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Kubernetes certifications

A Guide to Kubernetes Certifications

One of the significant advancements in recent times is container technology. As an IT professional, if you have worked with Docker, then you must know about the role of Kubernetes. Kubernetes certifications can help you find new opportunities for your career in application development. Since the integration of all Docker operations with Kubernetes in 2017, the latter has gained substantial popularity. 

Kubernetes is an open-source system for container orchestration, thereby helping users derive the maximum possible value from containers. It also helps in the automatic management of networks alongside the creation of logos and alerts as well as the deployment of container technology in IT operations. Kubernetes has been under the management of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which takes care of the implementation and deployment of Kubernetes. 

The CNCF is the governing authority for the two Kubernetes certifications, which help in improving your knowledge regarding Kubernetes. The dominance of Kubernetes in the world of DevOps is one of the reasons to choose to go for certifications in Kubernetes. The following discussion would reflect on the important details regarding certifications related to the Kubernetes platform. 

Kubernetes is the new standard for deploying and managing applications on the cloud. The Kubernetes components and architecture might look overwhelming especially if you are a beginner.  In this tutorial, we will see the simplified view of Kubernetes architecture and the components of Kubernetes. 

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the processes involved in the deployment and management of applications.

History of Kubernetes

Kubernetes was started by developers from Google as a way to orchestrate containers, later it was open-sourced. Google introduced an open-source version of Borg(a project started by Google) as Kubernetes in mid-2014. Kubernetes is now managed by Cloud Native Computing Foundation(CNCF). 

What are Containers?

If the Kubernetes is a container orchestration tool, then what is the container? The container is a technology to package the application code along with its dependencies. Each container that we run is repeatable and it gives you the same behavior regardless of where we run the application. 

Why to use Containers?

We can understand this better by comparing it to typical architecture. There will be a hardware infrastructure and the operating system installed on it. All the libraries and dependencies will run on the OS. Applications will share the same libraries and dependencies. That means the library versions will be the same for all the applications. For example, if we run Application A and Application B, the libraries will be compatible with Application A but not for Application B. Managing dependencies becomes more difficult in this situation. 

To resolve this issue, the Virtual Machines concept came into the picture. Virtual machines use the software called hypervisors and give the functionalities of physical computers. Some of the Hypervisors are HyperV, VMWare, and VirtualBox. Virtual machines share the hardware and host Operating systems, on top of it, install the guest OS and run the dependencies. 

The problem with Virtual Machines is the guest operating system. We need to maintain the host OS and the guest OS. Due to this reason, VMs are a bit slow to start. A significant amount of resources by VMs are utilized by guest OS so we need to over-provision the resources. To solve these issues, the containers came in. 

Benefits of Containers

We don’t have to install the guest OS for the containers. Containers utilize the same host OS and run as a separate process. Containers use the container runtime and some of the popular run times are Docker and Containers. All the applications and their dependencies will be independent of each other.

Portability: Whenever we run the containerized application, it will give the same behavior because the dependencies and applications are packages together. 

Speed: Containers can boot within a few seconds whereas the VMs may take a minute or two.

Scalability: Since the containers can start within seconds, spinning up containers is easy. We can have multiple containers scaling up and down independently.

Lightweight: Containers do not have to run any guest OS so it’s very light compared to VMs. With fewer computing resources, containers can run like an application by utilizing the host Operating system. 

Containers and Kubernetes

We have discussed the benefits of containers. Containers are good for microservices. Now the issue is how to manage multiple containers and enable communication between the containers? The container orchestration is a solution!

The concept of Kubernetes is that multiple servers (called nodes) form a cluster. Kubernetes orchestrates containers within these servers. Applications run within the containers. If we need to scale the cluster, we can simply add more servers(nodes) to the cluster. 

Kubernetes consists of master nodes (control plane) that orchestrate the containers and worker nodes where the containers will be running. 

