Kubernetes and Certification

Kubernetes Certifications

Posted in Kubernetes, Certification
Kubernetes Certifications

In traditional systems, an application developed in one computing system often did not run efficiently on other computing systems. Also, as organizations run multiple applications on the same physical server, the occurrence of continuous resource allocation issues is merely inevitable.

There are instances when one application would consume too many resources due to which the other applications could not run efficiently. Virtualization was introduced as a solution to this problem.

It enabled running multiple virtual machines on a single server's CPU.

Virtual Machines vs Containers

VMs allowed better utilization of resources, reduced hardware costs, and enforced better levels of security. Technically speaking,

“Virtual Machines are an abstraction of the hardware layer, meaning each VM has its copy of the operating system, CPU, filesystems, processing power, and memory.”

In simple terms,

“each Virtual Machine could be considered as a computer system running with all required hardware and software components.”

Containers are similar to Virtual Machines. But, containers are an abstraction of the Application Layer, meaning they simulate software applications while sharing a standard operating system. They are portable across clouds and Operating Systems as they decouple from the underlying infrastructure.

Containerized environments prove to be a better option to run applications as they require less space and memory. A typical virtual machine is some gigabytes in size and requires a few minutes to start. Containers, on the contrary, are mere megabytes in size and start in a couple of seconds.

The Need of Kubernetes

In the production environment, managing containers efficiently is an essential requirement. Kubernetes is an open-source platform - a container-orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management, to be exact - that helps to manage all of the containers. Kubernetes provides a framework so that distributed systems run resiliently.

Primary Highlights of Kubernetes

  • Container Deployments
  • Load Balancing, Service Discovery & Autoscaling
  • Persistent Storage

Career Opportunities in Kubernetes

Containerization is currently a significant trend in the market, and its adoption is on the rise. At a higher level, a new software ecosystem is forming to enable containerization. Kubernetes is now growing along with containers, cloud development, and concurrent technologies, so are its job prospects for professionals who are curious about the technology and possess the necessary skills to use the same.

Right now, job titles do not reflect Kubernetes hiring. So, when you look for job roles for Kubernetes, focus on the job descriptions rather than the job titles. Certification in Kubernetes would make you front-runners for the following career opportunities, or you might like to switch your profession to one of these roles:

  • DevOps Engineer 
  • Cloud Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Site Reliability Engineer
  • [Senior] Java Architect
  • [Senior] Python Developer
  • Software Escalation Engineer

Already fascinated? Then it’s about time to discuss the various apt Kubernetes certification programs available as of today:

Top Kubernetes Certifications

Kubernetes is a relatively new technology, and although there are several online learning platforms offering certifications for using the container-orchestration system, prestigious certifications for the same are few and far between.

Right now, only CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation - the authorizing body responsible for developing and maintaining Kubernetes - is offering Kubernetes certification programs. CNCF offers a total of 4 Kubernetes certifications, 2 for aspirants and professionals, and 2 for organizations leveraging Kubernetes.

Kubernetes Certifications for Students/Professionals

1. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

Duration – Flexible
Level – Beginner
Valid for – 3 years

Developed as a collaborative effort by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and The Linux Foundation to expand the Kubernetes ecosystem, the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification allows developers to establish their credibility in the job market and enable companies to hire them for Kubernetes-based tasks.

The CKA certification allows candidates to acquire the skills, competency, and knowledge to perform the responsibilities of a Kubernetes Administrator and then get certified for the same.

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator certification examination is conducted online, where the candidate is required to solve multiple tasks through the command line. Domains covered by the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) program are:

    1. Application Lifecycle Management
    2. Installation, Configuration & Management
    3. Core Concepts
    4. Networking, Scheduling & Security
    5. Logging & Monitoring
    6. Cluster Maintenance
    7. Storage and Troubleshooting

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator certification is valid for 3 years, after which the candidates are required to retake and pass the certification examination before the expiration date of their previously held CKA certification.

To help candidates prepare for the examination, The Linux Foundation offers the Introduction to Kubernetes (LFS158) course. It is a free, foundational course for Kubernetes beginners.

The Kubernetes Fundamentals (LFS258) course is the follow-on course for the Kubernetes above foundation course that features comprehensive learning for CKA aspirants. Its content is aligned directly with the knowledge domains tested by the CKA certification exam.

Exam Details:

Name – Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam
Code – N/A
Duration – 3 hours
Language(s) – English, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish
Passing Percentage – 74%
Prerequisites – None
Price – $300
Questions Type – Performance-based tasks using the command line
Total Questions – N/A

2. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)

Duration – Flexible
Level – Intermediate/Expert
Valid for – 3 years

The CKAD certification is geared towards the growth of Kubernetes Application Developers. It certifies the ability of a developer to build, configure, design, and expose native cloud applications for Kubernetes. Such developers are further able to work with core resources to build, monitor, and troubleshoot applications in Kubernetes.

