Top Cloud-Native Certifications and Learning Resources
Published on

Top Cloud-Native Certifications and Learning Resources

Author

Top Cloud-Native Certifications and Learning Resources

This post provides a quick overview of the most popular cloud-native certifications. There are different reasons why one decides to get certified. I've heard from people that use certification as a forcing function to learn about different technologies - check out the interview I did with Vijay Nadkarni on how he prepared for one of the certifications.

Others use it to either advance their careers, command a higher salary or even switch careers. Regardless of your motivation, it's essential to understand the investment (both financial and time) required to get a certification.

In addition to the financial costs, it's crucial to take into account your own experience and knowledge. Don't blindly jump into any of these exams and expect to pass them on the first try, especially if it's an expert exam and you've only started learning about the technology. There's a purpose to different categories of certification - if you're a beginner, start with the certification that matches your experience and knowledge. However, even if you don't succeed on the first try, most offers include a free exam retake.

If you've decided to get certified, make sure you take the time and study the curriculum of the exam you want to tackle. Create your learning plan or follow an existing one if provided. Most certifications are performance-based (especially the Kubernetes ones), meaning you have hands-on knowledge of the technology. This brings me to another important point: practice is crucial! Don't expect to pass an exam after only reading a tutorial or watching a video - it will take more than that.

Some of the certifications also offer a free preview exam - this allows you to familiarize yourself with the exam environment and get a feel for what type of questions you can expect. Take the opportunity and take the free preview exam. I suggest you take the preview or practice exam once you understand the topics.

Good luck if you decide to take one or more of these certifications!

Docker Certified Associate (DCA)

Docker skills are highly sought and almost a basis for any other certification you might pursue. The DCA is designed to validate that skill set with real-world questions designed by experienced Docker practitioners. As the first exam in a comprehensive multi-tiered professional certification program, the DCA is a foundational benchmark for real-world Docker skills across the container industry.

Who is it for?

DCA is meant for individuals with at least six months to one year of experience with Docker.

What do you need to demonstrate?

The skills and knowledge certified by this examination represent a level of expertise where a certified Docker Associate can:

  • Run containerized applications from pre-existing images stored in a centralized registry
  • Deploy images across the cluster
  • Triage and resolve issue reports from stakeholders and resolve
  • Standup up on Enterprise clusters with one UCP manager, one DTR replica, and one worker node
  • Migrate traditional applications to containers
  • Configure and troubleshoot Docker engine
  • Perform general maintenance and configuration

Exam type and price

Learning resources

Red Hat Certified Specialist in Containers and Kubernetes

A Red Hat Certified Specialist in Containers and Kubernetes has demonstrated a basic understanding of Kubernetes, containers, and OpenShift and can use this knowledge to run, find, and manage containerized services, deploy single- and multiple-container applications, and create custom containers.

Who is it for?

The Red Hat Certified Specialist in Containers and Kubernetes is meant for:

  1. Developers who wish to containerize their applications and deploy them to a Kubernetes cluster.
  2. Administrators who are new to container technology and container orchestration.
  3. Architects who are considering using container technologies in software architectures.
  4. Site reliability engineers (SRE) who are considering using Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift.

What do you need to demonstrate?

A Red Hat Certified Specialist in Containers and Kubernetes has to demonstrate the following:

  • Understanding container and OpenShift architecture.
  • Creating containerized services.
  • Managing containers and container images via basic diagnostic procedures.
  • Creating custom container images.
  • Deploying containerized applications on Red Hat OpenShift.
  • Deploying multi-container applications on Red Hat OpenShift.

Exam type and price

  • Type: Online, proctored
  • Price: $400

Learning resources

Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Associate (KCNA)

The Kubernetes and Cloud Native Associate (KCNA) exam demonstrates a user's foundational knowledge and skills in Kubernetes and the broader cloud native ecosystem.

Who is it for?

The KCNA is a pre-professional certification designed for candidates interested in advancing to the professional level through a demonstrated understanding of Kubernetes foundational knowledge and skills. This certification is ideal for anyone interested in working with cloud-native technologies.

What do you need to demonstrate?

As a certified KCNA, you'll be able to demonstrate basic knowledge of Kubernetes and cloud-native technologies, including the following:

  • How to deploy applications on Kubernetes using Kubernetes CLI
  • Understand and explain the architecture of Kubernetes
  • Understand the cloud-native landscape and projects (storage, networking, GitOps, service mesh)
  • Understand the principles of cloud-native security

Exam type and price

Learning resources

Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) program assures that CKAs have the skills, knowledge, and competency to perform the responsibilities of Kubernetes administrators.

Who is it for?

CKA is for Kubernetes administrators, cloud administrators, and other IT professionals who manage Kubernetes instances.

What do you need to demonstrate?

A CKA knows how to do the basic installation and configure and manage production-grade Kubernetes clusters.

CKA's will have an understanding of critical concepts such as:

  • networking
  • storage
  • security
  • maintenance
  • logging and monitoring
  • application lifecycle
  • troubleshooting
  • API object primitives

Additionally, as a CKA, you must have the ability to establish basic use-cases for end users.

