The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) program is an industry certification that allows you to quickly establish your skills and credibility in today's job market. Kubernetes is exploding in popularity, and with the majority of new development happening in microservices-based technologies, it's important for existing network and security teams to learn in order to stay relevant. We recently chatted about this on DevCentral live show:
What is CKA?
The CKA is designed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which is a part of the non-profit Linux Foundation. As a result, the learning required for this certification is not skewed to any 3rd party cloud, hardware, or software platform. This vendor-agnostic approach means you can easily access the technology you need to learn, build your own cluster, and pass the exam.
This agnostic approach also means the exam, which you can take from home, does not require special knowledge that you normally get from working in a corporate environment. Personally I don't manage a production k8s environment, and I passed the exam - no vendor-specific knowledge required.
Why should I care about CKA?
Are you feeling "left behind" or "legacy" as the industry converts to Kubernetes?
Are new terms and concepts used by developers creating silos or gaps between traditional Networks or Security teams, and developers?
Are you looking to integrate your corporate security into Kubernetes environments?
Do you want to stay relevant in the job market?
If you answered yes to any of the above, the CKA is a great way to catch up and thrive in Kubernetes conversations at your workplace.
Sure, but how is this relevant to an F5 guy or gal?
Personally I'm often helping devs expose their k8s apps with a firewall policy or SSL termination. NGINX Kubernetes Ingress Controller (KIC) is extremely popular for developers to manage ingress within their Kubernetes cluster. F5 Container Ingress Services (CIS) is a popular solution for enterprises integrating k8s or OpenShift with their existing security measures. Both of these are areas where your networking and security skills are needed by your developers!
As a network guy, the CKA rounded out my knowledge of Kubernetes - from networking to storage to security and troubleshooting. The figure below is a common solution that I talk customers through when they want to use KIC for managing traffic inside their cluster, but CIS to have inbound traffic traverse an enterprise firewall and integrate with Kubernetes.
How do I study for the CKA?
Personally I took a course at ACloudGuru, which was all the preparation I needed. Others I know took a course from Udemy and spoke highly of it, and others just read all they could from free community sources. Recently the exam fee (currently $375 USD) changed to include 2x practice exams from Killer.sh. This wasn't available when I signed up for the exam, but my colleagues spoke extremely highly of the preparation they received from these practice exams.
I recommend finding a low-cost course to study if you can, and strongly recommend you build your own cluster from the ground up as preparation for your exam. Building your own cluster (deploying Linux hosts, installing a runtime like Docker, and then installing k8s control plane servers and nodes) is a fantastic way to appreciate the architecture and purpose of Kubernetes.
Finally, take the exam (register here). I recommend paying for and scheduling your exam before you start studying - that way you'll have a deadline to motivate you!
I'm a CKA, now what?
Share your achievement on LinkedIn! Share your knowledge with colleagues. You'll be in high demand from employers but more importantly, you'll be valuable in your workplace when you can help developers with things like network and security and integrations with your existing platforms. And then shoot me a note to let me know you've done it!