Which certifications should you complete for your next Kubernetes job in 2024?

If you're searching for a new Kubernetes role, completing certifications can significantly help you distinguish yourself.

But the question remains: Are certifications crucial for securing a Kubernetes position? And if they are, which ones are essential?

Let's dive into this by examining some data.

Kube Careers recently unveiled their State of the Kubernetes Jobs Report for Q1 2024, a comprehensive quarterly analysis exploring prevailing trends and patterns in the Kubernetes employment landscape.

This report will form the basis of our exploration.

Kube Careers meticulously sifted through and analysed a dataset comprising 332 job postings, identifying key trends and patterns.

It's important to note before delving into the report that Kube Careers exclusively features positions that:

  • Necessitate Kubernetes expertise.
  • Specify a definite salary range.
  • Are directly posted by companies rather than recruitment agencies.

Ready to begin?

Are certifications even important for Kubernetes jobs?

It's tricky.

By the numbers, certifications seem unnecessary, but it's not that simple.

Most job descriptions don't mention certifications to provide lower entry barriers for the applicants.

You will always stand out if you have completed a certification, and that, too, if it is an important one.

Which are these important certifications, then?

AWS certifications are the most important, followed by...

One crucial point to understand here is there were multiple instances wherein more than one certification was mentioned.

Among the jobs descriptions that mentioned specific certifications, 39% of these mentioned the AWS certifications.

A close second and third in popularity were GCP and Azure certifications, with 19% and 14% representation.

Finally, the trio of Kubernetes certifications were fourth in popularity with 9% representation each.

If we compare the numbers from the last four quarters, we find that:

  • AWS is the most popular certification with an average of 43% mentions in the last four quarters.
  • CKAD has slipped in popularity from the high of the second position in Q2 2023, while Azure certifications have taken the second spot on two different quarters.
  • Except the dip in Q4 2023, GCP certifications have always been in the top 3.
  • Among Kubernetes certifications
    • On average, CKA has been the most popular, which makes sense since you can only attempt the CKAD by clearing it.
    • CKAD has been the second most popular while peaking in popularity in Q2 2023.
    • CKS comes third, while KCNA comes last in terms of certification popularity.

It gets even more interesting if we average the mentions over the last four quarters.

Here is the order of certifications with respect to their average mentions (last four quarters)

  • AWS Certifications: 43%
  • Azure certifications: 12%
  • GCP certifications: 11%
  • CKA certification: 10%
  • CKAD certification: 9%
  • CKS certification: 6%
  • Linux Foundation certifications: 4%
  • KCNA certification: 0.5%

Conclusion

Hopefully, you've got a fair understanding of which certifications are essential for Kubernetes jobs.

To conclude:

  • A certification will do you well if you want to enhance your resume for your next Kubernetes job.
  • If you can complete just one certification, choose AWS certifications.
  • If you can manage to complete more than one, start with the AWS certification of your domain, followed by a Kubernetes certification, preferably CKA.

What has your experience been with certifications? Although having data is beneficial, gaining hands-on experience is even more crucial. Please share your experience attempting, clearing, or learning from certifications.