OSO becomes Confluent Preferred Partner: Start your Kafka journey today

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blog by OSO

How to take your Kafka projects to the next level with a Confluent preferred partner

Richard Gutkowski 13 January 2023

Meeting tight deadlines on complex Kafka projects

Kafka projects often require senior engineers to work on tight timeframes and adopt new automation strategies. But even with an extensive understanding of data streaming, infrastructure and deployment, senior engineers don’t always have the time to upskill or hire new resources. These projects are where Confluent-certified developers for Apache Kafka (CCDAKs) can quickly add value to in-house teams. 

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of why in-house engineers choose to work with CCDAKs, as well as how to source Confluent preferred partners, choose the right team, and get the most out of their professional services.

Learn more about our Confluent consulting services here.

What is a Confluent certified developer?

Confluent certified developers are skilled professionals who have demonstrated a comprehensive, in-depth knowledge of Apache Kafka on the Confluent platform. To verify their knowledge, these developers take an intensive, 90-minute proctored exam to prove that they have the technical skills to help both clients and employers at an expert level, and every two years, CCDAKs re-certify to prove that their skills are up to date. 

In other words, Confluent Kafka certification is difficult to achieve unless you’re a senior engineer or software developer working with Kafka on a daily basis, have deep technical expertise in event-driven architecture, and several years of industry experience as either an engineer or software developer. When developers display a Confluent certified digital badge, it’s the result of years of hard work and experience working on complex Kafka projects.

Seeking additional support from Kafka experts

If senior engineers want Confluent Kafka support that goes beyond an individual CCDAK, they’ll usually work with a resourcing agency or company that’s applied and been approved to provide Confluent services. Confluent provides four scaffolded levels of partnership: Confluent Registered, Plus, Preferred, and Premier. Registered partners are entry-level, Plus partners have certification credentials, Preferred partners specialise (and are verified in) Confluent, and Premier partners are selected by invitation.

Developers mostly collaborate with Confluent preferred partners to speed up their learning curve, avoid technical debt, and fill internal knowledge gaps. In many cases, their teams have years of experience and have the skills to teach themselves new technologies, but they need to accelerate their project timelines.

In our experience, in-house engineers  rely on us to help them understand Kafka’s operating model, model use cases, deploy Kafka as a service, automate Kafka deployment, recover data from failed Kafka clusters, and navigate the overall complexity of deploying Kafka while keeping their business running smoothly.

4 OSO kafka services are Kafka consultancy, streaming applications, Kafka Infrastructure and Professional Kafka Support

A checklist for working with Confluent certified developers

Once you find a preferred partner, take a few steps before you officially bring them on board for an important project.

  • Discuss your goals and expectations before project launch. We always hold technical discovery workshops to understand exactly what our in-house partners are planning and what standards they have for the execution. Senior engineers have a good grasp of what they need, so we devise strategies to help them get it.
  • Ask for references and testimonials from other businesses that the partner has worked with, as past work is generally a good predictor of the partner’s skill set. Developers that have successfully executed multiple Confluent projects have already overcome common roadblocks and built a repository of best practices in their heads.
  • Establish a timeline for the project and set clear expectations for deliverables. If the reason why you’re bringing in a Confluent expert is to deliver on tight timelines, then clearly stating deadlines is critical to the overall success of the partnership. We establish clear objectives and timelines during our initial technical workshops, then deliver projects more rapidly than in-house teams alone.
  • Ensure that the partner has the expertise and qualifications necessary to provide the services you need. In the case of Confluent, the preferred partnership certification provides assurance that the developer or partner has the ability to carry out the project and has access to specialised Confluent knowledge and services.
  • Ask questions. Although developers often bring us in to speed up and effectively execute complex Kafka projects, part of what we do is share what we’ve learned from past projects. Targeted questions help experienced engineers upskill in the Confluent Platform and Apache Kafka.

OSO’s approach to Confluent certified development and Kafka projects

Certification doesn’t mean boilerplate. Although our Confluent certified developers adhere to standard best practices, and are recognised in the Confluent partner portal,  OSO takes a unique approach to our Kafka consulting. Here’s what sets our agency apart:

  • We adapt to roadblocks. We always do what is right for the engineers and teams we work with, even if those actions diverge from the initial plans. We work with in-house teams to iterate and troubleshoot throughout the process, rather than blindly following a roadmap. 
  • We futureproof solutions. We provide the information and skills in-house engineers and teams need to upkeep and iterate the system over time. After senior engineers work with us, we want them to feel like they have new strategies and techniques to deploy in their next project. 
  • We accelerate partner timelines. We take our experience and repeatable code patterns to move forward on projects directly after our technical discovery workshops. We find out what in-house engineering teams need , then deploy previously-tested strategies and solutions to cut down on delivery time. 

We collaborate. We’re old friends who trust each other’s expertise and genuinely like working together. We treat our partners in the same way, providing transparent advice and bringing energy to our technical workshops and ongoing work.

Learn more about Confluent preferred partners, the Confluent Platform, and Apache Kafka 

Overall, Confluent certified developers in Kafka (CCDAKs) are skilled professionals who’ve demonstrated deep expertise in their field via an intensive exam. They’re well-versed in Confluent stream processing using Kafka and KSQL, and developers often choose to work with them to deliver on tight project timelines and fill knowledge gaps. 

Sion, Ian, and I are proud to announce that OSO is a preferred—and on our way to becoming a premier—partner, and we’ll share more tips and advice in future blog posts. If you’d like to work with a Confluent preferred partner, we want to hear from you! OSO is an EMEA preferred partner, and we have four Confluent certified developers in Kafka on our team. Get in touch to discover how our Kafka experts can help you deliver your next big project.

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