Traditionally, developers were faced with the challenge of developing a complete software before testing it to evaluate its performance based on user requirements. The testing process was manual. Bugs and feedback could only be got after the software had been released, which made the whole software delivery process time-consuming, resulting in highly compromised software quality. 

With DevOps and tools like Jenkins came automation which ultimately revolutionized software development. Continuous integration and continuous deployment have become popular thanks to tools like Jenkins. Developers in a team can now commit code more frequently with automatic testing done with every commit. An automated commit-build-test-deploy sequence of events makes it possible to standardize processes and end up with predictable high-quality software. This is because bugs can be caught and resolved way before the software is released to the end-users. Another big advantage of continuous integration is that it allows for constant feedback throughout the software development phases. 

Since the onset of DevOps, developers have had an easy time developing software and features, with 47% of companies drastically reducing the time-to-market for their software. Thus, in addition to undertaking DevOps and other certifications to enhance software development skills, software developers should also consider Jenkins certification as a means to achieving an automated, streamlined CI/CD pipeline. 

Jenkins Overview 

Jenkins is the most widely adopted solution for continuous integration and continuous delivery. It is an open-source automation server written in Java that integrates well with several other tools, technologies, and platforms through more than 1,500 plugins available. For instance, you can integrate it with Maven to achieve automatic software builds or with Docker for easy testing and rollback processes during production. Jenkins is used to control and manage the entire software development life cycle by automating the build, document, test, package, and deploy processes, ultimately accelerating software development projects.  

Continuous integration and continuous deployment are core to DevOps; hence Jenkins has grown to become the standard DevOps CI/CD pipeline server and an indispensable tool for Java programmers. Jenkins flaunts an estimated 1.65 million active users and more than 165,000 active installations across the globe as of February 2018. 

Benefits of Jenkins 

  • Jenkins is easy to install, set up, and configure through its web interface. 
  • Jenkins provides rich plugins which extend its function widely and make it compatible with most operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. The plugins also make it easy to integrate with platforms, build and test tools, and other technologies 
  • Jenkins can distribute workload across a number of nodes to accelerate the build, test, and deployment processes.  

Why should you learn Jenkins?  

As we have seen, Jenkins is a powerful tool for DevOps engineers and Java programmers. Automation has overcome many software development challenges like fragmented workflow resulting from individuals in large development teams coding independently and manual testing of builds. These two create complex bugs, lead to much time wasted on debugging, and cause inefficiencies that slow down production.   

Jenkins simplifies coding for development teams as it automates processes in the CI/CD pipeline. Automation makes code maintenance easy, ultimately reducing bugs and enabling development teams to work more collaboratively for streamlined software development. This increases productivity thanks to faster builds and shipment of code.  

Agile and DevOps rule the development world. Coupled with automation and the ROI on the enterprise CI/CD will be realized much faster with fewer bugs, faster time-to-market, and higher quality products that meet clients’ ever-changing expectations. 

If you are interested in becoming an expert in the DevOps and Java fields, it makes sense to learn how to build and automate CI/CD workflows and pipelines using Jenkins. With the numerous plugins available in Jenkins, your knowledge extends to other technologies that integrate with Jenkins, including:

  • Version control systems like Git 
  • Build tools like Maven 
  • Containerization tools like Docker 
  • Project management and issue tracking tools like Jira 
  • AWS cloud 

What are the prerequisites for learning Jenkins? 

There are no prerequisite skills to learning Jenkins. Anyone can learn Jenkins provided they have the interest. However, for you to have a smoother learning curve, it is recommended that you have a background in the following: 

  • Agile and DevOps 
  • Java programming language 
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of software development 
  • Various operating systems including Windows, Linux, OSX

Is Jenkins certification hard? 

Certifications mean a lot to professionals. They are proof of skills, knowledge, and experience. The value of any certification is determined by its difficulty level, quality, and its integrity. We cannot say that Simplilearn’s Jenkins certification and the Certified Jankins Engineer (CJE) by CloudBees are easy. 

Indeed they are not. 

The reason is that Jenkins is a very narrow topic and passing the exam means that you have to have a detailed grasp of CI/CD, DevOps methodology, Jenkins concepts, best practices, how Jenkins works, and its security features and practices among others. Jenkin’s certification courses have been created to test both theoretical and practical knowledge of all Jenkins aspects.   

How to prepare for the Jenkins certification exam

  • Understand the core concepts of Jenkins 

Some core Jenkins concepts that you need to understand in theory and practice are:

  • The workings of Jenkins pipelines 
  • Jenkins security 
  • Jenkins artifacts and fingerprints 
  • Automated testing 
  • Distributed build architecture 
  • Your study Resources 

A demanding professional-grade certification course requires adequate preparation. These three resources will be invaluable during exam preparation. 

  • Jenkins tutorials available at the Jenkins documentation site are not just for perusing but also for helping you with your practicals. For instance, following the guidelines on the tutorials, you can practice writing the DSL pipeline from scratch, 
  • The official CJE study guide available on the ClouBees website outlines the details and requirements of the exam plus the topics covered which you should plan to study. This study guide also includes five sample questions to help you to get familiar with the right exam question and answer structure. 
  • While building your pipeline during hands-on practice, you should consider concentrating on Jenkins CLI and REST API as they are bound to come up in the exam. Run your jobs from the CLI and API and learn how to use them with parameters and without parameters. 
  • Your online course training provider 

A critical decision that you will need to make is choosing an online training course provider to help you prepare for your exam. Online courses are well structured and the best ones are those that assume you have no prior Jenkins knowledge and experience. Also, ensure that the course offered covers the topics that will be tested in the exam. These include: 

  • The basic and advanced concepts of DevOps, CI/CD, and Jenkins
  • Jenkins installation and configuration
  • Jenkins pipeline and master & Slave Architecture
  • Distributed development 
  • Server automation and automated tests integration 
  • Code quality reporting and improvement 
  • Jenkins best practices
  • Advanced security 

Further, consider course providers that offer practical learning projects, exercises, demos, and assessments. Finally, certification at the end of the course is an added advantage. 

Wrapping up

Whether you are a developer or DevOps engineer who wants to get a grip on the Agile methodology, a professional seeking to learn something new, or a SysAdmin who can benefit from automation, the Jenkins certification course is for you. Jenkins enables streamlined development and deployment of software with better collaboration among development team members and transparent workflow. 

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