Kubernetes Certification Path

So you’re thinking about Kubernetes certification. That’s great!
Kubernetes Certification Path
Written by
Updated on
May 10, 2023

Kubernetes provides container agnostic tools to build, scale, deploy, and secure applications more efficiently than Virtual Machines can do to isolate each container from other processes running on the same host.

You can easily manage the containers and ensure that there is zero downtime by transferring the loads from one node to another with relative ease. Your applications continue to work as expected, even when a container goes down. It takes care of fail-over and scaling for your applications, plus provides deployment patterns, and more.

With the astronomical growth and popularity of containers, microservices, and cloud computing, Kubernetes has become the standard for running containerized applications in the cloud. Almost every major cloud provider is offering managed Kubernetes services.

Google originally designed Kubernetes, but CNCF now maintains the project with support, oversight and direction from The Linux Foundation.

Kubernetes is at the core of the cloud-native movement. Given that the demand is growing for Kubernetes knowledge and skills, getting certified makes sense, especially because recruiters know that Kubernetes certification entails a significant learning curve. Kubernetes is a complex system, and it is worth becoming a skilled practitioner to open doors to a new cloud career path. Want more details or links to the high-quality resources? Then read on!

Kubernetes Certification — Which is Right for You and Your Team?

There are three Kubernetes certifications under The Linux Foundation banner. A fourth, an associate level certification KCNA — Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Associate for absolute beginners.

Let’s look at the three different established certifications offered by The Linux Foundation.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)

The CKAD is designed for developers who interact in a Kubernetes environment. This is a stand-alone certification program that designates developers (specialty) to apply Cloud Native application concepts and architectures.

Widely considered the easiest of the three exams, the CKAD program aims to certify that an engineer can design, build, configure, and expose cloud-native applications for Kubernetes. Talking about job roles, those employed in the Cloud Native arena often can earn more after earning CKAD.

CKAD by The Linux Foundation
CKAD by The Linux Foundation

Exam Prep

Application concepts and architectures, runtimes, and the programming skills are essential. The exam, however, doesn’t involve developing anything but testing individuals’ ability to deploy a microservices-based application. It is best to review the certification guidelines, so there is more clarity about what you are signing up for. With that in mind, here are a few resources to help you get started:

Training Courses

Bookmark — New CKAD Exam readiness guide with up-to-date resources

Books & Guides

Live Projects

These resources will prepare you to learn and demonstrate your expertise in each of the general domains of the CKAD exam.

Is CKAD Right For You?

Developers should start with CKAD as it will be the most familiar; however, DevOps, operations and admins may get more out of the CKA. This Kubernetes Certification validates critical skills for building, deploying, and configuring cloud native applications with Kubernetes. It is suitable for beginners, developers, deployment specialists, and DevOps Engineers.

Kubernetes Application Developer — The Linux Foundation (CNCF)

Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

The CKA program is designed for DevOps Engineers, Site Reliability Engineers, operations teams, and system/networking administrators, who will focus more on Kubernetes features and functionality over container runtimes.

CKA allows certified practitioners to establish their credibility and value in the competitive job market. This certification also serves as a requirement for the CKS exam, and it will be exceedingly helpful should you choose to pursue a security-focused role.

Kubernetes Certification — CKA by The Linux Foundation
Kubernetes Certification — CKA by The Linux Foundation

Exam Prep

CKA examines practitioner’s functional knowledge to perform administrator responsibilities and applicability of everything Kubernetes, including application lifecycle management, cluster maintenance, security, storage, networking, debugging, and more. We have put in considerable time to bringing you the high-quality learning resources you need to get started:

Training Courses

Bookmark — New CKA Exam readiness guide +  with practice resources

Books & Guides

These resources will help prepare for CKA exam tests in specific domains and competencies.

Is CKA Right For You?

As stated previously, DevOps Engineers, SREs and System admins will get the most out of this certification program. It is recommended that you have a knowledge of Linux administration shell, shell scripting, containers and DevOps methodologies.

