Traditional systems often had difficulty running an application developed on one computing system efficiently on another system. Additionally, when multiple applications were run on the same physical server, resource allocation issues would inevitably arise, leading to one application consuming too many resources and impeding the efficiency of other applications. Virtualization was introduced as a solution, allowing for the running of multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single server's CPU.
Currently, containerization is a growing trend in the market, and its adoption is increasing. A new software ecosystem is forming to support containerization, and Kubernetes is at the forefront of this trend, alongside containers, cloud development, and other technologies. This growth in Kubernetes has led to increased job prospects for professionals with the skills to use the technology.
What is Kubernetes?
Kubernetes, also known as K8s, is an open-source container orchestration platform developed and designed by Google. It automates many manual processes in deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications. Using Kubernetes when optimizing app development for the cloud is beneficial as it provides a platform to schedule and run containers on clusters of physical or virtual machines (VMs).
Kubernetes allows you to:
- Coordinate containers across multiple hosts.
- Optimize the use of hardware resources to maximize app performance.
- Automate and manage the deployment and updates of applications.
- Add storage to run applications.
- Scale containerized applications.
- Manage services declaratively, ensuring that deployed applications always run as intended.
- Monitor the health of your apps and automatically recover with features such as auto-placement, auto-restart, auto-replication, and auto-scaling.
What is the Kubernetes Certification?
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation is dedicated to expanding the community of Kubernetes Administrators, enabling continued growth across the various companies and organizations utilizing Kubernetes. Certification is a crucial step in this process. It allows certified administrators to establish credibility and value in the job market and enables companies to hire high-quality teams to support their growth quickly.
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) program is designed to ensure that CKAs have the skills, knowledge, and ability to perform the responsibilities of Kubernetes administrators. The CKA exam is an online, proctored, performance-based test that requires solving multiple tasks from a command line.
Career Opportunities in Kubernetes
Currently, job titles do not necessarily indicate a focus on Kubernetes in hiring. Therefore, when searching for job roles related to Kubernetes, pay attention to the job descriptions rather than the job titles. Obtaining a certification in Kubernetes can make you a top candidate for the following career opportunities or may even lead you to consider switching to one of these roles:
- DevOps Engineer
- Cloud Engineer
- Systems Engineer
- Site Reliability Engineer
- Senior Java Architect
- Senior Python Developer
- Software Escalation Engineer
Best Kubernetes Certifications
Kubernetes is a relatively new technology, and while there are several online learning platforms offering certifications for using the container orchestration system, prestigious certifications for the same are limited. Only the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the organization responsible for developing and maintaining Kubernetes, is offering Kubernetes certification programs. CNCF offers 4 Kubernetes certifications, 2 for individuals and professionals and 2 for organizations utilizing Kubernetes.
1. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification was developed jointly by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and the Linux Foundation to train individuals with the skills, knowledge, and responsibilities to work as Kubernetes administrators and support companies relying on Kubernetes in their growth process. This certification is ideal for Kubernetes administrators, cloud administrators, and IT professionals working with the Kubernetes platform. It demonstrates your ability to perform basic installation, configuration, and management of production-grade Kubernetes clusters.
The certification program covers networking, security, storage, maintenance, logging and monitoring, troubleshooting, API object primitives, and establishing primary use cases for end-users. The CKA certification makes your skills recognizable in the job market and can significantly impact your prospective employers. The CKA online exam is a performance-based test that assesses your knowledge across domains such as cluster architecture, installation and configuration, workloads and scheduling, services and networking, storage, and troubleshooting. You will be required to solve several tasks from a command line running Kubernetes.