Exam type and price

  • Type: Online, proctored, performance-based exam
  • Price: $375

Exam curriculum

Learning resources

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)

The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) exam certifies that candidates can design, build and deploy cloud-native applications for Kubernetes.

Who is it for?

CKAD is for Kubernetes engineers, cloud engineers, and other IT professionals responsible for building, deploying, and configuring cloud-native applications with Kubernetes.

What do you need to demonstrate?

The CKAD can design, build and deploy cloud-native applications for Kubernetes. A CKAD can define application resources and use Kubernetes core primitives to create/migrate, configure, expose and observe scalable applications.

The exam assumes a working knowledge of container runtimes and microservice architecture. The successful candidate will be comfortable:

– working with (OCI-compliant) container images – applying Cloud Native application concepts and architectures – working with and validating Kubernetes resource definitions

Exam type and price

Learning resources

Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS)

The Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) program assures that a CKS has the skills, knowledge, and competence in a broad range of best practices for securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during the build, deployment, and runtime. CKA certification is required to sit for this exam.

Who is it for?

CKS is an accomplished Kubernetes practitioner (must be CKA certified) who has demonstrated competence in a broad range of best practices for securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during build, deployment, and runtime.

What do you need to demonstrate?

Obtaining a CKS demonstrates that a candidate possesses the requisite abilities to secure container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during build, deployment, and runtime and is qualified to perform these tasks professionally.

Exam type and price

Learning resources

Prometheus Certified Associate (PCA) (in BETA)

The Prometheus Certified Associate (PCA) exam demonstrates an engineer's foundational knowledge of observability and skills using Prometheus, the open source systems monitoring and alerting toolkit.

Who is it for?

The PCA is a pre-professional certification designed for an engineer or application developer with special interests in observability and monitoring.

Ideal candidates may have achieved Kubernetes certifications such as KCNA, CKA, or CKAD or have completed Prometheus-specific training or Cloud Engineer boot camps.

What do you need to demonstrate?

The PCA demonstrates a candidate's understanding of best practices for monitoring cloud-native applications and infrastructure using Prometheus. A PCA digital credential ensures the candidate understands how to use observability data to improve application performance, troubleshoot system implementations, and feed that data into other systems.

Exam type and price

Certified Istio Administrator by Tetrate (CIAT)

The Certified Istio Administrator program aims to validate that the candidates have the skills, knowledge, and ability to work on Istio. CIAT is an online, proctored exam consisting of a set of problems solved in a command line.

Who is it for?

CIAT is for Istio service mesh administrators, operators, and other IT professionals responsible for configuring traffic routing, security, and other service mesh features for cloud-native workloads running in and outside of Kubernetes.

What do you need to demonstrate?

Certified Istio Administrators can install and configure Istio service mesh resources for workloads running in and outside of Kubernetes clusters. A CIAT can define and configure Istio resources that control traffic routing and service destinations, inject failures, use resiliency features and secure workloads, and bring external and non-Kubernetes workloads into an existing service mesh.

Exam type and price

Learning resources

Vendor-specific cloud-native certifications

Each cloud vendor also offers their own set of certifications. In addition to certifications, the learning paths offered by some of the cloud vendors are really good resources for learning, even though they might be specific to certain cloud.

Amazon

The AWS certifications feature various cloud-native certifications that validate a candidate's skills, knowledge, and ability to work on the AWS cloud.

The AWS certifications are divided into four categories, each with one or more certifications. The categories are listed in order of increasing difficulty.

The last category is the Specialty category, where specific domains, such as machine learning, database, advanced networking, and so on, are tested.

The prices range from $100 for foundational exams to $300 for professional and specialty exams. The exams are made up of multiple choice/multiple response questions and are timed.

AWS certifications

Google

Google offers a Google Cloud Platform Certification program that validates a candidate's skills, knowledge, and ability to work on the Google Cloud Platform. The program is divided into three categories, each with one or more certifications. The categories are listed in order of increasing difficulty.

The prices for exams range from $99 (Cloud Digital Leader) to $200 (professional certifications). All exams are online and proctored.

Google also offers learning plans for the certifications. Here's an example of a cloud developer learning path.

Cloud developer learning path

Microsoft

Microsoft offers certification paths for many technical job roles.

The certifications are divided into three categories, where each category has one or more certifications:

The majority of certifications have free and paid training options. Additionally, some certificates have prerequisites for other certifications. For example, to get a Cybersecurity Architect Expert certification, one must complete one of the four prerequisites AND the Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect certification.

The prices range from $99 to $165.

Microsoft certifications

Peter Jausovec
Peter Jausovec
Peter Jausovec is a software and content engineer at Tetrate.io. He has more than a decade of experience in the field of software development and tech, in various roles such as QA (test), software engineering and leading tech teams. He's been working in the cloud-native space for the past couple of years, and delivering talks and workshops around the world. He authored and co-authored a couple of books, latest being Cloud Native: Using Containers, Functions, and Data to Build Next-Generation Applications.

Learn Cloud Native Newsletter

Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.

No spam ever.

Related posts