Certified Kubernetes Administrator — The Linux Foundation (CNCF)

Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS)

The CKS is built for operations and system administrators with a focus on Kubernetes and supporting security applications. The CKS is considered the most challenging exam and popular certification offered by The Linux Foundation as security talents become more widely valued.

There is a white-hot demand for Kubernetes Security skills — and cloud-native capabilities. CKS is an accomplished Kubernetes practitioner who has demonstrated exhaustive knowledge and expertise on a wide range of best practices for securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms.

Kubernetes Certification - CKS by The Linux Foundation
Kubernetes Certification - CKS by The Linux Foundation

Exam Prep

Security professional will get a meaningful use out of the CKA program since it sheds much light on the day-to-day challenges of operation teams. Learn best practices for securing containerized applications and Kubernetes platforms during build and deployment, including monitoring, logging, and runtime security. Below, you’ll find a few quality resources to help you get started:

Training Courses


These resources will help cement your knowledge in each of the general domains and competencies of the CKS exam.

Is CKS Right For You?

CKS is an advanced-level Kubernetes certification that requires an active CKA (Certified Kubernetes Administrator) certification to sit for an exam. This Kubernetes certification path is practically suitable for anyone having basic knowledge of Kubernetes and a genuine desire to pursue a security-focused role.

Kubernetes Securtity Specialist — The Linux Foundation (CNCF)

FAQs - Plotting your Kubernetes Certification path

Is Kubernetes Certification helpful for Cloud Native professionals?

Cloud-Native experts such as those with Kubernetes Certifications are in increasingly high demand. This demand is fiercer than ever, and these speciality credentials present a clear pathway for professionals. According to Glassdoor and PayScale, the salaries for Kubernetes experts are starting at well over $100,000, while ZipRecruiter indicates that the average salary for Kubernetes-related job roles is more than $147,000.

What are Kubernetes Certifications?

Kubernetes certification is an industry-recognized credential. It helps learners build credibility by validating a level of Kubernetes expertise and it helps organizations identify skilled practitioners to implement cloud native initiatives.

When thinking about your Cloud Native career, it can help to think of Kubernetes certification as a stepping stone. It will be instrumental in consolidation your efforts to reach that next level and will undoubtedly be of great use for a job roles.

What is the best Kubernetes Certification program?

“What’s the best Kubernetes Certification for you?” you might ask. Your career goals can guide you down the right path. Let’s look at the different certifications offered by The Linux Foundation.

There are currently 3 distinct certifications, spread across 2 experience levels:

  • CKAD: It is good for all developers & engineers who want to establish speciality for cloud-native (microservices) application development & deployment.
  • CKA: This program validates assurance that practitioners have the expertise to perform the responsibilities of Kubernetes administrators.
  • CKS: If you are interested in Kubernetes security, CKS is a great certification.

Which Kubernetes Certification is the easiest?

As discussed, Kubernetes is a complex system, and so getting certified will pay dividends. CKA is harder than CKAD and CKS is harder than the other two K8s certifications. The easiest certification would be KCNA, one that equips you with the fundamental knowledge.

How to become Kubernetes Certified?

Kubernetes certifications are potential career boosts. They will open doors, but it’s for you to make good on the Cloud Native career opportunities. It’s your goal that determines which certification path is right for you. To help you become Kubernetes Certified, we have cited surefire resources in this practical guide to help you pass the tough exams according to your experience level.

What is the best Kubernetes Certification Course?

The certification exams are difficult but practice is key to passing the exam. There are thousands of learning resources on the internet, but we recommended official training courses so you can enjoy an easier learning curve. The Linux Foundation bundles the certification with up-to-date exam preparation courses, and the training content is updated with every new release of Kubernetes.


Kubernetes is an exciting container orchestration technology to run distributed systems resiliently. It is an open source distributed system for managing containerized workloads and services that support declarative configuration and automation.

It is world’s most popular container orchestration tool and organizations are eager to find skilled Kubernetes practitioners.

And with that, good luck with your Kubernetes Certification.

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