Certified Kubernetes Administrator CKA Learning Path

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

  • CKA exam curriculum includes these general domains and their weights on the exam:
    • Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration – 25%
    • Workloads & Scheduling – 15%
    • Services & Networking – 20%
    • Storage  – 10%
    • Troubleshooting – 30%
  • CKA requires you to solve 24 questions in 3 hours.
  • CKA exam has been upgraded and requires you to solve 15-20 questions in 2 hours
  • CKA was already upgraded to use the k8s 1.22 version.
  • You are allowed to open another browser tab which can be from kubernetes.io or other products 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 move ahead and come back later.

CKA Exam Preparation and Tips

  • I used the courses from KodeKloud for practicing and it would good enough to cover what is required for the exam.
  • When you book your exam, there are 2 exam simulator sessions provided by killer.sh. These mock exams are VERY tough as compared to the actual exams, as they mention, but do provide a great learning experience. Do not get demotivated if you flunk badly on time on this one :).
  • I was not stretched for time for CKA, as compared to CKAD, and was through with my first attempt in 90 minutes, I took the 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
  • 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.
  • The exam is provided by killer.sh with 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.
  • With CKS is important to move the master node for any changes to the cluster kube-apiserver .
  • 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 -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

CKA Learning Path

CKA Key Topics

Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration – 25%

Workloads & Scheduling – 15%

Services & Networking – 20%

Storage – 10%

Troubleshooting – 30%

  • Practice CKA Exercises – Troubleshooting
  • Evaluate cluster and node logging
  • Understand how to monitor applications
  • Manage container stdout & stderr logs
  • Troubleshoot application failure
  • Troubleshoot cluster component failure
    • 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



CKA 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 be watching you always, so refrain from doing any 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 VI editor.

All the Best …