Kubernetes Objects

Let us now understand the Kubernetes objects and commands terminologies used in Kubernetes such as clusters, nodes, pods, deployments, replica sets, replication controller, stateful sets, Persistent volume, daemon sets, services, Ingress etc

Cluster

A Kubernetes cluster is a set of nodes that runs the application. In Kubernetes, we need to think about the cluster as a whole regardless of the individual machines. Nodes together form a powerful machine as a cluster. If any nodes are added to the cluster or removed from the cluster, the cluster will shift the work as necessary. 

Nodes

A Node is the smallest hardware component in the Kubernetes architecture. A Node can either be a physical machine on-premise or a virtual machine hosted on the cloud-like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Regardless of the characteristics of individual machines, we can view each machine as a set of RAM and CPU that can be utilized. 

Pods

Pods are the smallest unit or fundamental building block of Kubernetes architecture. Kubernetes run containers in the pods. Usually, each pod will have one container but it can be more than one also. You create a POD to run an application. 

Persistent Volume

Persistent volumes are the storage resources for the Kubernetes. It can either be provisioned manually or dynamically by storage classes. Persistent volume disks can be mounted to the containers.

Deployments

Deployments are used to deploy Kubernetes pods. It’s possible to roll out and roll back deployments. The deployment method can be used for running a stateless application that connects to a backend database and does not persist data to the disk. This is the most commonly used method to deploy pods. 

Ingress

Ingress is a Kubernetes object that allows the HTTP and HTTPS traffic from outside the cluster to the services within the cluster. We can create a collection of rules to configure which traffic reaches which service in the cluster. An Ingress controller is used to achieve this.

Ingress Controller

An Ingress Controller is an application running on the cluster and configures an HTTP load balancer. The ingress controller is mandatory for the ingress resource to run. There’s no limit on how many ingress controllers are running in a cluster. 

ClusterIP Service

ClusterIP is the default type of service that is used to expose a service on an IP address internal to the cluster. Pods running inside the cluster can call other services using ServiceName: Port. 

NodePort Service

NodePort service exposes the pod to the nodes using a static port and can be seen from any of the nodes inside the cluster. The Node Port range is 30000 – 32767. If we don’t provide a port number, it will automatically pick the available port. 

LoadBalancer Service

Let’s assume that we have one master and four worker nodes, and the nodes are named master, node1, node2, node3, and node4. Considering that we have an Nginx pod running on port 80, we want to expose it to the internet. A LoadBalancer service creates a NodePort from the NodePort range and creates a LoadBalancer which will run on port 80 as frontend, master:30000, node1:30000, node2:30000, node3:30000, and node4:30000 as backend. The LoadBalancer service is the most commonly used method to expose the frontend pod to the internet.

Daemon Sets

A Daemon set is a Kubernetes object that ensures that the given pod in the set runs on all the available nodes in a cluster. When we add or remove nodes to the cluster, the daemon set adds or removes the pods in those nodes.

Stateful Sets

A Statefulset ensures that the pod and its volumes are unique. The storage that was mounted as volume to the pod gets attached to the same if it’s destroyed. 

Kubernetes with AWS and Docker

Benefits of Kubernetes Certifications

The first thing that you should note about Kubernetes certifications is its significance. Candidates should know that Kubernetes is now a very crucial technology in the IT industry. So, it is essential to understand the benefits of Kubernetes certifications before you start pursuing preparations. You should know what your hard work is worth before you invest it. Here are the notable benefits of a certification in Kubernetes.

