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With more than 40 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus pandemic cratered the economy, dozens of states and organizations are looking for ways to reskill people as they look for new lines of work.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation has now partnered with the Linux Foundation to offer certifications courses and exams that allow people to become Certified Kubernetes Administrators and Certified Kubernetes Application Developers.

As businesses move to the cloud, enabler technologies like Kubernetes are seeing a quantum leap in terms of innovation and adoption. While enterprise adoption is still in the early stages, Kubernetes is expected to replace antiquated container orchestration tools in the coming years, as it is increasingly adopted throughout organizations.

Demand for candidates with knowledge of Kubernetes has spiked in recent years as more organizations turn to the technology. According to Indeed, between October 2015 and October 2019, the share of Kubernetes jobs per million grew by 2,141% while the share of Kubernetes job searches increased 2,125%.

Almost 45,000 people have registered for the courses so far, and the Linux Foundation recently announced the availability of a bootcamp program designed so that those with very little to no experience can become certified cloud engineers in six months. This bootcamp includes a Kubernetes fundamentals course.

Priyanka Sharma, general manager of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, told TechRepublic that Kubernetes has been described as the “future of computing,” and people are getting certified to increase their career prospects.

“Kubernetes and containers have become virtually synonymous with cloud-native development, which allows companies to move fast, deploy software efficiently and operate at an unprecedented scale. From Gmail to YouTube to Search, everything at Google, for instance, runs in containers,” Sharma said. “But companies are finding it difficult to fill these positions. A StackRox survey of 540 IT and security professionals cited both an internal skills shortage and a steep learning curve as the two most significant Kubernetes challenges impacting their companies.”

SEE: Kubernetes security guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

According to a release from the foundation, the bootcamps can be finished in six months if people spend about 20 hours studying each week. The bootcamp costs $999.

Demand for Kubernetes skills is increasing amid COVID-19 as cloud providers confront surging demand and are forced to scale services. With containerized services, built in a cloud-native way, workloads can more easily move to where capacity exists, Sharma explained. With nearly everyone relying on technology more than ever, traffic to websites or applications have had to scale 10 times or more nearly overnight.

Retailers, in particular, are seeing rapid scaling, and Kubernetes has been used in such things as inventory search functions, Sharma said, adding that Kubernetes skills are now so in demand that it can have a direct impact on a candidate’s pay rate.

ZipRecruiter found that as of Jun 29, 2020, the average annual pay for the Kubernetes jobs category in the United States is $147,732 a year.

Abubakar Siddiq Ango, Technical Evangelism program manager at GitLab, said that having the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam under his belt gave him a huge advantage.

“It helped me move up in my company into my current role as a program manager on the Technical Evangelism team where I am able to lend more to my teams and my company. Passing the exam helped me at my job in almost every task,” Ango said.

“It also gave me the opportunity to train other members on the team and grow our team’s expertise. Having passed the exam hugely validates your knowledge, and also teaches you where there may be important gaps in your knowledge.”

SEE: 10 high-paying tech jobs that don’t require a degree (TechRepublic)

In addition to the courses and exams at Cloud Native Computing Foundation, there are free Kubernetes courses on Katakoda as well as official tutorials on Kubernetes Docs. There are books on it and a comprehensive list of resources on GitHub called “Awesome Kubernetes.”

Even when Kubernetes is not explicitly mentioned in job ads, some knowledge of it is now a tacit requirement for positions like software engineer, DevOps engineer, DevOps platform engineer, cloud engineer, systems engineer, and site reliability engineer.

Before diving headfirst into Kubernetes courses, some knowledge of Linux and plain Kubernetes is helpful in addition to a basic understanding of concepts like virtualization and containers.

Ango said he spent months studying Kubernetes on his own before taking the courses and used the exams to validate everything he learned on his own.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation published 38 case studies in 2019 detailing the learnings of a diverse group of end users committed to accelerating the adoption of cloud native technologies, including Kubernetes, and improving the deployment experience.

Sharma said more than 126,600 people have registered through CNCF for free Kubernetes Edx courses.

“Kubernetes wouldn’t be anywhere close to where it is today without the incredible community of thousands of developers and engineers spanning hundreds of companies. Today, Kubernetes is used by more than 50% of the Fortune 500 to run mission-critical applications,” Sharma noted.

“The support, neutrality, and community that foundations provide play a large role in helping these projects reach velocity by making sure they are free of partisan influence, fostering the growth and evolution of the ecosystem through common technical standards across the various pieces, and serving the community by making the technology accessible and reliable to everyone.”