The Jenkins Certified Engineer exam, and how it will likely evolve

Jenkins is an open source tool used to help automate parts of the software delivery process. Why is Jenkins so important? It essentially enables Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery/Deployment (CI/CD), which means it plays a prominent role within a DevOps environment.

Those of us who had already been using Jenkins had the opportunity in 2016—for the first time—to become a Jenkins Certified Engineer. There had never before been an official Jenkins certification. So, with both company and personal goals of continuing my DevOps career development, I took the exam.

This professional-level test is designed to establish proficiency in administering and using Jenkins. Its scope is wide and spans the gamut of competencies typically associated with expert Jenkins engineers. Topics covered include administering multi-node Jenkins environments, securing Jenkins, usage of common Jenkins plugins, modern Jenkins Pipeline jobs as well as traditional Freestyle and Maven jobs, and a large set of questions related to general DevOps and CI/CD concepts. These are all topics that are highly relevant to today’s DevOps-focused organizations using Jenkins.

I expect that like many high-tech certifications, this exam will continue to evolve. For example, the question set will likely continue to shift away from traditional Jenkins jobs and more toward advanced Jenkins Pipeline features, such as specific Pipeline plugin syntax and more advanced third-party integration points. Also, given what I’ve seen emerging from the Jenkins community of late, I anticipate Docker will assume a more prominent role on the exam. There were a few high-level questions on Docker usage within the Jenkins platform, but it may well become a primary technical topic on the exam in the next year as the Jenkins Pipeline Docker APIs continue to advance at a rapid pace.

As Jenkins has had tremendous growth over the past decade, both in its scope and in its user base, it’s nice to see that the community has banded together to bring this certification to the market. Practically every software developer I encounter has used Jenkins in some capacity in his or her career.

And as DevOps and CI/CD become the norm, the certification will become even more important. In any larger IT organization where Jenkins is part of the toolset, it’s crucial to have one or more engineers with end-to-end expertise in using and administering the platform, including its latest capabilities. At the enterprise level, it isn’t enough to be able to create some Jenkins jobs; rather, there should be a deep level of automation-driven, scalable, cloud-based Jenkins node networks on the administration side and a modern approach to driving CI/CD through re-usable, modular, pipeline-driven delivery scripts

If you are interested in gaining visibility in the marketplace as a DevOps professional who has demonstrated mastery of the most recognizable CI/CD tools in the market, I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity that the open source community is providing in cooperation with CloudBees and take the Certified Jenkins Engineer exam.