Certified Kubernetes Application Developer CKAD Learning Path

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer CKAD Learning Path

After working on Kubernetes for quite some time, it was time to recertify my  Certified Kubernetes Application Developer, and am glad to have cleared it with a score of 89 with minimal preparation.

  • CKAD is more of an open-book test, where you have access to the official Kubernetes documentation exam, but it focuses more on hands-on experience.
  • CKAD focuses on “Using a Kubernetes cluster once already provisioned“. It tests the candidate’s ability to design, build, configure, and expose cloud native applications for Kubernetes.
  • Unlike AWS and GCP certifications, you would be required to solve, debug actual problems, and provision resources on a live Kubernetes cluster.
  • Even though it is an open book test, you need to know where the information is.
  • Trust me, if you are not prepared this time is not going to be sufficient.

CKAD Exam Pattern

  • CKAD exam curriculum includes these general domains and their weights on the exam:
    • Application Design and Build – 20%
    • Application Environment, Configuration and Security – 25%
    • Application Deployment – 20%
    • Services & Networking – 20%
    • Application observability and maintenance – 15%
  • CKAD requires you to solve 16 questions in 2 hours.
  • CKAD was already upgraded to use the k8s 1.28 version. But it keeps on being upgraded with new Kubernetes versions.
  • You are allowed to open another browser tab that can be from kubernetes.io or other product documentation like Falco. Do not open any other windows.
  • Exam questions can be attempted in any order and don’t have to be sequential. So be sure to flag them and move ahead and come back later.

CKAD Exam Preparation and Tips

  • I used the courses from KodeKloud CKAD for practicing and it would be good enough to cover what is required for the exam.
  • Prepare yourself with the imperative commands as much as you can. This will help cut down the time required to solve half of the questions. I was not stretched for time for CKAD and had much time to review.
  • Each exam question carries weight so be sure you attempt the exams with higher weights before focusing on the lower ones. So target the ones with higher weights and quicker solutions like debugging ones.
  • CKAD exam provides 6-8 different preconfigured K8s clusters. Each question refers to a different Kubernetes cluster, and the context needs to be switched. Be sure to execute the kubectl use context command, which is available with every question and you just need to copy-paste it.
  • Check for the namespace mentioned in the question, to find resources and create resources. Use the -n <namespace>
  • You would be performing most of the interaction from the client node. However, pay attention to the node (master or worker) you need to execute the exams and make sure you return back to the base node.
  • SSH to nodes and gaining root access is allowed if needed.
  • Read carefully the Information provided within the questions with the mark. They would provide very useful hints in addressing the question and save time. for e.g. namespaces to look into. for a failed pod, what has already been created like configmap, secrets, network policies so that you do not create the same.
  • Make sure you know the imperative commands to create resources, as you won’t have much time to create and edit YAML files.
  • If you need to edit further use --dry-run=client -o yaml to get a headstart with the YAML spec file and edit the same.
  • I personally use alias kk=kubectl to avoid typing kubectl

CKAD Resources

CKAD Key Topics

Application Design and Build – 20%

Application Environment, Configuration and Security – 25%

Application Deployment – 20%

Services & Networking – 20%

Application observability and maintenance – 15%

CKAD General information and practices

  • The exam can be taken online from anywhere.
  • Make sure you have prepared your workspace well before the exams.
  • Make sure you have a valid government-issued ID card as it would be checked.
  • You are not allowed to have anything around you and no one should enter the room.
  • The exam proctor will always watch you, so refrain from doing other activities. Your screen is also always shared.
  • Copy + Paste works fine.
  • You will have an online notepad on the right corner to note down. I hardly used it, but it can be useful to type and modify text instead of using the VI editor if you are not comfortable with it.

All the Best …