If you do a quick search online, you'll quickly notice that many people claim that they have taken and passed the CKA and CKAD examinations. In case you are wondering what that means, the CKAD is the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer exam, while the CKA is the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam.
Like most tech certification exams, CKA and CKAD exams require adequate preparation to pass. From my experience, I know that with the right materials and strategy, you can pass both exams within a month.
This article covers CKA and CKAD exams and the curriculum details. It also contains tips on how to approach both exams.
CKAD Examination Details
CKAD exams test your knowledge in managing and deploying applications to a Kubernetes cluster. You can pass this 2 hours exam with zero coding experience: the questions revolve around deploying given applications. Note that this is easier than the CKA exam.
Here is the CKAD Curriculum.
Check out CKAD Course. This hands-on course comes with an integrated hands-on lab experience.
CKA Examination Details
The CKA exam focuses on managing and operating the Kubernetes cluster, including troubleshooting. The exam is problem-based, and you are required to complete the different weighted questions within 3 hours. You solve the problems on the CLI or by writing manifest files. You are free to refer to Kubernetes Docs and Blogs during the exam.
Here is the CKA Curriculum.
Also, check out our CKA Course. This hands-on course comes with an integrated hands-on lab experience.
Ensure you read the curriculums to know what you are expected to know. If you are preparing for CKA, CKAD is an easy add-on. You can target to achieve CKAD 2-3 weeks after CKA.
Note: You need to score at least 66% to pass the CKAD exam and at least 74% to pass the CKA exam. Both exams offer one free retake if you don’t pass the first time.
Helpful Tips for Examination Preparation
1. Utilize the Kubernetes Documentation
Read the entire exam curriculum and its relevant pages to understand it properly. This will help you know where to search for information from the Kubernetes Docs when needed. These are the websites you are allowed to reference during the exam:
2. Check out the following Books
There are a couple of books that are useful for anyone who plans to take these exams. They are going to help you prepare appropriately, especially if you want a deeper understanding of the Kubernetes cluster. You do not need all of them. Make a selection of one or two and concentrate your studies on those selections:
- Free PDF by Heptio. You can get this here.
- Book by Heptio - Managing Kubernetes
- Book – Kubernetes: Up and Running
- Book – Kubernetes
- Book – Kubernetes Azure
- Book – Kubernetes
3. Take advantage of mock exams
If you are taking the CKAD exam, this GitHub repo has a set of exercises to help you prepare for the exam.
If you are taking CKA, check out our comprehensive CKA mock exam series. This mock exam is robust and mimics the CKA exam environment.
4. Work on Your Debugging Skills
For CKA – you should learn how to troubleshoot the cluster. I recommend reading the following pages to up your debugging skills:
5. Learn Installation, Configuration, and Validation
Still on CKA – learn how to install, configure, and validate a Kubernetes cluster. Some excellent materials to study these concepts are:
6. Use the Kubectl Cheat Sheet
For both the CKA and CKAD examinations – it is essential to find a quick route to achieve your goals through the use of Kubectl because the duration of the exams is limited. CKAD is usually 2 hours, while CKA is 3 hours. Knowing shortcuts is going to help you work faster. This website contains all the shortcuts and kubectl commands you need to know:
7. Taking Online Courses
In addition to the above-listed resources, it would also be helpful to take a course online. Some guidance would be necessary if you do not know the subject at hand or if you want to advance your skills. The following courses will be beneficial to you:
- Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) with Practice Tests
- Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
The courses above are worth the money because they are thorough and well-structured. You can also use the hands-on labs' challenges until you fully understand them.
8. Find a Conducive environment
On the exam day, ensure you have access to a quiet environment. This will allow you to remain focused while taking the exam and ensure you don’t violate the examiners' rules. Also, ensure your computer has a reliable internet connection during the 2-3 hours you’ll take the exam.
Helpful Tips During the Examination
Identification – before the exam, all candidates are supposed to present a photo identification issued by the government. In most cases, your international passport is sufficient. You can read the Candidate Handbook for more information.
- Testing Room – for the test, you need to prepare a room. This room should be well-lit, private, and quiet.
- Virtual screen – The use of multiple monitors is going to be helpful to you. You can look up the Kubernetes resource on one screen while deploying Kubernetes resources on another screen.
- Command aliases – to further reduce the time you require to type in commands, it is helpful to set up an alias or aliases.
- Searchability – you can search and make use of the Kubernetes.io pages. Don’t give up when you face a tough question. Search through the Kubernetes.io pages by typing some keywords and searching. On this website, you might get lucky and discover some right answers or hints.
- Manage your time well – Focus on the solvable questions first. You can spend the remaining time you have on these difficult questions. However, it would be best if you endeavored to attempt all the easy questions first.
The video below explains the Kubernetes Certifications - CKA and CKAD - and how they can help your career.
In the video below, you will learn how to register for the exams and how long it would take to prepare and attempt them.
It is essential to review and understand all the relevant pages on kubernetes.io and the exam curriculum. You only have to understand and not memorize the information you get. Additionally, master the basic management commands, cluster operations, and Linux commands.
In summary, you should take a course, work on several practice exams, and do as many exercises as you can to prepare for the exam.