  • The first thing that certification in Kubernetes provides for candidates is recognition. Certification is definitely a promising addition to your resume. As the popularity and adoption of container technologies increase gradually, your resume will be an instant hit with potential employers. 
  • The next important benefit of Kubernetes certification is the raise in salary. Top certifications in Kubernetes shows the capability of a candidate for addressing complex technical tasks using Kubernetes. Since the effort involved in these certification exams is quite high, companies that search for certified Kubernetes professionals are more likely to pay a hefty remuneration. 
  • One of the notable reasons to go for a certification in Kubernetes is the opportunity for personal growth. Candidates have to work hard for qualifying the Kubernetes certification exam. Therefore, qualifying the exam is a unique reward that provides satisfaction on a personal level. Most important of all, the certification preparation journey can help you achieve new skills.
  • Another crucial pointer to opt for certifications in Kubernetes is the opportunity to improve your expertise in Kubernetes. Preparing for each certification exam can help in simplifying the concepts related to Kubernetes. Even if the beginning of your Kubernetes learning journey may be a bit difficult, you will gradually find it easy. 
  • Speaking of expertise, you will develop considerable fluency in the 12-factor app principles. It is essential to note that Kubernetes architecture relies on the 12-factor app principles. Furthermore, you should also notice that 12-factor app principles also support a wider assortment of SaaS applications. 
  • Finally, readers should note that Kubernetes certification can develop new opportunities for your career. The certification can help you become a Kubernetes administrator or Kubernetes developer. In addition, it can also be a useful instrument for improving your capabilities for teaching Kubernetes to other aspiring individuals. 

Also Read: Top 10 Interesting Kubernetes Facts

Types of Kubernetes Certifications

The next piece of information regarding Kubernetes certification is that it is in the initial stages now. So, you cannot find a lot of information regarding the certifications for the Kubernetes system. Moreover, you can find that there are only two Kubernetes certifications. The two certifications that CNCF offers for Kubernetes are,

  • Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
  • Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

These certifications are the ideal instruments for a candidate to prove their skills in methodologies and work processes related to Kubernetes. Most important of all, certifications in Kubernetes can help a candidate establish their identity as an expert Kubernetes professional. 

1. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer 

With so many benefits, the career prospects for a certified Kubernetes application developer increase considerably. This certification in Kubernetes emphasizes more on managing and deploying Kubernetes clusters in real-time applications. The core abilities of these certification tests include designing, development, configuration, and exposure of cloud-native applications with Kubernetes. 

When you qualify the certification successfully, you can prove your skills for monitoring, configuring, maintaining, and troubleshooting Kubernetes applications. Most important of all, this Kubernetes certification supports the improvement of your knowledge regarding the architecture of cloud-native applications and OCI-Compliant Container Runtime.

Candidates should also note the prerequisites for the Kubernetes developer certification. The following prerequisites ensure that you can qualify the exam easily.

Enroll Now: Certified Kubernetes Application Developer Training Course

Candidates should have promising knowledge regarding Kubernetes concepts, including pod, service, Kubernetes commands, and deployment. Familiarity with Docker is also a preferred requirement for the developer certification on Kubernetes.

In addition, candidates should also have expertise in skills unrelated to Kubernetes. The important topics such as microservices architecture, vim, and timux are very crucial for your preparations for the developer certification. 

The exam details are also important for candidates to improve their preparations for Kubernetes developer certification. The Kubernetes developer exam has a duration of 2 hours and generally contains almost 19 questions. Important sections of the exam are as follows,

  • Core concepts- 13%.
  • Multi-container pods- 10%.
  • Configuration- 18%.
  • Pod design- 20%.
  • Services and networking- 13%.
  • Observability- 18%.
  • State persistence- 8%.

Candidates need a Google Chrome-supported operating system, stable internet connection, microphone, and an in-built webcam. 

2. Certified Kubernetes Administrator 

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator or CKA exam is an ideal tool for understanding the basic concepts of the Kubernetes ecosystem. Candidates could learn about the different aspects pertaining to security, application lifecycle management, validation, application installation, and others. 

Candidates should also understand the prerequisites for the administrator certification exam for Kubernetes. The prerequisites for the administrator certification exam include Kubernetes as well as non-Kubernetes skills. The Kubernetes skills required for the exam include approaches for troubleshooting and the creation of a Kubernetes cluster.

