What to Learn First: Docker or Kubernetes?

Everything to know about Cloud Services

Docker and Kubernetes are the main open-source leaders in container orchestration. The foundational technology that links Docker and Kubernetes is the Containers. It is an executable software unit that packages application code with its dependencies. This makes it possible to run on any IT infrastructure. It makes it easy for developers to work across platforms such as Docker and Kubernetes.

The main question is which one of the two technologies should you learn first? In this article, we dig deeper into the two technologies. We’ll give you a better understanding of how either operates and how they can work together.


Docker began as an open-source project and later advanced into Docker Inc. This is a company responsible for producing commercial Docker products. It is an open-source containerization platform. Before its release in 2013, developers used Linux Containers (LXC). Docker was built on LXC. Docker overtook LXC. It is currently the most common container creation tool for developers. The operating software they use does not matter. It makes it easier, safer, and faster for developers to build, deploy and manage containers.

One of the major attributes of Docker is portability. Docker containers can operate across all desktops, cloud environments, or data centers. Each container can only host one process. So, if one part of the application is being repaired or undergoing an update, it can continue to run well.

There are three common tools used with this technology. Docker uses;

  • The Docker Engine– the runtime platform where developers build and deploy containers.
  • The Docker file– defines all that’s required in building the Docker container image. Such includes the operating system network specifications and the locations of the files.
  • The Docker compose used to define and operate multi-container applications. To specify the services included in the application, the tool creates a YAML file. It also uses the Docker CLI to deploy and operate containers with one command.


Kubernetes is a production-ready and open-source platform used to build containers. The platform is useful for scheduling and automating the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications. Containers run in many container architectures known as a cluster. It includes a container designed as a master node. The master node schedules workloads for all other containers. They are also known as worker nodes within the cluster. It also determines where to host applications. It puts them together and manages their deployment.

Nowadays, web users expect 24/7 availability of web applications. Developers deploy new versions of the applications several times. Containerization enables applications to be available and updated with no downtime. The Kubernetes system has been running production workloads for over 15years at Google. It combines with the best practices and ideas from the community.

The main functions of Kubernetes include:

  • scheduling and automating container deployment across workers nodes
  • load balancing and service discovery
  • starting up new containers to handle heavy loads
  • Restarts, replaces, or reschedules failed or dead-nodes containers and kills unresponsive nodes
  • building a local or cloud storage system as required to improve user experience.

The verdict

The two container technologies can function alone. But can produce a powerful product if used together. Both tools help in packaging applications into containers. These allow them to operate on different platforms. Kubernetes works with various container tools. It operates containers in clusters with images created using Docker.

Docker allows developers to package apps into small, separate containers through the command line. Developers then run the apps across their platforms. If one runs on a single node while testing, it will operate in any environment. When the demand increases, Kubernetes provides the arrangement of Docker containers. It schedules and deploys them across various IT platforms for more availability.

With that said, it’s important to note that enterprise Kubernetes platform kubeshpere is a container orchestration platform, designed on top of docker. Kubernetes is a better way of running a group of docker nodes and comes with additional features like auto-scaling containers, load balancing, configuration management, log management, as well as rolling deployments, among others. 

So, when choosing what to learn first between Docker and Kubernetes, you should consider learning Docker first, as this will make it easier for you to learn Kubernetes. So, you need to learn how to create and run docker containers, and their limitations and challenges them. However, you don’t need to learn technical things such as docker-warm. The thing is, focus on learning core docker before you start learning Kubernetes. 


Written by Frederick Jace

A passionate Blogger and a Full time Tech writer. SEO and Content Writer Expert since 2015.

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