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

Cloud-Native experts, especially those with Kubernetes certifications, are highly sought after due to the astronomical growth and widespread adoption of container and microservices technologies.
Kubernetes Certification Path

With the exponential growth and popularity of containers, microservices, and cloud computing, Kubernetes has become the standard for running containerized applications in the cloud.

Kubernetes is at the core of the cloud-native movement — providing container-agnostic tools to build, scale, deploy, and secure applications more efficiently than Virtual Machines can isolate each container from other processes running on the same host.

As the demand for Kubernetes knowledge and skills increases, certification becomes increasingly valuable. Hiring managers in particular recognize the significant learning curve associated with Kubernetes certification, making it a worthwhile pursuit for those seeking a new career path in the cloud.

Kubernetes Certification Paths

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These Kubernetes certifications are high-ROI programs that provide a clear pathway for professionals. The certification exams are challenging, but practice is key to success. The Linux Foundation not only bundles the certification with up-to-date exam preparation courses but also updates the training content with every new release of Kubernetes, making it a superior option for learning Kubernetes.

There are three established and two new associate-level Kubernetes certification programs under The Linux Foundation banner. Let's explore these programs.

CKAD — Certified Kubernetes Application Developer

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

Often considered the easiest of the three exams, the CKAD program certifies that an engineer can design, build, configure, and expose cloud-native applications for Kubernetes. In terms of job roles, those employed in the Cloud Native field often earn more after obtaining CKAD.

Kubernetes Certification Path
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Is it right for you?

Concepts and architectures of applications, runtimes, and programming skills are essential. The exam doesn't involve development tasks but tests individuals' ability to deploy a microservices-based application.

Developers should consider CKAD, while DevOps and operations people may benefit more from the CKA. This program validates essential skills for building, deploying, and configuring cloud-native applications with Kubernetes. It is suitable for beginners, developers, deployment specialists, and DevOps Engineers.

CKA — Certified Kubernetes Administrator

The CKA program is designed for DevOps Engineers, Site Reliability Engineers, operations teams, and system/network administrators, focusing more on Kubernetes features and functionality than container runtimes.

CKA allows professionals to establish their credibility in the competitive job market. This program is also a prerequisite for the CKS exam, proving extremely beneficial for those pursuing a security-focused role.

Kubernetes Certification
Badge Source - CNCF | kanger.dev

Is it right for you?

CKA examines practitioner's functional knowledge of administrator responsibilities and the applicability of all aspects of Kubernetes, including application lifecycle management, cluster maintenance, security, storage, networking, and debugging.

This certification program is most beneficial for DevOps Engineers, SREs, and System Admins. It's recommended to have knowledge of Linux administration shell, shell scripting, containers, and DevOps methodologies.

CKS — Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist

The CKS, designed for operations and system administrators, focuses on Kubernetes and supporting security applications. It is considered the most challenging exam and popular certification offered by The Linux Foundation, as security talents are increasingly valued.

There is a high demand for Kubernetes Security skills and cloud-native capabilities. A CKS is a proficient Kubernetes practitioner who has demonstrated extensive knowledge and expertise in securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms.

Kubernetes Certification
Badge Source - CNCF | kanger.dev

Is it right for you?

Security professionals will benefit significantly from the CKA training program as it provides valuable insights into the daily challenges of operation teams. It teaches best practices for securing containerized applications and Kubernetes platforms during build and deployment, including monitoring, logging, and runtime security.

CKS is an advanced-level Kubernetes certification that requires an active CKA (Certified Kubernetes Administrator) certification for the exam. It is suitable for anyone with basic Kubernetes knowledge and a keen interest in pursuing a security-focused role.


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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Frequently Asked Questions

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 their level of Kubernetes expertise and assists organizations in identifying skilled practitioners to implement cloud-native initiatives. When considering your Cloud Native career, think of Kubernetes certification as a stepping stone. It will be instrumental in consolidating your efforts to reach the next level and will undoubtedly be of great use for 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 Training 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.

Reference/ Credits
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