Career / Career Progression

Top 8 Certs To Begin A Career In DevOps

by David Zomaya
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Published on September 23, 2019

Changes happen every day and with change comes the need to adapt. The problem with this is getting everyone on the same page. This is especially true for the IT industry.

Employers are looking for individuals who are prepared to come in and deliver the value DevOps can provide. DevOps engineers are in high demand for this reason. Just how in demand are DevOps skills? Last year, DevOps Engineer was the most recruited job on LinkedIn. While it is no easy feat to learn DevOps, we have plenty of courses to get you there.

Broadly speaking, DevOps requires skills in: Linux system administration, DevOps tools, and cloud computing. As a result, certifications that focus on these areas can go a long way in transitioning to a career in DevOps.

Below, we take a look at eight IT certifications that can help you begin or advance your career in DevOps.

1. AWS DevOps Engineer – Professional

While the DevOps cert market is fairly young, the AWS DevOps Engineer certification has made a great name for itself. AWS, the undisputed industry leader, and their certs carry a great amount of weight.

However, it is worth noting this is far from an entry-level certification. This cert is designed for DevOps pros with a few years of experience. Obtaining it validates your ability to implement and manage systems on AWS and your automation skills. Once you earn DevOps Engineer-Professional, there can be real career benefits. According to PayScale, the average salary for an AWS certified DevOps Engineer is $117,000.

2. CompTIA Linux+

You might be thinking: "Linux+?! Why? That's a 'traditional' sysadmin cert." And, to an extent, you'd be right. However, like with anything else, strong fundamentals are important in DevOps. While DevOps is possible on Windows, the vast majority of DevOps work is done in *nix environments. Strong Linux sysadmin skills are important for building a DevOps career.

CompTIA Linux+ is a good certification to help demonstrate you have these foundational Linux sysadmin skills. It covers many of the basics you need, and CompTIA has a solid reputation. This makes the Linux+ cert a great way to enhance and validate DevOps-relevant skills.

As a bonus, it is really two certs in one for the near-term. Earning the Linux+ gets you the Linux+ cert and the Linux Professional Institute's LPIC-1 cert. However, this 2-for-1 bundle is ending October 1, 2019, so you'll need to act fast.

What's changing? The CompTIA Linux+ ‎LX0-103 & LX0-104 exams are retiring. The LX0-103 & LX0-104 exams were often referred to as ComptTIA Linux+ (Powered by LPI). With the new Linux+ exam, XK0-005, CompTIA Linux+ is no longer reciprocal with LPI. For more detail on this change, check out CompTIA's blog post on the topic.

Looking for help studying for the Linux+ exams? Try our CompTIA Linux+ video training playlist!

3. AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate

The AWS Certified SysOps Administrator will validate your ability to deploy, manage, and maintain AWS infrastructure. This associate-level cert is a good starting point if you have AWS experience, but aren't ready for a professional-level cert.

Once you earn the SysOps Administrator Associate certification, you will have validated the ability to:

  • Deploy, manage, and operate AWS systems that are highly available, fault-tolerant, and scalable

  • Implement and control data flow to and from AWS infrastructure

  • Select AWS services given set requirements

  • Identify operational best practices for AWS

  • Estimate usage costs and identify operational cost controls for AWS

  • Migrate workloads to AWS

Given the importance of AWS to DevOps today, this cert is a great launching pad for a DevOps career.

Looking for an AWS Certified SysOps training course? Anthony Sequiera has you covered!

4. Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

While AWS is the leading cloud infrastructure provider, Azure is a strong second. This means that certifications from Microsoft's cloud service are in demand as well.

The Azure Administrator Associate cert validates that you have many of the skills to begin your transition to DevOps. You will learn to monitor and maintain Microsoft Azure solutions. This cert demonstrates your ability to implement and maintain storage, network, and security resources within Microsoft Azure.

While there are no required prerequisites for the Azure Administrator Associate, it's extremely helpful to start off with the Azure Fundamentals. The fundamentals cert covers the basics of Microsoft Azure solutions.

For this cert, you'll need to prepare for the AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator exam. You'll need to be ready to show your ability to manage Azure subscriptions, storage, virtual machines, and virtual networks.

5. Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation

Automation is a big part of making DevOps happen. Manual processes are the enemy. They slow things down, create room for Kill, and add bloat to projects. As a result, demonstrating you are able to automate systems deployment is an important part of becoming a DevOps pro. Red Hat's Ansible is a popular open source project focused on automation and configuration management.

The Red Hat Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation enables DevOps pros to show their proficiency with Ansible. Once you have a solid foundation of skills, this cert can be an excellent addition to your resume.

Interested in Ansible training? Try Shawn Powers' Ansible Fundamentals training today!

6. Certified Jenkins Engineer

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) are two core DevOps concepts. CI/CD aims to create a pipeline in which applications are built, packaged, tested, and delivered in a high-velocity and automated fashion. A big chunk of working with DevOps tools is enabling CI/CD.

Jenkins is one of the most popular CI/CD tools on the market. It even cracked our 10 Best Tools for the DevOps Pro list. Learning the ins and outs of this open source automation server is a great way to further develop your DevOps repertoire.

However, if you're not currently working somewhere that uses Jenkins, gaining and demonstrating experience can be hard. Fortunately, for aspiring DevOps Engineers, the Certified Jenkins Engineer (CJE) provides a way to get certified in Jenkins.

7. Puppet Certified Professional

Puppet is a suite of DevOps configuration management tools for infrastructure automation and delivery. Puppet is quite popular in the world of DevOps (it also cracked our Top 10 list). Over 40,000 organizations use Puppet, including 75% of the Fortune 100.

There clearly is a demand for DevOps pros with certifiable Puppet skills. The Puppet Certified Professional is a cert from Puppet themselves. The cert covers everything from troubleshooting Puppet code to orchestration to deployment strategies.

Looking for Puppet training? Shawn Powers can help you with that, too!

8. AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner

Most of the certs we have covered require experience. You have to start somewhere, and for Amazon Web Services the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is a good place to start. This certification is designed to demonstrate a basic understanding of the AWS Cloud platform and its services.

This cert will allow you to develop a base of fundamentals that you can branch out from. Cloud Practitioner is only an optional prerequisite for the associate-level AWS certifications. However, it'll help you develop a good core in AWS that will benefit you in the long run.

Honorable Mention: Cisco DevNet

While Cisco DevNet isn't officially released yet, it is worth mentioning here. This new certification program has a lot of fanfare and anticipation tied to it. With its DevNet certs, Cisco is taking steps toward the validation of DevOps skills as they relate to Cisco technologies. Cisco will offer three certifications paths starting Feb 24, 2020, which include:

An expert level will likely follow, but won't be available on launch.

With DevNet certs, you will be able to validate your skills by gaining more DevNet Specialties in several areas, while working toward professional certification.

Final Thoughts

Many organizations are realizing the benefits of DevOps. The reason for this is simple: it works. As a result, being able to demonstrate your DevOps skills makes you more valuable in the job market. The certifications we covered here are a great place to start when it comes to picking DevOps certs.

If you're new to the field, start with the basics with a cert like AWS Cloud Practitioner. If you're already experienced, a cert like AWS DevOps Engineer can change your career trajectory for the better. The key is to keep learning and maintain a modern and marketable skill set. The right DevOps cert can do just that. Start today with CBT Nuggets!


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