Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA Learning Path

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Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA Learning Path

The journey in the container world continues with the Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA certification, which I cleared recently with 90%. After knowing how to use Kubernetes, it was really interesting and intriguing to know Kubernetes internals and how the overall system works.

  • CKA focuses on the skills required to be a successful Kubernetes Administrator 
  • CKA is an open book test, where you have access to the official Kubernetes documentation exam, but it focuses more on hands-on experience.
  • Unlike AWS and GCP certifications, you are required to provision, solve, debug actual problems and provision resources on a Kubernetes cluster
  • Even though it is an open book test, you need to know where the information is.

CKA Exam Pattern and Tips

    • CKA requires you to solve 24 questions in 3 hours.
    • CKA exam curriculum includes these general domains and their weights on the exam:
      • Application Lifecycle Management – 8%
      • Installation, Configuration & Validation – 12%
      • Core Concepts – 19%
      • Networking – 11%
      • Scheduling – 5%
      • Security – 12%
      • Cluster Maintenance – 11%
      • Logging / Monitoring – 5%
      • Storage – 7%
      • Troubleshooting – 10%
    • I was not stretched for time for CKA, as compared to CKAD, and was through with the my first attempt in 90 minutes, I took next 30 minutes to review and was done with the exam in 2 hours. However,  I skipped a question with 8%, but that shouldn’t have had a huge impact.
    • Exam questions can be attempted in any order and doesn’t have to be sequential.
    • Each exam question carries a 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.
    • 6-8 different K8s clusters are provisioned. 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 base node. However, pay attention to check for the node 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. Commands are provided. Make sure you use the sudo -i command for running docker commands.
    • 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.
    • CKA was already upgraded to use k8s 1.18 version and kubectl run commands did not work for me. Use kubectl create commands to create deployments.
    • Make sure you know the imperative commands to create resources, as you won’t have time to time to create and edit yaml files.
    • If you need to edit further use --dry-run -o yaml to get a headstart with spec yaml file and edit the same.
    • I personally use alias kk=kubectl to avoid typing kubectl

System Admin Training

CKA Learning Path

CKA Key Topics

Application Lifecycle Management

Installation, Configuration & Validation

Core Concepts

Networking

Scheduling

Security

Cluster Maintenance

Logging / Monitoring

  • Understand and know how to monitor all cluster components, applications, cluster and application logs
  • Know resource usage monitoring as you would be needed to check resource usage using the kubectl top command
  • Know how to Debug running pods using the kubectl logs command

Storage

Troubleshooting

  • Practice Debug application for troubleshooting application failures
  • Practice Debug cluster for troubleshooting control plane failure and worker node failure.
    • Understand the control plane architecture.
    • Focus on kube-apiserver, static pod config which causes the control panel pods to be referred and deployed.
    • Check pods in kube-system if they are all running. Use docker ps -a command on the node to inspect the reason for exiting containers.
    • Check kubelet service if the worker node is shown not ready
  • Troubleshoot networking

General information and practices

  • You can book the exam from CNCF CKA Certification @ $300. Avail limited time 30% discount coupon.
  • 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.
  • Exam proctor will be watching you always, so refrain from doing any other activities. Your screen is also always shared.
  • I did not have any warnings with the Proctor, except for a request to have camera focused.
  • You would need to install a Google Chrome plugin and the exam provides a web based shell to work on which worked quite well without any glitches. 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 good type and modify text instead of using VI editor.

All the Best ..

3 thoughts on “Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA Learning Path

    1. Depends on your knowledge about applications, packaging, docker, containers and orchestration. You would really need to deep dive into this concepts if you want to understand and clear the certification.

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