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam is conducted online and requires candidates to solve multiple tasks via the command line. The program covers the following domains:
- Application Lifecycle Management
- Installation, Configuration & Management
- Core Concepts
- Networking, Scheduling & Security
- Logging & Monitoring
- Cluster Maintenance
- Storage and Troubleshooting
2. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) certification is designed to equip professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to design, build, and deploy cloud-native applications on the Kubernetes platform. Developed jointly by the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the CKAD program aims to create a team of trained professionals who can work in the Kubernetes ecosystem. As a CKAD-certified professional, you will have the skills to use Kubernetes core primitives to develop, configure, and manage scalable applications.
The certification will also give you the knowledge to work with container images, understand cloud-native application concepts and architecture, and validate Kubernetes resource definitions. This certification is ideal for Kubernetes engineers, cloud engineers, and IT professionals involved in designing, building, and configuring cloud-native applications with Kubernetes. The CKAD online exam tests your knowledge across the following domains: application design and build; application deployment, application observability and maintenance; application environment, configuration, and security; and services and networking. It is a performance-based exam, and you must solve problems in a command line.
The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) certification exam tests a candidate's knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- Core Concepts
- Multi-Container Pods
- Pod Design
- State Persistence
- Services & Networking
3. Kubernetes Certified Service Provider
The Kubernetes Certified Service Provider (KCSP) program is a group of experienced service providers who specialize in working with the Kubernetes platform and helping organizations implement it. These providers offer support, consultation, and training to companies that rely on Kubernetes. The program is designed to help enterprises develop and deploy new applications faster. The service providers ensure complete security and support for the production and operational needs of the enterprise. Becoming a KCSP offers several benefits, including being listed on the official Kubernetes website, being recognized as an expert in helping businesses implement Kubernetes, and increasing brand awareness as a consulting partner, leading to more business.
To apply for KCSP certification, your company must have a team of at least three engineers who have passed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam, a solid business plan to support end-users, engineers with experience working remotely or directly with customers, a dedicated Kubernetes professional services landing page on your website showcasing your offerings related to training, consultation, and implementation of this technology, and be a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).
- Three or more engineers who have successfully completed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam (It is worth noting that the CKAD exam is not considered towards this requirement)
- A business strategy in place to support enterprise end-users, including engineers who work directly with customers on-site or remotely
- A dedicated Kubernetes professional services landing page on your website that showcases your offerings about training, consultation, implementation, and support for the technology. This page should be in English and any other relevant languages.
- Be a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)
4. Kubernetes – Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist
The CKS (Certified Kubernetes Security) certification program is designed to equip professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to secure container-based applications and the Kubernetes platform throughout the entire application lifecycle. Developed jointly by the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), this certification program aims to help companies using the Kubernetes technology hire trained security specialists to support their growth.
To take the CKS exam, candidates must hold a valid CKA (Certified Kubernetes Administrator) certification. The CKS exam tests knowledge across various domains, including cluster setup, hardening, minimizing vulnerabilities, supply chain security, monitoring, logging, and runtime security. It is a performance-based exam that tests a candidate's real-world knowledge of the Kubernetes platform and cloud security.
The certification exam assesses a candidate's knowledge and skills in specific domains and competencies, including:
- Cluster Setup
- Cluster Hardening
- System Hardening
- Minimize Microservice Vulnerabilities
- Supply Chain Security
- Monitoring, Logging, and Runtime Security
The Need for Kubernetes
The Kubernetes platform allows for efficient management of containers in a production environment by automating the deployment, scaling, and management of applications through its open-source container orchestration system. It also provides a framework for ensuring the resilience of distributed systems.
Primary highlights of Kubernetes
- Container Deployments
- Load Balancing, Service Discovery & Autoscaling
- Persistent Storage
The Final Verdict
Kubernetes is quickly becoming the go-to platform for cloud-native applications. Its popularity is evident as major cloud providers are now offering their own native Kubernetes services and Kubernetes-based services. With frequent updates and a growing number of vendors adopting the open-source container-orchestration system, it is clear that Kubernetes is on the rise. This increase in adoption also leads to new and exciting job roles and career opportunities in the field, making learning Kubernetes a valuable option for a rewarding future career.
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