In the following post I share my thoughts and resources I used in preperation for the CKAD exam.

Table of Contents

  1. Context
  2. My Objectives
  3. Practice tools and Study Guides
  4. The Exam

Context

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer or “CKAD”

A certification from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which validates that users can design, build, configure, and expose cloud native applications for Kubernetes.

Why did you pursue this certification?

I pursued this certification because Syapse switched to a microservices architecture at using Kubernetes. My thought process was that this would be a great way to validate my skills learned over the past two years during the migration.

My Objectives

  • Pass the exam!
  • Grasp the concepts in building and maintaining Kubernetes applications.
  • Share what I have learned.

Practice tools and Study Guides

  • Certified Kubernetes Application Developer Udemy Course

    • I started my studies with this Udemy course taught by Mumshad Mannambeth. His course stepped through all concepts that are covered by the current exam. A nice bonus is that there are labs that accompany each lesson and two practice exams.
  • dgkanatsios’ Study Guide

    • Dgkanatsios prepared a set of exercises to prepare for Certified Kubernetes Application Developer exam.
    • Github link

Tools

  • Killer.sh

    • A test environment built to mimic the real exam. The CKAD Simulator came with 20 scenarios in which you attempt solve in the same 2 hours. When time expires you get access to the solutions and an automated score.
  • minikube

    • minikube is local Kubernetes, focusing on making it easy to learn and develop for Kubernetes. This works great with free resources like dgkanatsios’ Study Guide linked above.

    • # mac users who get stuck on docker/virtualbox
      brew install virtualbox
      minikube start --vm-driver virtualbox
      
    • Know enough Vim to get by

    • Knowing to select, delete and copy quickly will help speed up your efficiency.

    • h j k l or arrow keys movement

    • i enter insert mode

    • dd delete current line

    • u undo last action

    • Ctrl + r redo last action

    • p delete current line

    • v visually select multiple lines

    • y yank/copy

    • :set number Adds numbers to the gutter

    • :wq save and quit

    The Exam

    Question Format

    In the namespace yellow there is a deployment named webapp. Team Yellow needs it to be more reliable. Please add a liveness-probe which checks the container on port 80. Instruct the probe to wait 10 seconds before probing and periodically check every 15 seconds. The original deployment yaml is available at /webapp.yaml. Save your changes at /answer/wabapp-new.yaml.

    Tips

    • If you use any extra tools in your day job to make your life easier (kubens) be mindful that they will not be available on test day.
    • Proactively make bookmarks when studying to use on exam day. Just make sure to only use one additional tab.
    • Make use of the provided cheatsheet in the k8s docs.
    • Use Autocompletion

    • source <(kubectl completion bash)
      echo "source <(kubectl completion bash)" >> ~/.bashrc
      
  • Alias kubectl to k

    • alias k=kubectl
      complete -F __start_kubectl k
      
    • The exam happens in the browser and the provided terminal can be laggy and quite clumsy at times.

    • kubectl explain and kubectl --help are the fastest way to get answers if you get stuck.

    • If you are having trouble with a question flag it for later.

    • For every question you are given a context command. Get in the habbit of running it before each question as you don’t want to mix up environments. There are 4.

    Exam Day

    Make sure you read the instructions!

    The test…

    • The CKAD is 20 questions with tasks.
    • You have 2 hours to complete the exam.
    • Tasks are solved in the command line on Linux.
    • The exams are proctored via streaming audio, video, and screen sharing feeds.
    • Results will be emailed 36 hours from the time that the exam is completed.

    Closing thoughts

    • Practice practice practice. “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.”
    • My results appeared at the 36 hour mark. Waiting was worse than the preperation.
    • Practicing with a clock builds confidence.
    • Best of Luck!