So which Kubernetes Certification path should you aim for?

Last Updated 2 weeks ago

Kubernetes is an exciting technology and with its astronomical growth, the space for Kubernetes Certification is growing as well.

It is worth becoming a skilled practitioner to open doors to a new cloud career path.

Kubernetes has become the standard for running containerized applications in the cloud and almost every major cloud provider is offering managed Kubernetes services.

Kubernetes Certification

Our aim in this direct-to-the-point article is to deep dive into understanding the Kubernetes certification paths.

And we’ll partly do that by observing a few training programs offered by The Linux Foundation ( parent company of CNCF ), and Udacity.

In order that your requirements to pursue the right Kubernetes certification is well determined.

First things first…

While Kubernetes is proven to do a lot of useful things, it’ll never replace the best practices or build applications on its own for you.

It shouldn’t care about your preferences over the caching mechanisms, logging solutions or config language as it’s not a middleware.

Kubernetes simply allows you to build applications the way you want, and expose or collect information however intended.

And, this is why Kubernetes certification path gives you an idea of where you are headed if you are interested in getting certified.

So without further ado, let’s get started…

Kubernetes Certification Training Path: 4 Career-building Programs

There are three levels of Kubernetes certification contained in two paths: a developer path ( CKAD ) and an administrator path ( CKA and CKS ).

Kubernetes Certification Path 1

If you want to build and manage applications for Kubernetes then the developer path is right for you.

On the other hand, If you want to develop and manage for the developers in the Kubernetes environment or intend to pursue an operations or security role, then look into the administration path.

However, If you are an absolute beginner, not sure which career path is right for you, consider KCNAKubernetes and Cloud-Native Associate Program offered by The Linux Foundation.

It is good for those who need an introduction and wise guidance about what to expect in the future.

Furthermore, let’s examine some highest-quality career tracks on the web that needs careful consideration and evaluation.

So, that you can use your Kubernetes Certification as a way to pad and validate your expertise.

1. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)

The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) training program offered and developed by The Linux Foundation and Cloud Native Computing Foundation ( CNCF ) aims to help learners become successful Application developers according to the industry norms.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer CKAD Badge

This program comprises 5 modules to help practitioners become proficient in designing, building, and deploying cloud-native applications for Kubernetes.

What you will learn in CKAD training program?

In the first module, you will learn to define, build and modify container images, then understand Jobs and CronJobs.

You will learn to make use of multi-container Pod design patterns and also how to utilize persistent and ephemeral volume.

In the second module, you will focus thoroughly on the Application deployment by using Kubernetes primitives to implement common deployments and perform rolling updates.

And gain familiarity with Helm – The Kubernetes Package Manager to manage your applications and also to deploy any existing packages.

In the third module, you will focus on working with API’s, conducting diagnostics and performing health checks by making the use of important tools to monitor Kubernetes applications.

You will also learn to access and utilise container logs useful for debugging in Kubernetes.

The fourth module could be complex but with the help of training material and hands-on exercises you’ll discover and use resources that extend Kubernetes ( CRD ) and understand authentication, authorisation and admission control.

You’ll also learn about defining resource requirements, limits and quotas.

Moreover, you learn how to Create & consume Secrets and work with ServiceAccounts and SecurityContexts.

In the final module, you will gain basic familiarity with NetworkPolicies and learn to provide access and troubleshoot applications via services.

And also learn to expose applications by using Ingress rules.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) 1
Source: The Linux Foundation
Is CKAD right for you?

By pursuing CKAD from The Linux Foundation, you are likely to get through the initial HR screening for an interview because it is valuable.

This Kubernetes Certification exam is online proctored, command-line based and entirely hands-on.

Moreover, You can use CKAD as the groundwork for earning the CKA.


2. Certified Kubernetes Administrator ( CKA)

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) training program is developed and offered by The Linux Foundation and Cloud Native Computing Foundation ( CNCF ) for intermediates to inherit skills, core knowledge, and competency to perform administrative responsibilities.

Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA

This certification program comprises 5 modules equipping practitioners for Administrative roles and an online proctored performance-based exam aligned with the most recent K8s minor version.

What you will learn in CKA training program?

In the first module, you will dive deep into understanding the basics for storage and learn every important concept including but not limited to the storage classes, persistent volumes, volume mode, access modes and reclaim policies for volumes.

You will also learn to understand the persistent volume claims primitive in order to become skilled in configuring applications with persistent storage.

