Certified Kubernetes Application Developer CKAD Learning Path

CKAD Certification

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer CKAD Learning Path

Finally moving a bit away from the Clouds (AWS and GCP) and as my involvement grew more with Kubernetes, I decided to challenge myself for the Kubernetes certification. I started with the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer and am happy to share that I cleared it in the first attempt with 84%.

  • 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
  • Unlike AWS and GCP certifications, you would be required to solve, debug actual problems, and provision resources on a live Kubernetes cluster.
  • It is surely one of the most challenging exams, I have appeared for in recent times.
  • 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%
  • CKA requires you to solve 24 questions in 3 hours.
  • CKAD exam has been upgraded and requires you to solve 15-18 questions in 2 hours
  • CKAD 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.

CKAD 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 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.
  • 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

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 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 …