DevOps Institute

How to Study for the DevOps Institute DevOps Leader Certification Exam


Last updated October 6, 2022
By: Najib Radzuan

I received several requests through my personal LinkedIn account in response to a post about gaining my DevOps Institute DevOps Leader Certification. My peers were asking for me to share tips, study material, useful courses, and whether I attended any training.

Before we jump into study suggestions and tips, here’s some information about DevOps Institute’s DevOps Leader Certification, modules and how they evaluate your marks or grade.

The following information is gathered from DevOps Institute and other resources related to the DevOps Leader certification.

DevOps Leader Certification Course Overview

DevOps describes a culture and a set of tasks that bring together Development and Operations teams for the development of software. It enables companies to develop and improve products more quickly than they otherwise could through traditional approaches. Moreover, it has rapidly gained in popularity. The DevOps approach regenerates the teams with greater performance, concentration, and productivity through teamwork, connectivity, automation, and a set of established best practices. However, for a company, it is necessary to use the methodology fully from an experienced and qualified DevOps practitioner. The course is perfect for educating DevOps executives and senior DevOps engineers. This course is special, it allows DevOps professionals to free up valuable resources for employment and networking.

Course Objectives

The learning objectives for the DevOps Leader course include a practical understanding of:

  • DevOps and time to value
  • Mindset and mental models
  • Key differences between DevOps IT and traditional IT
  • Target operating models and organizational design
  • Performance management, rewards, and motivation
  • Preparing investment cases
  • Focusing on value outcomes
  • Ideas for organizing workflows
  • Empowerment and participation
  • Defining meaningful metrics
  • Value Stream Mapping

Course Contents

There are 8 main modules and objectives in the DevOps Leader course:

  1. DevOps and Transformational Leadership — Define DevOps, understand the benefits of DevOps, and describe ‘Transformational Leadership’ as a concept
  2. Unlearning Behaviours — Describe how psychology and neurosciences influence DevOps
  3. Becoming a DevOps Organization — Describe shared goals, and explain how to help people participate in DevOps culture
  4. Measure to Learn — Create Value Stream Map and Value Stream Management (VSM); describe how to measure important metrics in the DevOps methodology
  5. Measure to Improve — The Improvement Kata and experiments
  6. Target Operating Models (TOMs) and Organization Design — Differentiate between TOM and Organization Design; describe how to integrate Agile and Ops; identify elements of Agile at scale; describe Spotify’s organizational model
  7. Articulating and Socializing Vision — Describe organizational change, and explain how to broadcast outside of your organization
  8. Maintaining Energy and Momentum — Describe blended innovation, culture, climate and a high-trust culture

Topics Covered and Question Weighting in the DevOps Leader Exam

The DevOps Leader exam requires knowledge of the specific topic areas below:

  • Number of questions: 40
  • Exam Type: Multiple choice
  • Duration: 60 Minutes (1 Hour)
  • Passing score: 65%

Why Should You Do This Certification?

  1. DevOps is one of the world’s most common methodologies of IT management and can significantly boost your employability.
  2. DevOps Institute has a network of Education Partners across the globe who offer instructor-led or online courses to help you prepare.
  3. The course provides short quizzes throughout to assess your understanding as students prepare for the official review of the DevOps Leader certification exam.
  4. There are no formal prerequisites for the DevOps Leader exam.
  5. The course includes interactive slides, tutor-led videos, and other training assets created with help from leading subject matter experts.
  6. The course is fully accredited by DevOps Institute.
  7. You will have the opportunity to be part of the global community of DevOps professionals.

How to Study for the DevOps Leader Certification Exam

DevOps Institute recommends formal training with an Education Partner for the best learning experience, but for individuals like myself who feel they have the experience and prefer to self-study, I created a study plan based on the course objectives and modules I’ve listed above. You can follow the guidelines here or refer to other resources as well for more understanding. DevOps Institute also provides an exam study guide when you purchase the exam voucher to help focus your study efforts. The guide includes the course description, exam requirements with list of examinable terms and concepts, sample exam, value-added resources and a glossary.

  1. DevOps and Transformational Leadership

You need to know the definition of DevOps and its benefit to organizations. You also need to know how leadership style can aid DevOps transformation and a DevOps journey in an organization. Here are some resources that may help your understanding:

  1. Unlearning Behaviors

There are several materials you can find on the internet relating to unlearning behavior, including a video from Helen Beal that I like the most. By watching her video you will know how psychology and neuroscience influence your DevOps journey.

You also need to know why we need Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) in DevOps or DevSecOps and why GRC should be seen as a key DevOps enabler:

  1. Becoming a DevOps Organization

For the DevOps Leader certification exam, you need to know how DevOps differs from traditional IT, DevOps Kaizen, and explain how to help people participate in DevOps culture:

  1. Measure to Learn

You need to know how Value Stream Maps are used in DevOps. You also need to know how to use Value Stream Mapping:

  1. Measure to Improve

For the DevOps Leader certification exam, you should know how to improve your work based on Value Stream Maps and understand how they can be used to identify improvement opportunities:

  1. Target Operating Models (TOMs) and Organization Design

In the DevOps Leader certification exam, you will identify the Target Operating Model (TOM) for DevOps and the desired outcomes of DevOps by TOM and know the difference between TOM and Organization Design (OD). There are also laws or terminology you should know, such as Conway’s Law and Little’s Law and how they teach us about DevOps:

Organization Characteristics:

The DevOps Target Operating Model:

Spotify Organization Model is also in this module and you can also learn about it via this Medium post:

  1. Articulating and Socializing Vision

Describe organizational change and how it impacts large enterprises. You should be able to broadcast outside of your organization and empower people:

  1. Maintaining Energy and Momentum

Explain how high-trust culture works in DevOps organizations and the business cases for DevOps. Kolb’s Learning style is also a famous question in this module:

Additional pieces of information

You may refer to the DevOps Leader Certification course blueprint, which includes additional topics that you should familiarize yourself with. You also need to know several terms and principles such as:

  1. Bateson Stakeholder Map
  2. Kolb’s Learning Style (above)
  3. Karpman Drama Triangle (Rescuer, Persecutor, & Victim)
  4. Wilber’s Quadrants
  5. Training from the Back of the Room — the 4 Cs (Connection, Concept, Concrete and Conclusion)


Good luck on your DevOps Leader exam! And, trust me — the more you read about DevOps, the more prepared you will be for your exam. Because if we’re not doing the reading part, then how can we answer or prepare for the exam, right?

Learn more about becoming a certified DevOps Leader

Disclaimer: This is also not the ultimate guideline or material for the DevOps Leader certification. You may also refer to other resources and material to get more knowledge and prepare for your exam.

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