In the second module, you will learn to troubleshoot by diagnosing the problems.

You will learn how to evaluate cluster and node logging, learn to monitor applications and Manage container stdout & stderr logs.

And also learn to solve problems related to application failure, cluster component failure and networking problems.

The Third module will guide you through the process of understanding workloads and scheduling in order to execute deployments and perform rolling updates and rollbacks.

You’ll learn about the importance and use of ConfigMaps and Secrets to configure applications.

This module will also help you to learn how to scale applications, understand the primitives used to create robust, self-healing, application deployments.

Moreover, you will comprehend with practice how resource limits can affect Pod scheduling and become aware of manifest management and common templating tools.

The Fourth module is good for the knowledge and best practices to understand Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration.

This module is critical to Managing role-based access control (RBAC), using Kubeadm to install a basic cluster and managing the Kubernetes cluster.

You will learn to make provisions underlying infrastructure to deploy a Kubernetes cluster, Perform a version upgrade on a Kubernetes cluster using Kubeadm and implement etcd backup and restore.

The final module is all about Services & Networking where you begin to learn about the host networking configuration on the cluster nodes and understand the connectivity between Pods

You will understand key concepts related to ClusterIP, NodePort, LoadBalancer service types and endpoint and become equipped to use Ingress controllers and Ingress resources.

Moreover, you’ll learn to configure and use CoreDNS and also mature in your understanding of how to Choose an appropriate container network interface plugin.

Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA
Source: The Linux Foundation
Is CKA right for you?

This program is suitable for experienced learners who have a basic understanding of the Kubernetes Environment, plus well aware of cloud administration roles.

This Certified Kubernetes Administrator training program prepares learners for an online proctored exam by The Linux Foundation and CNCF.

Upon successful completion of the CKA training program and exam, you’ll have strengthened your portfolio with employable skills not only relevant but required also by every company leveraging Kubernetes and microservices resources.


3. Cloud Native Application Architecture —Nanodegree

This high-quality Nanodegree program is offered by Udacity in collaboration with Suse to help learners become skilled to identify the best application architecture solutions.

kubernetes certification

This intensive training program goes beyond the Kubernetes Application development and Administration path, covering more about the micro-services like docker and docker hub including open source tools ArgoCD, gRPC, and Grafana to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a successful Cloud-Native Architect, CKA or CKS.

Through the guided series of lectures in 5 modules including the Capstone Project, you’ll build a strong foundation to run and manage scalable applications in a cloud-native environment like Kubernetes and Docker

What you will learn in this Nanodegree program?

In the first module, you will start with the fundamentals by learning how to structure, package, and release an application to a Kubernetes cluster and also apply your knowledge to package, store and distribute the code as a Docker image.

This module will require religious commitment to train and to apply your knowledge using Helm to template the Kubernetes manifests, and automate the TechTrends project release using GitHub Actions and ArgoCD.

The Second module will help you to learn how to refactor micro-service capabilities from a monolithic architecture and employ different forms of message passing in micro-services.

And you will learn to will create a migration strategy to refactor a service from a monolith to its own micro-service and implement the migration.

Next, you will learn about best practices for message passing in service architecture and conclude on design decisions and the implementations of different forms of message passing in development and production systems.

The third module will teach you observability in distributed systems, inside out.

You learn about the monitoring and response to the health and performance of both your Kubernetes clusters and the applications hosted on them.

Through the series of guided lectures and hands-on exercises, you’ll learn how to collect system performance data using Prometheus, perform application tracing data using Jaeger, and acquire skills to Visualize the results in a dashboard using Grafana.

In Fourth Module, you’ll get acquainted with Microservices Security to understand and learn how to harden a Docker and Kubernetes micro-services architecture using industry-standard best practices.

You will start with STRIDE to threat model and reason about micro-service security and explore the Docker and Kubernetes attack surface and be introduced to industry open-source tools such as Docker-bench and Kube-bench to evaluate and harden Docker and Kubernetes weaknesses.

This module will equip learners with all the required foundational knowledge for the CKS path.

You will learn about the software composition analysis with Trivy and Grype to evaluate image layers and common application security vulnerabilities and provide remediation.

And finally, conclude this module by understanding deploy runtime security monitoring to introspect running micro-services for security signals and learn as well how to respond to security threats.

The final module is a Capstone project to help you examine your skills and test your knowledge by evaluating the costs of products in different currencies and following the recommendations of browsing products with variate discount rates based on ads using Uca’cityShop, an online shop for customers to browse the available products and read more details about the available item.

