My views on the CKA exam
I have not been a fan of technical certifications because I believe they skew the incentives of test takers to clear the test rather than to gain actual knowledge. Most tests like the Google Cloud certifications or the AWS certifications offer a multiple choice question/answer. While this may test the knowledge about and around the product/service, it is a bad proxy for a candidate’s ability to get the job done in a given amount of time. This problem is exacerbated by the number of dumps and “learning” resources that mushroom around a certification after a few months. I have interviewed several AWS certified professionals who are not comfortable with the command line or have never used tools like Ansible/Terraform. This is clearly disturbing.
It makes sense for professional services organizations to collect certified individuals to become partners to resell AWS products and participate in pitches with AWS. So the marginal utility of certification to me as an employer is barely negligible at best and view it as a necessary evil for getting AWS/Google Cloud partnership logos on the marketing materials
I read about the CNCF’s certifications and found that their certification process is more representative of the real world. Unlike the other examinations where candidates have to select the right choice from a given set of options, CKA and CKAD examinations involve solving real problems and tasks in a terminal with access to documentation on the Kubernetes’ site. While the curriculum does not cover aspects such as integration with other cloud providers like AWS/GCP/Azure for running load balancers or setting up stateful workloads, debugging EBS allocations for PVCs or scaling up/down a cluster, etc., it does give a fairly good proxy of a candidate’s ability to get stuff done with Kubernetes. So, as an employer, I will look at CKA/CKAD certifications more favorably than certifications from AWS/Google Cloud.
And by the way, I am speaking about the CKA exam from my own experience. I have been meaning take this CKA for the past couple of months but my travel and other engagements have been keeping me busy. I finally got some time this weekend to give it a shot. I am happy to report that I am now a Certified Kubernetes Administrator. This is one certification that I am proud of.