Looking for the best Kubernetes certification? In this guide, I explained the best Kubernetes certification along with other free choices, so you can choose the best one for you.
Kubernetes is growing in popularity day by day. A survey conducted by Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) reported that 96% of the respondents are either using or evaluating Kubernetes.
Engineers getting certified on Kubernetes are also growing at a rapid pace. A report by Kube careers shows that Kubernetes Certifications stand in second place in the list of popular certifications.
Now you know why getting certified in Kubernetes is very important. I will be running through each certification, plus an explanation on what purpose each certification is best suited to – everything you need to choose the best Kubernetes certification for your needs.
Also, CNCF certifications under The Linux Foundation are widely accepted and considered by organizations. However, sometimes, certification is about learning and gaining experience. As long as learning is your objective, you can choose to prepare for certifications that add value to your career. So I will also cover certifications that are not part of CNCF but will help you enhance your skill related to Kubernetes.
🚀 Important Note: You can save 15% on Kubernetes certifications and upto $217 on CKA + CKS Bundle. Use code DCUBEOFFER at kube.promo/devops
What are the Best Kubernetes Certifications?
Let’s take a look at each Kubernetes certification and see which one is right for you.
1. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)
CKA is my #1 choice for Kubernetes certification.
CKA certification is a sought-after certification when it comes to DevOps Engineer Jobs. Whether you are an experienced IT professional or a fresh college graduate, CKA certification will add value to your resume. It is mainly due to the nature of the exam. Also, it is one of the best devops certifications today.
Unlike other certifications where exams have multiple-choice questions, CKA is a hands-on certification exam where you need to solve Kubernetes tasks and solve cluster issues from the command line. This certification is aimed at sysadmins and DevOps engineers who are involved with day-to-day Kubernetes operations.
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) program provides assurance that CKAs have the skills, knowledge, and competency to perform the responsibilities of Kubernetes administrators.training.linuxfoundation.org
The CKA exam focuses on the following domain and competencies.
- Workloads & Scheduling
- Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration
- Services & Networking
Check out the CKA Study Guide where I have given the detailed CKA exam resources and links to Kubernetes official documentation.
2. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
I recommend CKAD certification for all developers & engineers who focus more on cloud-native microservices application development & deployment.
CKAD certification focuses more on the application aspects of Kubernetes. If you are a developer or a Devops engineer who wants to showcase your ability to deploy applications on Kubernetes with cloud-native best practices, CKAD certification is for you.
The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) exam certifies that candidates can design, build and deploy cloud-native applications for Kubernetes.training.linuxfoundation.org
It is also a performance-based hands-on exam where you need to solve Kubernetes tasks related to cloud-native application deployment on Kubernetes. CKAD covers the following Domains & Competencies
- Application Design and Build
- Application Deployment
- Application Observability and Maintenance
- Application Environment, Configuration, and Security
- Services and Networking
Check out the comprehensive CKAD Study Guide where I have given the detailed CKAD exam resources and links to Kubernetes official documentation.
3. Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS)
The CKS exam is recommended for engineers involved in cloud-native security.
CKS certification focuses more on Kubernetes security. When it comes to containerized environments, security plays a key role. From building a container image to deploying it on kubernetes, security best practices have to be applied to reduce the attack surface. This certification covers the security aspects from building images to deployment. You have to learn container security best practices and associate cncf security tooling such as Falco and Trivy to prepare for this exam.
The Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) program provides assurance that a CKS has the skills, knowledge, and competence on a broad range of best practices for securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during build, deployment and runtime. CKA certification is required to sit for this exam.training.linuxfoundation.org
To appear for the CKS exam, you need to pass the CKA certification first. CKS exam covers the following domains and competencies.
- Cluster Setup
- Cluster Hardening
- System Hardening
- Minimize Microservice Vulnerabilities
- Supply Chain Security
- Monitoring, Logging, and Runtime Security
Check out the comprehensive CKS Study Guide where I have given the detailed CKS exam resources, links to Kubernetes official documentation, and links to associate cncf security tools mentioned in the CKS curriculum
4. Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA)
KCNA is recommended for students, IT managers, and engineers who need foundational knowledge of the cloud-native ecosystem.
KCNA exam focuses on Kubernetes and related tools in the cloud-native landscape. This exam is easy compared to CKA, CKAD, and CKS. It is a multiple-choice exam with 60 questions and a 90 minutes exam time.
The Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA) exam demonstrates a user’s foundational knowledge and skills in Kubernetes and the wider cloud native ecosystem.training.linuxfoundation.org
The topics covered on the KCNA exam include:
- Introduction to Kubernetes (10 questions)
- Kubernetes Architecture and Components (20 questions)
- Kubernetes Networking (15 questions)
- Kubernetes Storage (15 questions)
- Kubernetes Security (10 questions)
- Kubernetes Monitoring and Logging (10 questions)
- Cloud-Native Application Development (10 questions)
- Container Orchestration with Kubernetes (5 questions)
The passing score for the KCNA exam is 65%.
Tips for preparing for and taking the KCNA exam:
- Make sure you are familiar with the topics covered on the exam. You can find a list of topics in the Exam Topics section below.
- Read through the Exam Guide and familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam.
- Use practice exams to test your knowledge and identify areas where you need to focus your studies.
- When taking the exam, take your time and read each question carefully before selecting your answer.
- If you are unsure about an answer, eliminate the obviously incorrect answers and make your best guess.
How to Register for Kubernetes Certification?
You can register for the certification exam on the Linux Foundation training Portal.
Step 1: Head over to the Cloud & Containers Category
Step 2: Choose a certification of your choice and click the “Enroll Today” Button. If you want to choose a bundle, select the “Buy Bundle” option as highlighted in the image below. With bundles, you can save an extra $100.
Step 3: On the checkout page, you will get an option to apply a coupon code. Use code DCUBEOFFER to save 15%.
To get the latest Kubernetes promotion updates, check out the Kubernetes certification coupon page. You could save up to 50% during exclusive Linux Foundation sales.
Which is the Popular Kubernetes Certification?
The popular Kubernetes certification is CKA as it covers the administrative aspects of Kubernetes clusters.
An interesting Kubernetes job trend shows that CKA represented 54% of the mentioned certifications. And in terms of popularity, the ranking goes like CKA > CKAD > CKS.
As a CKA certified engineer myself, I can say that you should opt for CKA if you are planning to work on Kubernetes cluster administration and deployment. However, if you are just focused on deploying apps on Kubernetes, CKAD is preferable.
CKS certification is popular in the security domain. If you are someone involved in DevSecOps or someone interested in cloud-native security, CKS is definitely worth going for.
Kubernetes Certified Engineers Salary Stats
Let’s look at some of the salary stats for candidates with Kubernetes skills.
According to Payscale, the average salary for candidates with Kubernetes skills is $117k/ year.
Talent.com data shows a $150000/year average salary based on 728 salaries. In that highest salary is $180000/year.
As per kube.careers Kubernetes job trends report data, the salary range is between $123,126 & $166,505. And the highest salary reported is between $200,000-240,000.
Linkedin search returned 124,565 results for Kubernetes jobs in the USA. In that for salaries more than $10000, it’s returned 28000 results. And for salaries above $200000, it returned 302 results.
Glassdoor shows the highest reported salary $69,655 per year.
Kubernetes Certification FAQs
Is the CKA certification worth it?
Yes. The Linux Foundation CKA is a sought-after Kubernetes certification. CKA is a widely accepted certification that showcases a candidate’s Kubernetes administration and management skills. You will also gain a competitive advantage over peers without the certification as recruiters and organizations are looking for certified professionals.
What is the Certified Kubernetes Administrator Salary?
As of 2022, data from popular job sites like indeed and talent.com shows that the average salary for CKA certified engineers ranges anywhere between $130,000 and $180,000/year.
What are the latest Kubernetes Certification Voucher codes?
The latest Kubernetes certification voucher codes are DEVOPS35 where you get a flat 35% discount on CKA, CKAD, CKS, and KCNA certification & bundles.
Which Kubernetes Certification is good for entry-level engineers?
If you are an entry-level DevOps engineer, a Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) is the best option as it covers mostly administrative aspects of Kubernetes. It helps you gain core Kubernetes skills that are required for a DevOps engineer Job.
Which Kubernetes Certification is good for developers?
For developers, the recommended Kubernetes certification is Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) as it covers concepts related to cloud-native Kubernetes development.
Which Kubernetes certification is best for Devops engineers?
CKA is the best certification for DevOps engineers as it focuses more on Kubernetes administrative aspects.
In this blog, I have covered the best Kubernetes certifications to showcase your Kubernetes skills. However, you will need to look at your current skill set and choose a certification that aligns with your career goals and aspiration.
For example, if you are more interested in the DevSecOps path, CKA+CKS is the best choice. If you are in the DevOps engineer path, CKA is the best option. If you are getting started with cloud-native tools, KCNA is the best entry-level certification.
Also, if you are learning Kubernetes, check out the list of comprehensive kubernetes tutorials with practical examples. If you want a structured learning roadmap, check out the comprehensive Kubernetes learning roadmap.