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Abraham Dahunsi Web Developer 🌐 | Technical Writer ✍️| DevOps Enthusiast👨‍💻 | Python🐍 |

CKA vs CKAD vs CKS – What is the Difference

3 min read

Containers are essential for building and running modern, high-performance applications. As a software engineer, you need to know how to use containers to develop, deploy, operate, secure, and scale your applications.


A certification can be a useful way to demonstrate your container skills, whether you are a beginner who wants to learn a new technology or a professional who wants to switch careers.


With a container certification, you can also access the opportunities of working with cloud platforms, as all the major cloud providers have their own solutions for containers and container orchestration.


The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) offers three certifications for professionals: CKA, CKAD, and CKS. These certifications are designed to validate your proficiency in different aspects of Kubernetes, from administration to development to security.


In this article, we will compare and contrast the three certifications: CKA, CKAD, and CKS. We will explain what each certification covers, what the prerequisites and exam format are, who should take them, and what the benefits of becoming certified are.


CKA: Certified Kubernetes Administrator



The CKA certification is intended for Kubernetes administrators who want to demonstrate their ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot Kubernetes clusters. The CKA exam is a practical, hands-on exam that requires you to perform various tasks on a live Kubernetes cluster. The exam lasts for two hours and consists of 15-20 questions, each worth a different percentage of the total score. You need to score at least 74% to pass the exam.


Some tips and resources for preparing for the CKA exam are:



CKAD: Certified Kubernetes Application Developer



The CKAD certification is intended for Kubernetes developers who want to demonstrate their ability to design, build, configure, and expose cloud-native applications for Kubernetes. The CKAD exam is a practical, hands-on exam that requires you to perform various tasks on a live Kubernetes cluster. The exam lasts for two hours and consists of 15-20 questions, each worth a different percentage of the total score. You need to score at least 66% to pass the exam.


Some tips and resources for preparing for the CKAD exam are:



CKS: Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist



The CKS certification is intended for Kubernetes security specialists who want to demonstrate their ability to secure Kubernetes clusters and applications. The CKS exam is a practical, hands-on exam that requires you to perform various tasks on a live Kubernetes cluster. The exam lasts for two hours and consists of 15-20 questions, each worth a different percentage of the total score. You need to score at least 67% to pass the exam.


Some tips and resources for preparing for the CKS exam are:



The Differences between CKA, CKS, and CKAD Certifications


Certification CKA (Certified Kubernetes Administrator) CKAD (Certified Kubernetes Application Developer) CKS (Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist)
Who is it for? System Administrators, DevOps Engineers, Kubernetes Operators Application Developers, Software Engineers, Kubernetes Developers Security professionals, System Administrators with a focus on Kubernetes Security
What does it test? Cluster architecture, installation, configuration, and management. Application deployment, observability, Application Configuration and security Kubernetes security best practices, securing Kubernetes components, securing containerized applications.
How is it conducted? Performance-based exam using command-line tools. Performance-based exam using command-line tools. Performance-based exam using command-line tools.
How many questions? Approximately 17-18 Approximately 19-20 Approximately 15-20
How long is it? 2 Hours 2 Hours 2 Hours
What is the passing score? 66% or above 66% or above 67% or above
How long is it valid? 3 Years 3 Years 2 Years
How much does it cost? (as of July 2023) $395 USD $395 USD $395 USD
What are the prerequisites? No formal prerequisites, but Kubernetes experience is recommended. No formal prerequisites, but Kubernetes experience is recommended. CKA certification is a prerequisite. Strong knowledge of Kubernetes is required.
What are the domains and competencies? – Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration- 25%
– Storage – 10%
– Troubleshooting – 30%
– Services & Networking – 20%
– Workloads & Scheduling – 15%
– Application Design and Build – 20%
– Application Deployment – 20%
– Application Observability and Maintenance – 15%
– Application Environment, Configuration and Security – 25%
– Services and Networking – 20%
– Cluster Setup – 10%
– Cluster Hardening – 15%
– System Hardening – 15%
– Minimize Microservice Vulnerabilities- 20%
– Supply Chain Security – 20%
– Monitoring, Logging and Runtime Security – 20%

The CKA, CKS, and CKAD exams are suitable for anyone who wants to validate their Kubernetes administration skills and gain recognition in the industry. You will be able to:


  • Prove your expertise and credibility in Kubernetes
  • Enhance your career opportunities and salary potential
  • Join the CKA, CKS, CKAD certified professionals directory
  • Access exclusive benefits and discounts from CNCF and its partners
  • Display your badges on your resume and social media profiles

Conclusion


In this article, we have compared and contrasted the three Kubernetes certifications offered by CNCF: CKA, CKAD, and CKS. We have seen that each certification has a different focus, scope, and target audience, depending on the role and responsibilities of the Kubernetes professional.

Kubernetes certifications are valuable and relevant in the current and future job market, as they demonstrate your skills and knowledge on one of the most popular and widely used platforms for cloud-native applications. Kubernetes certifications can help you stand out from the crowd, boost your career prospects, and increase your earning potential.

To choose the best certification for your goals and career path, you should consider the following factors:

  • Your current level of experience and expertise in Kubernetes
  • Your desired role and responsibilities in Kubernetes projects
  • Your preferred learning style and pace
  • Your budget and availability for exam preparation and registration

No matter which certification you choose, you will need to dedicate time and effort to studying and practicing for the exam. The exams are challenging and require you to perform real-world tasks on a live Kubernetes cluster. You will need to master the concepts, commands, and best practices of Kubernetes, as well as the exam environment and format.

We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between the three Kubernetes certifications and how to choose the best one for you. We encourage you to take action and start your certification journey today. You can register for the exams on the CNCF website.

Further Reading

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Abraham Dahunsi Web Developer 🌐 | Technical Writer ✍️| DevOps Enthusiast👨‍💻 | Python🐍 |

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