Introducing Rancher Academy

Introducing Rancher Academy

Adrian Goins
Adrian Goins
Gray Calendar Icon Published: May 19, 2020
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: January 26, 2021

Today we launched the Rancher Academy, our new free training portal. The first course is Certified Rancher Operator: Level 1, and in it you’ll learn exactly how to deploy Rancher and use it to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters. This professional certification program is designed to help Kubernetes practitioners demonstrate their knowledge and competence with Kubernetes and Rancher – and to advance in their careers.

Why is Rancher Labs doing this? We want all the members of our community to have the most relevant and up to date skills in Rancher – the most widely adopted Kubernetes management platform. We also want to give you the skills to be at the forefront of the cloud-native way of doing business, which is agile, open source oriented and maniacally focused on innovation.

Market Demand for Kubernetes Skills Far Exceeds Supply

We’re seeing massive demand in the industry for people with Kubernetes skills, and it’s continuing to rise as organizations adopt cloud-native strategies and embrace Kubernetes. There’s nowhere near enough supply right now. What I’m seeing in the industry is that organizations are trying to quickly get their teams up to speed on Kubernetes. You’ve got people with reliable non-cloud-native skill sets, or non-Kubernetes skill sets, who are suddenly being given these Kubernetes environments that they need to maintain.

Businesses and governments all over the world use Rancher to deploy and manage their Kubernetes clusters. People in those organization are working with Rancher, but they might have learned it through the filter of their past knowledge and experience.

That’s where Rancher Academy comes in. Our objective is for an individual to go to an organization and say, “I have a certification from Rancher Labs,” and for organizations to know exactly what that means: that they were trained by Rancher, and that we’ve given our approval of their ability to execute according to our standards.

Is Rancher Academy Right for You?

Our first course, the Certified Rancher Operator: Level 1, is designed for people who want to install Rancher and use it to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters. You’ll need to have some basic Kubernetes knowledge, but you don’t need to know anything about Rancher.

We intentionally chose not to include Docker or Kubernetes fundamentals in our course because there are other training courses that cover that material. Until today there were no courses specifically for Rancher.

The course starts off talking about the Rancher architecture, installing RKE (one of our two certified Kubernetes distributions) and installing Rancher into it. Whether you are brand new to Rancher or have been using it for a while, you’ll find value in the course. For those experienced with Rancher, you’ll validate the skills you already have, and perhaps learn some slightly different ways of doing things that are the official “Rancher-sanctioned” way. And for those new to Rancher, you’ll walk away with the confidence that you are using Rancher the right way.

Rancher Academy: How It Works

The program is online and self-paced, with Level 1 designed to be completed over five weeks. The course includes four hours of video content, with 87 units of instruction, quizzes, 37 hands-on labs and a final assessment.

The labs are designed for you to do on your own. The idea here is that we’re building muscle memory: you learn about it, you see it demonstrated and then you do it yourself. As you progress through the course, you build and maintain an infrastructure, and by the end of the course, you’ll have a highly available Rancher deployment with at least one downstream cluster.

Certified Rancher Operator: Level 1 Course Overview Certified Rancher Operator: Level 1 Course Overview

Now you might be saying, “Whoa, this sounds like a lot of work.” The beauty of the course is that it’s self-paced. If you follow the five-week model, you’ll need to spend about three to five hours a week. On the other hand, if you’re so excited that you want to just blaze through it in a week, you can do that.

Throughout the course, as you’re learning the material, you can validate what you’ve learned through the quizzes, and you can easily go back if you need to repeat something. Along the way you’ll be building an environment, testing out workloads, trying out persistent storage and encountering challenges that are unique to your infrastructure. You’ll be developing the skills to solve those challenges, and you can get help along the way from the community in the Rancher Users Slack.

Course Topics by Week Course Topics by Week

To earn your certificate, you need to pass a test with 50 questions. These are both practical and theoretical questions about the decisions that you might need to make around your infrastructure and the clusters that you deploy. You’ll need to answer 35 questions correctly to get a passing score. And then voilà! You’re certified.

The Value of Rancher Certification

So now that you’ve got this certificate, what’s next? Is your boss or future employer going to care? In a word, yes. Our customers and partners have been asking us to build this certification program specifically because they want to feel confident that their teams have the skills to support their environment. The certificate will be valuable in your current role, but and it can also help you land that next opportunity. You can list it along with your Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) and your Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) as a demonstration of your skill set. You’ll have to recertify once a year because Rancher is a fast-moving technology and we want to make sure you stay up to date.

So, what’s next? I hope you’ll all rush to and enroll in the course. Based on your feedback, we’ll continue to build out the program and launch a Level 2 course that covers advanced features within Rancher. I look forward to seeing you on our Rancher Users Slack in the #academy channel.

To learn more about the program, check out my video with Swapnil Bhartiya of TFIR.

Sign up for Rancher Academy today.

Adrian Goins
Adrian Goins
Technical Evangelist, SUSE
Adrian Goins has been building Internet infrastructure since 1996, but he’s one of those supernerds who started writing BASIC programs on a C64 13 years before that. He joined Rancher Labs in 2017 and since then has worked as a field engineer and a tech marketer before becoming the Director of Community and Evangelism. He’s thrilled to share his love of technology with everyone and wants nothing more than to see Kubernetes take over the world.
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