How to pass CKAD with confidence
March 19 2020 was the day i cleared my CKAD exam. I started my journey with kubernetes sometime back in Aug 2019. I have been studying and building microservices since last 4 years and had the concepts clear on containerization. To be honest with you, my background is in the application development and implementation side but looking at how kubernetes can be used to manage our containers on cloud inspired me to explore the area. The explanation provided below is solely based on my observation and experience and should help individuals who have no hands-on experience with Kubernetes.
About the battle (Exam):-
- Since you have decided to appear for CKAD, you probably know who the organizer is and what is the format of the exam. You can find more information on it here :- https://www.cncf.io/certification/ckad/
- Exam is complete hands-on. No multiple choice question answer format.
- You will be provided challenges in a multi clustered environment. Based on the question you will have to switch between the clusters.
- 19 questions in 2 hours. The think and execute time is approx 6 minutes. That’s not a lot of time when you have to understand, code, deploy and validate.
- Complete Online and you will be sharing your screen all the time with Procter who will be monitoring your activities.
- In the exam, you will encounter both long and short questions.
Preparing for the battle (Exam) :-
- As most people say, know what you are going for.
- Go through the curriculum and stick to it. Current exam version at the time of writing this post is 1.18. There is already a lot to go through so stick to the topics.
- Start learning about kubernetes and each of the resources covered under the exam curriculum in detail. Start with a good book, understand it and try to visualize the topic. My recommendation is https://www.manning.com/books/kubernetes-in-action.
But you can find one that suits your style.
- Once you are done with the book, pick up an online course. Whatever vendor you choose is up to you and depends on the money you want to invest. Make sure they provide you the platform or a single cluster lab to play around with. My recommendation is https://manh.udemy.com/course/certified-kubernetes-application-developer/
- If you don’t want the video lessons then install minikube on your machine and start your journey.
- Practice, Practice and Practice. Test is all about commands and how you use those commands to manage the resources of kubernetes. As mentioned above, you can only do this part if you are clear (Clear on concepts) on what you are doing or what need to be done. Here is the comprehensive list :-
- Be fast. Once you have become good with the commands you will try to figure out the shortcut. There are ways to do that and here is the snippet: https://kubernetes.io/docs/reference/kubectl/overview/
- Get used to Kubernetes documentation. You are allowed to access it during the exam. So know the documentation by heart and learn where and how to find the resources .
- Learn linux commands. Yes unfortunately you have to know unix/linux commands and should have basic knowledge about the os, file system and commands.
- Learn the editor. Vi/Vim/nano. These are the only three that are allowed. What ever you chose you have to be comfortable with it. You will be editing lots of YAML files, so get used to the editor.
- Skip the long questions, keep a note of the question and come back to it later. Make sure you finish the short ones and other not so long questions within 1.5 hours and leave at least 1/2 hour for the long ones.
- Here are some of the references you will find that will help you practice during the exam :-
- Practice Kubernetes tasks for all CKAD concepts
- Kubernetes App Development (book and exercises): https://matthewpalmer.net/kubernetes-app-developer
- This is not our regular typical certification exam, so even if you fail in the first attempt don’t get discouraged. At the time of posting this, you get another free attempt. As soon as you are done with the test note down all the things you remember during the exam, such as, areas where you think you will have to focus more, topics you need to get familiarized with.
- Passing CKAD was an awesome and fulfilling experience! Wish you all the best for a successful attempt.
Best of luck with your CKAD exam!