You will extend the project by deploying an application to Kubernetes and observing, analyzing and implementing changes that would optimize the existing components.

Throughout this project, you’ll use GitHub Actions and ArgoCD to package, build and deploy the application to a Kubernetes cluster.

And you’ll learn to use Grafana for observability stack to monitor the resource consumption for each microservice and optimize the Ad service using Python and gRPC.

Upon successful completion of this project, you’ll have successfully refactored the Uda’CityShop application, which has an automated CI/CD pipeline, enabled observability and a refactored gRPC service.

Cloud Native Application Architecture
Is this Nanodegree right for you?

This Nanodegree program is excellent for Cloud-Native Architects including Administrators and Security specialists who want to pursue the Kubernetes Administration path.

It is suitable for intermediate learners who have good knowledge about cloud computing, an understanding of the microservices, and experience in working with HTTP, Python, Git, Linux, and Docker.

This program is good to acquire foundational knowledge to gain a foothold in CKS.

In simple words, by pursuing this program you will gain a strong foothold for CKA and a toehold in CKS.


4. Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS)

The Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) program offered by The Linux Foundation provides extensive training to help learners build the skills, knowledge, and competence on a broad range of security practices for securing the Kubernetes environment.

kubernetes certification cks

This certification training comprises 6 modules that help learners attain functional knowledge to secure container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during building, deployment and runtime, to become highly qualified to perform these tasks in a professional setting.go w

What you will learn in CKS training program?

In the first module, you will begin with the simple process of Cluster Setup to Use Network security policies to restrict cluster level access, understand CIS benchmark for security configuration of Kubernetes components (etcd, kubelet, kubedns, kubeapi).

You will understand how to properly set up Ingress objects with security control and Protect node metadata and endpoints.

Next, you’ll learn to Minimize the use of, and access to, GUI elements and Verify platform binaries before deploying.

In Second Module, you’ll focus on Cluster Hardening by learning to Restrict access to Kubernetes API and create Role-Based Access Controls to minimize exposure

You’ll learn the best practices to exercise caution in using service accounts e.g. disable defaults, and minimize permissions on newly created ones.

In Third Module, you’ll plough through the System Hardening to Minimize the host OS footprint (reduce attack surface) including IAM roles and external access to the network.

You’ll also learn to appropriately use kernel hardening tools such as AppArmor, seccomp.

The fourth module is very important to learn the key practices in Minimizing Microservice Vulnerabilities to configure appropriate OS-level security domains e.g. using PSP, OPA, security contexts.

You’ll understand how to Manage Kubernetes secrets, make use of container runtime sandboxes in multi-tenant environments (e.g. gvisor, kata containers) and Implement pod to pod encryption by use of mTLS.

In the fifth module, you’ll gain familiarity with the Supply Chain Security to understand the process of minimising base image footprint and securing your supply chain: whitelist allowed registries, sign and validate images

You’ll understand how to use static analysis of user workloads (e.g.Kubernetes resources, Docker files) and learn to Scan images for known vulnerabilities.

In the sixth module, Monitoring, Logging and Runtime Security, you’ll learn to perform behavioural analytics of syscall process and file activities at the host and container level to detect malicious activities

You will learn how to detect threats within a physical infrastructure, apps, networks, data, users and workloads and also how to detect all phases of attack regardless of where it occurs and how it spreads.

Next, you’ll learn to perform deep analytical investigation and identification of bad actors within the environment.

Moreover, you’ll learn to ensure the immutability of containers at runtime and make use of Audit Logs to monitor access.

Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist CKS
Source: The Linux Foundation
Is CKS right for you?

This Certification program is suitable for practitioners who have good knowledge of the Kubernetes architecture and know-how to perform administrative tasks.

There are a tremendous amount of opportunities for Kubernetes Security specialists in the tech industry and this certification program is a key step in that process.

You must have good knowledge of programming, experience in cloud computing, and a strong understanding of Kubernetes Architecture for pursuing this training program.

Upon successful completion, you’ll have sound security skills and understanding to protect the Kubernetes environment.



The Kubernetes Certification programs listed in this article are simply best and there’s no need to look further.

These programs will not only help you to acquire the knowledge required for your certification exam but also help you to master the skills through experimentation and hands-on practice.

If you are looking for a specific Kubernetes course, we have stacked all the good Kubernetes courses by Notable educators.

Thanks for making it to the end : )

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