I am Happy to share with you all that i have completed my CKA exam recently through The Linux Foundation Certification program. The exam consisted of 17 scenario based questions of varying difficulty level. I secured 73 % in this exam and the passing percentage is 66 %. The time constraint is the main factor in this exam and if you are able to manage it properly have done enough practice you should be able to clear it without any issue. Though my score is above the passing score, i could have done a bit more better but i am fine with it as i knew which things i messed up with in the exam so i can concentrate more upon.
Here in this article i would like to share my experience of achieving this certification so that if anybody is planning to do this certification would help them.
So lets get started..
Pre-requisite for the Exam Preparation
Having a good understanding of the Linux is much needed for this exam as this exam is based on Linux machines hosting the Kubernetes cluster components. Also to note a point is that the Control Plane components can only be provisioned and run on the Linux machines only as of today. Though, there is support for hosting the worker nodes on Windows machine for managing you application containers or workloads.
You need to have a good knowledge on the Linux command line utilities, basic bash scripting, networking knowlege, filesystem management knowledge and Linux namespaces which is the core concept on which containerization of application is modeled.
Having good understanding of Containerisation will help you in learning kubernetes concepts easily. The understanding of container images, building an image, image registry, volume management, networking, container commands and arguments usage will help you in understanding how these concepts correlate under kubernetes orchestration platform.
Preparing for the Exam
For any certification exam the first and foremost thing is to know the Objective that needs to be covered to prepare for the exam. From the CKA exam perspective these are the areas of focus which anyone willing to take an exam should learn and get a good understanding.
|Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration
|Workloads & Scheduling
|Services & Networking
For more detailed information on each domain you can go through the following link.
So, what are the ways we can learn for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam. Let’s explore on some of the options.
There are many courses available in Udemy from which you can choose and learn for this certificate exam. Some of them which i feel align pretty well from the Exam Objective perspective are below. In my view, both of these course did a great work in preparing the course to align it for the CKA exam.
If you are interested in doing a deep learning, the below course does a great job is getting you from understanding the docker concepts to learning the kubernetes concepts.
Kubernetes documentation is one of the other ways you can try to learn for the CKA exam. Though going through the documentation is not going to that easy as it contains more than what is required for the CKA exam, but if you have good focus and interest in going through product documentation, you can try to learn from it.
I would suggest that you first go through the Tutorials section and get a basic idea about the Kubernetes orchestration platform and tools through some basic examples using the katacoda learning platform. Here is the link for the same.
Once you familiarze with the basic structure of kubernetes platform by running some example applications using the tutorials and exposing the applications as services you can head over to the tasks sections of the documentation. Here is the link for the same.
The tasks section of the documentation is so well written with all the tasks that any kubernetes user might required to carry out if they are going to use the kubernetes as their orchestration engine. This section has been divided very well with detailed examples and their expected results. If you can go through all of these task example and run through them on any kubernetes cluster installed locally using minikube or using any cloud provisioned kubernetes cluster you will get a good grip on the problem solving. The reason i insist on getting understanding each task and executing to understand how to achieve a particular task in kubernetes. In this way you will get a good hands on expose which will help you prepare for the CKA exam which is all scenario based which need to implemented on live clusters.
Once you have got a grip on the tutorials and tasks section of the documentation, you can get on to the concepts section which will help you understand about the kubernetes components from theoretical perspective. Here is the link for the same.
The approach that i took for preparing for the CKA exam is i registered for the course in udemy and completed it. Then i gone through the task sections of the documentation and tried to execute then on my own cluster setup to get a better understanding and hands on experience. This will make you ready for the exam which is all scenario based with different clusters provided to work upon the tasks. I also gone through the concepts section of the documentation on important topics to get a better understanding.
Its always better to go through the documentation for the topic that you are learning through courses as they might be outdated or may be working on older version.
Here are some of the important links that i bookmarked before taking the exam. As this exam is time constrained, it would be easy and quick for you to go directly to the bookmarked section rather than searching through the documentation during the exam time which will waste you precious time.
Familiarising yourself with the Kubernetes documentation is a must as you can utilise a lot of information like example yaml files for any specif task, kubeclt commands and cheat sheet. If you are able to quickly recollect the documentation section for any particular scenario on the exam that you greatly help in solving the problem and save you a lot of time. Otherwise you will end up preparing thing from the scratch which might take up a lot of time.
Registering for the CKA Exam
You can register for the exam from The Linux Foundation website which provides this certification. Here is the link for the same. As of today the exam cost is $375 but before purchasing the exam look for any discount code which might be available to reduce your cost. Every now and then some new voucher codes appear which provide a good discount.
Once you have registered for the exam, make sure the machine on which you are going to take the exam meets the requirements. You need to install a Screen sharing browser extension which will be used for screen sharing and audio streaming which will be monitored by the online proctor while you are taking the exam. Also please go through the Candidate Handbook and Important Instructions for details.
I took the exam on my Fedora 32 machine with Chrome browser without any issues.
The most important thing once you registered for the exam you get two simulator exam sessions which are provided by killer.sh. If you are able to complete the simulator exams with good percentage within the timeline you should be good to go for the CKA exam.
Taking the CKA Exam
Be calm and make sure you are working on the correct cluster and keep a tap on your time. There will be approximately 17 – 20 questions, so make sure you are not spending more then required time on each question. If you are stuck somewhere you can just note down about that questions and move ahead. Once you attempted all the questions then make a second pass through the questions which you could not complete. The online proctor will be alerting you when its 30 min or 15 min of time left for your exam to complete.
I was left with 30 min to have a second pass through the questions which i could not solve in first pass and could resolve two of them and submitted my exam.