An ideal candidate for the CKAD certification must be able to: 

  • Implement code in one or many programming languages, such as Go, Java, Node.js, and or Python
  • Leverage the concepts about cloud-native applications and architectures
  • Use an OCI-Compliant Container Runtime

Prior knowledge of container runtimes and microservices architecture is, although, not required but would be beneficial in acquiring the CKAD certification.

The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer certification assesses a candidate’s ability in the following knowledge domains:

    1. Core Concepts
    2. Configuration
    3. Multi-Container Pods
    4. Observability
    5. Pod Design
    6. State Persistence
    7. Services & Networking

The Kubernetes for Developers (LFD259) course, offered by The Linux Foundation, explains the process of containerizing, hosting, deploying, and configuring an application on a multi-node cluster in detail. The content of the course is strictly compiled in line with the knowledge domains tested by the CKAD certification exam.

Exam Details:

Name – Kubernetes Certified Application Developer exam
Code – N/A
Duration – 2 hours
Language(s) – English, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish
Passing Percentage – 66%
Prerequisites – None
Price – $300 (with one free retake)
Questions Type – Performance-based tasks using the command line
Total Questions – N/A

Kubernetes Certifications for Organizations/Vendors

1. Software Conformance (Certified Kubernetes)

Requirements – See here

Many of the leading cloud computing providers and enterprise software vendors have Certified Kubernetes offerings. Any organization offering Kubernetes-based software needs to get the Software Conformance (Certified Kubernetes) certification.

Organizations and vendors interested in getting certified for Kubernetes need to submit conformance testing results. These are then reviewed by CNCF to check whether the applicant is worthy of the certification or not.

Conformance enables interoperability from one Kubernetes release to the next for organizations employing Kubernetes. By getting the Software Conformance certification, an organization ensures that every vendor’s version of Kubernetes supports the required APIs. Organizations have the flexibility to choose among vendors too.

Benefits of the Software Conformance (Certified Kubernetes) program:

  • Consistency when interacting with any installation of Kubernetes
  • Timely updates on yearly-basis or more frequently
  • Confirmability for ensuring the distribution or platform remains conformant

The certification process includes 4 simple steps:

  • Step 1 - Prepare your product for certification
  • Step 2 - Run the certification test using Sonobuoy
  • Step 3 - Prepare a PR and submit the results to the Conformance repo on GitHub. Complete the terms & conditions form
  • Step 4 - Wait for the review and results of your product certification

2. Kubernetes Certified Service Provider

Requirements:

  1. A member of CNCF
  2. A business model for supporting enterprise end-users that includes putting engineers at a customer site
  3. 3 or more CKA engineers

The KCSP or Kubernetes Certified Service Provider program is meant to benefit enterprises for getting the necessary support for rolling out new applications efficiently and quickly. A Kubernetes Certified Service Provider offers:

  • Consulting
  • Professional services
  • Support
  • Training

Any organization that offers professional services for supporting Kubernetes deployments must go for the KCSP program. It has several benefits, including:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Community recognization as a leader and expert in assisting businesses adopt Kubernetes
  • Get featured on:
    • https://kubernetes.io/partners/
    • https://kubernetes.io/partners/#kcsp
    • https://www.cncf.io/certification/kcsp/
    • https://landscape.cncf.io

The KCSP certification process involves only three simple steps:

  • Step 1 - Fill out the KCSP form
  • Step 2 - Submit Certified Kubernetes Administration (CKA) certifications of at least 3 employees. You can do so either via the KCSP form or sending a mail to kcsp@cncf.io
  • Step 3 - Wait for the review process and the results

Conclusion: The Rise of Kubernetes

Kubernetes is emerging as the platform of choice, a desirable operating system for the cloud. Although this should be clear that not in the classical sense, but from the perspective of a distributed, cloud-native application.

Owing to the rise in the adoption and popularity of Kubernetes, all major cloud providers are now offering their own native Kubernetes services and Kubernetes-based services. With new releases getting dropped frequently and more and more vendors adopting the open-source container-orchestration system, it is obvious that Kubernetes is heading high.

The emergence of new and exciting job roles and career prospects for Kubernetes is, thus, natural at this point. So, for a rewarding future and career, learning Kubernetes is, of course, nothing less than an appealing option.

Kubernetes or Docker? Which is better? Which one to choose? What’s the difference? Get all your answers with this detailed Kubernetes vs. Docker comparison.

Barnali Chanda

Barnali Chanda

Barnali is a software developer, who eventually transformed into a technical documentation writer with her continuous research and development skills. She is an expert in C, C++, PHP, Python and RDBMS. She makes sure to evolve with technology. Thus, trained in BI, she is a Data Science enthusiast and is on the verge to pursue a career in Data Science. View all posts by the Author

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