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Get Certified: Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD)

In this blog post, you will find some personal suggestions about how to get certified as Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD).

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Once you passed the exam, you will receive a digital badge from Acclaim for record keeping and social media sharing. The entry links back to the program.

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CFCD Exam

How Hard Can It Be?

Although challenging, for those familiar with the Cloud Foundry platform and technology the exam is fair and attainable.

No need to memorise obscure commands options one would normally look up in the reference guide as you are allowed access to the Cloud Foundry documentation during the exam (@SAPTraining, great idea!).

Apart from a handful of multiple choice questions, the main focus of the exam is on solving several challenges which evaluates your familiarity with

  • Application lifecycle – about buildpacks, stacks, and healthchecks
  • Application management – covering ‘cf push’, manifest, scaling, and associated commands
  • Basics – about the CLI, orgs and spaces, target, plugins, environment variables
  • Platform security – about roles and permissions, and security groups
  • Routing
  • Services – about the marketplace, service brokers, user-provided services, and service keys
  • Troubleshooting – about SSH, CF_TRACE

The certificate is valid for a generous three years.

Why Bother?

For a discussion about why you might consider getting certified, see post

For a motivation and exam review, see

Exam Guide

The exam preparation guide describes in detail the topics of the exam and what to expect.

Study Guide

See the CFCD Study Guide to evaluate your readiness.

Exam Page

The Cloud Foundry Certified Developer (CFCD) exam was launched in 2017, followed by a new and improved program in 2019. For the first edition, you had to choose between Java, Node, or Ruby for the challenges. For the current edition measuring programming skills was dropped and the focus is now on the use of the platform.

The exam page lists the topics you need to know with links to the Candidate Handbook and FAQ for the logistics.

From the exam page you can sign up for the exam. Sign up for the newsletter to be informed about the occasional discounts.

For the logistics, there is also a Tip Sheet

Take Exam

After you have purchased the exam, you can schedule a time-slot, agree to the agreements, check the checklists, and take the 3-hour exam.

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Cloud Foundry Certifications

Linux Foundation Certification Program

The Linux Foundation catalog lists 22 certifications, including Linux system administration, blockchain, and Kubernetes. The trainings are first-class and the certifications an industry standard.

Related exams

The CFCD certification is an excellent preparation or addition to several other certifications.

SAP Certified Development Associate – SAP Cloud Platform: Enterprise Extension

Although mainly about the SAP Cloud Platform, this certification also covers Cloud Foundry and cloud-native development concepts.

IBM Cloud Application Development v3

Although mainly about IBM Cloud, this certification also covers Cloud Foundry and cloud-native development concepts.

SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in SUSE Cloud Application Platform 2

This certification is designed for application developers who have become familiar with the basics of microservices, Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry, and SUSE Cloud Application Platform (CAP).

Expired exams

Pivotal Cloud Foundry Developer

Although no longer available, you may find references to this certification and to the Pivotal platform in blog posts, books, or on on popular training websites like Pluralsight.

Pivotal, a former VMware/EMC spin-off returned to VMware in 2019. Since, the technology was rearchitected for Kubernetes as VMware Tanzu while Pivotal Web Services (PWS), hosted on run.pivotal.io, was recently discontinued.

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Documentation

You may access the documentation during the exam but to avoid any time wasted searching make sure you are familiar with the contents (not a bad idea for anyone working with the technology regardless).

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Tutorials

Katacoda

For a short introduction and to get a feel for the topic, take the 30-min Try Cloud Foundry tutorial from Katacoda (O’Reilly).

The tutorial actually resembles the exam experience where you get a challenge to solve using the command line.

Cloud Foundry

Next step is to pick a provider (e.g. SAP Cloud Platform) and go through the basics again using the cf CLI with sample code.

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Training

edX | LFS132x

For a more comprehensive introduction, sign up for a LinuxFoundationX course which you can audit for free or enrol for a small fee for a certificate.

Note that this course only provides a high-level overview and does not cover all exam topic in sufficient detail.

