Certifications serve as an indication that a certain level of competence was achieved and many successful professionals seek them in order to reap several rewards. In some fields they're mandatory and while in others they're not, they usually come with several benefits attached.
Certifications establish a certain level of proficiency that helps cement credibility. It is proof that we know what we're doing. More so, it's an external validation of our skills from a credible source. People usually seek them because either they're mandatory in their line of business or:
- increases their marketability
- increases employer preference
- increases chances for promotion or advancement
- increases the possibility of earning more money
If we receive a certificate or not at the end of a course, this should be the number #1 priority: learning. Continuous learning is a very desirable skill that can be cultivated by getting a certification. Oftentimes, during our professional lives, there will be areas where we get low to no exposure and certifications can help maintain that knowledge up-to-date. Although getting the actual certificate is desirable, the prime focus should be on learning.
When achieving a difficult goal, we feel good about ourselves. It motivates us. It makes us want more. A certification can help us maintain that spark alive and push us forward. It's a great motivator that will help lift our morale and increase confidence. It can help open doors that will make us happy and contribute to a more fulfilling life.
The previous points are, more or less, obvious for certifications in general. Having recently received my CKA and CKAD certifications, these performance-based certifications came with some (not so) unexpected benefits.
Instead of a multiple-choice exam, performance-based certifications test us on practical skills, that somewhat relate to what we might be doing on a day-to-day basis. CKA and CKAD in particular test on skills related to deploying applications, troubleshooting, cluster upgrades and backups, and much more. The exams are of intermediate level, and while they're not complex, the time component requires that a good level of proficiency, both in terms of operational knowledge as well as problem identification, is achieved. This level of proficiency translates well into professional life since most of the problems tested in these certifications are plausible real-life scenarios. The decision of what/how to do when facing certain issues will most definitely be facilitated by the skills that had to be improved to pass these certifications.
Deeper appreciation for the Kubernetes documentation
It's undeniable that good documentation is paramount to any successful project. Documentation like stripe docs is amazing in both contents, visual presentation, and navigation. The Kubernetes Documentation is up there regarding content and navigation. While some might argue that it could be improved visually, the quality of the content is very good. It's easily searchable, it's full of practical examples, practical labs, well written, and anyone can contribute to it.
We're allowed to use the Kubernetes Documentation during the exam. But since time is a constraint, while studying we need to get personal with the documentation, know its ins and outs, essentially where and how to find information. During this process, we gain a deeper appreciation for it. In fact, after getting the certification, we get so good at navigating the Kubernetes Documentation that we using it a lot more instead of looking elsewhere.
Whatever the goal is, certifications are a possible path to follow but should always have the prime focus on learning.