but am confident to take ansible exam to achieve my goal. can you please guide me, how can I prepare for Ansible exam. I would be good if you share any study materials for ansible.

  16. ElinM

    Hi Paulina,

    Thank you for the information. Do you think they also give points for writing ‘tidy’ playbooks, for instance by usings vars instead of hardcoding information, giving the playbook a name etc. Or is it just enough to perform the tasks and make sure that things are working?

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi ElinM,
      It’s very hard to say. Usually in Red Hat exams it doesn’t matter too much how you get to the solution, as long as it is solved properly. Obviously following best practices and having tidy playbooks is something you would expect from people with Ansible certificate, but I wouldn’t be focusing too much energy on the exam on this.
      In essence: yes, follow best practices and make your playbooks as good as possible, but remember you’re on a clock, so manage your time 🙂

  17. ElinM

    Ok thank you, I will focus on that. Do you recommend learning Python to fully understand how these dynamic inventories with Python work?

    Also: what score did you get? 🙂

  18. Sam

    1/2 Ok. I wrote this exam and failed. I read this article and it misguided in timing aspect. Well, no one to blame other than me. Here are some facts about exam, you get 14 questions and you have 4 hours. Let’s break it down.
    20 mins – To get familiar with environment and get started.

    • SG

      Sam, care to elaborate a bit more? A lot of your answer got cut off

    • glo

      exam is more difficult?
      i wonder that
      “tower” question is on a test ??

  19. Aara Kapur

    Thanks for the informative post 🙂

    I have gone through your post and I am happy to say that your post is very thoughtful for readers. Red Hat course is very much in demand, in fact, I have already done this course from Koenig Solutions.

  20. Elin M

    Hi Aara,

    Was the course helpful? What was your experience level with Ansible before you took the course (is it only for beginners)?

  21. Mihir Mehta

    Congrats, Paulina Budzon I will be taking the exam soon ex-407K. Installing Ansible Tower fetching from dynamic inventories. Is the script is given or you have to write the code? Thanks

  22. Sundaresh K A

    I have only used Ansible in a very minimal way which was limited to installing a package with yum , starting the service and copying over config file ..etc

  23. Nilesh Patil

    HI. This is Nilesh here. Currently I have started learning Ansible and doing DO407: Automation with Ansible I Course from RedHat Online Subscription and planning for Ansible Exam in next months. Could you please confirm is this course sufficient to take Exam : – Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Ansible Automation exam (EX407) along with Practical Experience. Also suggest your expertise and valuable inputs

    • Paulina Budzon

      Hi Nilesh,
      the course and practical experience were enough for me to pass the exam. I heard the exam and course changed since I took it, but I imagine it should still be good! Good luck, and let us know how you got on.

  24. Nilesh Patil

    Hi,
    I am looking to Study and Prepare for Ansible Exam. Could you please suggest some good Consultant (Online Course) OR Some Institute which provide me Virtual course to attend it. Appreciate for your response.

  25. JILIN MR

    will you share ansible documents.


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