In case you are interested, there are many other (free) introduction courses offered by the Linux Foundation on the edX MOOC platform.

Linux Foundation | LFD232

To actually start preparing for the exam, take the Cloud Foundry for Developers course as self-paced eLearning covering the concepts with labs, sample code, and video tutorials.

This course is highly recommended as it covers all the topics and skills required to pass the exam.

Illustration from the course.

Pluralsight

The Pivotal Cloud Foundry Developer course covers the material for the above-mentioned Pivotal exam and dates from 2017. You can get a free 10-day trial when you sign up but your company may also have a corporate subscription (like at SAP).

As free trial, you may find the course of interest as additional training but do not use it as only source for your preparation.

Linux Academy | A Cloud Guru

The CFCD course from the Linux Academy (now part of A Cloud Guru) dates from before version 2 of the CFCD exam (2018) and uses the now obsolete Pivotal Web Services (run.pivotal.io) as lab environment. The platform offers a free trial for 7 days.

As free trial, you may find the course of interest as additional training but do not use it as only source for your preparation.

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Sample Code

Cloud Foundry

For a comprehensive collection of sample applications

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Study Guides

There is no official study book for CFCD and although there are several books that cover Cloud Foundry in detail, they all start to age and are mainly focussed on Pivotal (discontinued).

Although these books provide interesting reading they are not very useful for exam preparation.

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SAP Cloud Platform

Cloud Foundry Trial Environment

To try out the sample code, you can use the free SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry trial environment. To get started, see

In 2019, SAP announced the removal of ‘managed’ open-source backing services like PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Redis, and RabbitMQ from the SAP Cloud Platform. In 2020, some of these services returned as ‘hyperscaler’ option.

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SUSE Cloud Application Platform

Dev Sandbox

Another alternative is to sign up for a free SUSE Cloud Application Platform Sandbox. This environment runs on Kubernetes instead of Diego but from a development point-of-view, although interesting, is not all that relevant.

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Local Development Environment 

(P)CF Dev and CFLocal

There have a been several local distributions of Cloud Foundry in the past (MicroCF, Cloud Foundry VM, BOSH Lite) and the latest implementations leverage a CF CLI plugin. 

Although still referenced in the Cloud Foundry documentation, the source code for CF Dev on GitHub has now been archived. Expect the documentation might be removed in the near future as well. Anticipate some perseverance to get this up and running (the command often times out).

cf install-plugin -r CF-Community cfdev
cf dev start -f ~/Downloads/pcfdev-v1.3.1-darwin.tgz
cf suspend
# stop terminates (destroys) the VMs
cf dev stop

KubeCF

Alternatively, you can use the latest KubeCF version to deploy Cloud Foundry but this requires familiarity with Kubernetes and is completely beyond the scope of the exam. For those new to Kubernetes, anticipate a steep learning curve.

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Kubernetes? 

BOSH, Diego, KubeCF, and cf-for-k8s

The CFCF exam tests your familiarity with the Cloud Foundry platform as a developer and does not cover any topic related to the installation or administration of the platform. There are no questions about the architecture, e.g. Diego, BBS, NATS, or UAA.

As a consequence, the CFCD certification remains transportable and highly relevant for each of the Cloud Foundry certified distributions, whether your app is running inside a Garden or Docker container, and whether these are orchestrated by Diego or Kubernetes.

This is fortunate, as there is currently a fair amount of platform construction going on. As an early platform-as-a-service adopter, this is not the first time for Cloud Foundry. Around 2014, the initial Ruby implementation was exchanged for Go. At the time, the industry had not yet standardised on Docker and Kubernetes for containers and orchestration which, over the last two years, has triggered another round of re-architecting.

For a comprehensive yet concise overview on the topic, see

K8s and SAP

For an interesting update about SAP’s point of view, see

For a bit more background and the story how the SAP technology landscape was enriched with CloudFoundry through the acquisition of SuccessFactors and Hybris, and Kubernetes through Concur, see

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Questions? Post as comment.

Useful? Give a like and share on social media. Thanks!

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