Before working Linux Academy, I did work as a junior admin for Hostgator as well as freelance web designer / developement work. I would say that regardless of my past experience, working with Linux academy is what made the difference. After finishing the lectures I just went online and tracked down as many RECENT practice exams that I could find. What really helped me along though was setting up my own home web servers and doing the networking (DNS, DMZ, DHCP, port forwarding ) ect myself. When I say setup home server I mean doing everything from command line via ssh, none of my servers have GUIs installed.