What are some good certifications to have and what’s the best way to train for them? This page is an attempt at answering those questions.
Certifications in green are recommended.
You may be wondering why there are all sorts of different courses in the table. Kubernetes builds on top of Linux and containers and it’s usually run in the cloud. You’ll need to have a good level of knowledge in each category.
Hiring managers mostly want to see demonstrated experience and problem solving skills rather than text book knowledge.
You need to weigh up the time you spend on learning and certification vs the time you could be spending building an online social media profile. Technical blogging, personal projects on Github and speaking at events should not be underestimated when it comes to career progression. Be selective with your time and find a balance between experience, certifications and marketing yourself.
At this point I’d also like to state that getting a job and experience comes first before anything else. Take any position that gets you on the technology career ladder and study in your spare time. Certs won’t guarantee you a job or higher income. They will definitely improve your knowledge based on the effort you put in and the piece of paper at the end is a nice side effect. Work on improving yourself every day and the money and job offers will eventually arrive.
As you can see from above I highlighted the CKA, AWS Solutions Architect Associate and CCNA as certifications you should definitely aim for.
The CKA is a 3 hour exam that’s 100% lab based. It’s an online supervised exam and mimics real world troubleshooting scenarios. Due to the hands-on nature of this certification it is well respected.
AWS certs are popular but choosing the correct one is important. Completing the Solutions Architect associate level course is enough to demonstrate capability. The Pro level certs are significantly harder and should only be considered if you wish to focus on AWS specific roles in the future.
Anyone who has studied and passed a Cisco CCNA certification knows more than enough about networking to configure Kubernetes CNI’s on any cloud provider. The exam is made up of a mix of questions and simulations. I would not go beyond the CCNA with any other Cisco certifications as somebody working in an SRE role.
The RHCSA is an extremely good certification to have. However, I believe most companies will simply be looking for X years of Linux experience on any distribution. Therefore, I think the time and effort you would spend obtaining this cert could be better spent on other things.
Similarly, companies will generally ask you if you’ve used Docker or Ansible. It takes a few days of playing with these tools to become proficient so don’t waste your time on the certs.
I’m a fan of anything online, free and high quality as you’ll usually learn something even if you think you know the topic. My advice is to go through everything in the table above that’s free. I won’t add low quality courses to the table so you can be sure it’s worth going through.
Personally, I paid for a Linux Academy subscription as I wanted high quality content for the CKA exam preparation. They also provide lessons for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam.
When I do the AWS certification I’ll additionally buy a month of acloud.guru and go over their material as various people I trust have said it’s great. These courses are usually a few days of entertainment so it’s worth the small monthly cost.
If you know of any other online courses that are valuable please let me know in the comments below. I’ll continue to update this table.
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