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Is a Docker or Kubernetes certification worth it?

Some DevOps professionals shun industry certifications. But in the cloud-native world, Docker and Kubernetes certifications make prospective job candidates stand out from the rest.

If you want to become a DevOps professional and be responsible for Docker and Kubernetes deployments, you may need Docker and Kubernetes certifications to demonstrate your aptitude in modern development and deployment technologies.

While employers always value experience over certifications, these container technologies are still relatively new. Kubernetes was initially released in 2014 and didn't become mainstream until about 2017. Since so few IT professionals have many years of direct experience with containers, certification could help an applicant stand out.

And while some DevOps professionals dismiss certifications that are composed of multiple-choice exams and a few, highly contrived problems that require only a modicum of practical, hands-on application of the technology, that perspective is unfounded. Taking a test in order to demonstrate professional competence is nothing new. At one time, taking a test was the only way to be a "certified" professional.

The value of certification

Self-study via certification prep is an efficient and effective way to develop your skills, but be careful. There are a lot of third-party companies out there that are selling certifications and certification-preparation programs of questionable value. If you decide to pursue certification, go with a certification that comes from a company or organization with accreditation and credibility in the industry.

The three courses available through the Linux Foundation are a good start:

  • Certified Kubernetes Administrator
  • Certified Kubernetes Developer
  • Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist

DevOps professionals need only decide whether they want to be on the administration, development or security side of the Kubernetes cluster and focus on the associated Kubernetes and Docker exam. Of course, a job candidate that has all three certifications on their resume will be most desirable.

IT industry certifications are worth the pursuit. And given the short history of the integration of cloud-native technologies into modern, continuous integration pipelines, the possession of a Docker or Kubernetes certification is especially attractive to prospective employers.

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