Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) - Everything you need to know

The preparations and the CKAD exam are behind me. So the time has come to summarize and write down experiences that may help someone of you pass this exam. In this post, I will try to introduce you to Kubernetes certification. I will present materials that will help you prepare well for the CKAD exam. I will also post some tips that will definitely be useful during the exam.

What does the CKAD exam look like?

The Kubernetes Certification Program is under the care of Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), in collaboration with The Linux Foundation. It is this authority that is the issuer of the certificate. The Kubernetes exams differ from other cloud exams. All Kubernetes exams (CKAD, CKA, CKS) are 100% practical. You will not encounter any open or closed questions here. The exam consists of solving tasks on the Kubernetes cluster that will be made available to you during the exam. Your only working tool will be the terminal. Yes, the terminal. This is why mastering the terminal and tools like vim is very important.

In my opinion, this form of certification is much more interesting than a set of multiple-choice questions. First of all, during the preparation, you will learn not only the theory, but you will gain skills that will be useful in your later work with K8s. If you already have experience working with Kubernetes, you may find that you don’t need to prepare much for such an exam.

The exam is a fight against time. We get 19 exercises that we have to solve in 2 hours. Each question has a specific percentage of weight. From tasks for 2% to tasks for up to 13%. Often this weight is not adequate for the complexity of the task. There will be tasks that will require two console commands to be solved. There will also be more complicated ones that need a few minutes.

What does the CKAD exam environment look like

The exam is carried out using the Training Portal platform. Below I am enclosing a drawing showing what the exam environment looks like.

  1. The exam is taken in the browser. To the main exam window, you have the option of using one extra tab where you can open one of the below domains
  2. A bar will be visible here showing the time remaining in the exam (without the exact minutes). Next to the timer, there is a drop-down list with all the questions
  3. In the exam, you will work on several k8s clusters. With each question, you will be prompted to set the appropriate context. Command to set this context will be visible in this box. It is important to use this command before each task to not perform the task on the wrong cluster
  4. This field will show the content of the task and its point weight. Tasks will often name the resources you are about to create. By clicking on the name you can copy it to the clipboard and paste it into the terminal.
  5. Function bar. In this bar, you will have access to chat with the protector, open the notebook, or the button ending the exam early. You will learn how useful a notebook can be later in this post.
  6. Terminal window. It is large and legible enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to open another window. However, there is an option to use the tmux tool, which allows you to split a single window into several small parts

Basic information about the CKAD exam

How to prepare for the CKAD exam?

There is a lot of material on the Internet about Kubernetes. It is not the trick to find learning materials, but to select the most valuable ones. Below I will list materials that I think will prepare you well for certification. In my case, the preparation for the exam was also my first contact with work at K8s. Previously, I was only familiar with the concept of this platform. I spent about 2 months preparing, but it was not very intensive and regular. However, it allowed me to pass the exam on the first attempt and get a 99% result.

CKAD Tips & Tricks

It’s time for the most interesting point of this post. Here are some tips that I hope you will find useful during your exam

1. 6% OK # not done
2. 13% NOK # done
3. 2% CHECK # done, but required verificatiom

N. 4% OK

Instead of a notepad, you can use a text file that you can edit with vim. It is possible that in the case of restarting the environment, the contents of the notepad will disappear, while the file will not

sudo -i # immediately after starting exam, I recommend switching to root so that we are not surprised by the lack of some access# 1. ~/.bashrc configuration
# The following configuration can be found at:
# https://kubernetes.io/docs/reference/kubectl/cheatsheet/#kubectl-autocomplete
# aliases must be remembered
source <(kubectl completion bash)
echo “source <(kubectl completion bash)” >> ~/.bashrc
alias k=kubectl
complete -F __start_kubectl k
alias change-ns=”kubectl config set-context — current — namespace ” # Namespace change
alias current-ns=”kubectl config view — minify | grep namespace” # Display the current namespace
# You can also try a few additional aliases, for example:
alias kap=”kubectl apply -f”
alias kgp=”k get pods -o wide — show-labels”
# 2. ~/.vimrc configuration
# The following configuration will set the tabs and indents appropriately, so that created yaml files will have correct structure
set nu et sw=2 ts=2

Developer, Engineer, and Cloud Enthusiastic. AWS, GCP, and K8S certified. Polish home page: https://cloud-box.pl

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