In addition, candidates should also have comprehensive awareness regarding basic Kubernetes resources. The non-Kubernetes skills for the exam include vim, journalctl, and system functions before registering for the Kubernetes Administration Certification. 

Enroll Now: Certified Kubernetes Administrator Training Course

The exam details are also a crucial requirement for ensuring the best preparation possible for this Kubernetes certification. The CKA exam contains almost 24 performance-based questions, and the total duration is 3 hours. Important topics covered in the exam are as follows,

  • Application lifecycle management- 8%.
  • Core concepts- 19%.
  • Installation, configuration and validation- 12%.
  • Scheduling- 5%.
  • Security- 12%.
  • Networking- 11%.
  • Cluster maintenance- 11%.
  • Storage- 7%.
  • Logging/monitoring- 5%.
  • Troubleshooting- 10%.

Candidates can appear for the exam in an online-proctored format. The system requirements for the CKA exam are similar to that of the Kubernetes developer certificate exam. 

Preparing to become a Certified Kubernetes Administrator? Follow this definitive guide for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam preparation and get ready to pass the exam.

Tips to Prepare for Kubernetes Certification Exams

Now, let us focus on some important pointers that you should follow for Kubernetes certification preparation. Clearing the certification exams in the first attempt has a unique feel, and you can achieve that with the following tips.

  • Get the Preparation Material

CNCF provides comprehensive and detailed materials to prepare for your desired Kubernetes certification. The candidate handbook and the curriculum overview can help you understand the format and style of the exam. In addition, you can also discover information regarding the ideal study materials you should refer to for your preparations. 

  • Continuous Practice

The performance-based questions in the Kubernetes certification exams require considerable levels of practice. It is very important to practice the use of Kubernetes concepts in practical environments in different online labs. 

  • Learn More about the Command Line

Candidates will have to ensure that their Kubernetes certification preparation relies on the command line. The best course of action, in this case, would be to practice with text editors and work on improving your accuracy. 

Also Read: Kubernetes Myths and Facts

  • Use the Notepad Carefully

The Notepad feature is a prominent requirement when you attempt questions in the certification exams. Candidates cannot take notes anywhere else other than the notepad. The Notepad is useful for editing, deleting, or modifying your possible responses repeatedly to find reliable answers. 

  • Tutorials, Online Training and Online Communities

The multiple tutorials available online alongside free training programs for basic Kubernetes concepts and Kubernetes tips and tricks can help in improving your Kubernetes expertise. As you become confident with the different concepts of Kubernetes, it is easier to master the important topics for the certification exam of your choice. 

Another promising pointer that can help you in preparing for Kubernetes certification is your participation in online communities. Kubernetes communities are excellent sources for obtaining practical and detailed knowledge regarding Kubernetes concepts.

The communities help in obtaining insights from professionals and subject matter experts all over the world. In addition, candidates could strengthen their learning with the real-time experiences of experts with Kubernetes concepts.

Preparing for a Kubernetes interview? Go through these most common Kubernetes interview questions and get ready to ace the interview.

Ready to Get Your Kubernetes Certification?

Now, you should be adequately prepared with the basic information that you need to start preparing for a Kubernetes certification. Apart from the details here, it is essential to follow many other considerations to achieve success in the certification exam. One of the notable concerns for candidates is to ensure the compatibility of their systems for the exam.

In addition, you have to follow many other concerns, such as using Kubernetes’ official documentation as references during the exam. Candidates can get their results within 36 hours of the exam’s completion on the “My Portal”. The popularity of Kubernetes will continue to increase considerably in the future, and preparation is the key to stay relevant.

Join us and start your preparation for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator and Certified Kubernetes Application Developer training courses. Enroll now and establish your expertise as a Kubernetes professional right now!

About Dharmalingam N

Dharmalingam.N holds a master degree in Business Administration and writes on a wide range of topics ranging from technology to business analysis. He has a background in Relationship Management. Some of the topics he has written about and that have been published include; project management, business analysis and customer engagement.

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