Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) Exam Details, how to prepare and tips to pass the exam.

Date: 06/07/2021

CKAD exam is an online, proctored, performance-based test that consists of a set of performance-based tasks (problems) to be solved in a command line. Candidates have 2 hours to complete 19 tasks.

Exam Curriculum:

  • Core Concepts : 13%
    1. Understand Kubernetes API primitives
    2. Create and Configure Basic Pods
  • Configuration : 18 %
    1. Understand ConfigMaps
    2. Understand SecurityContexts
    3. Define an application’s resource requirements
    4. Create & consume Secrets
    5. Understand ServiceAccounts
  • Multi-Container Pods : 10%
    1. Understand Multi-Container Pod design patterns (e .g. ambassador, adapter, sidecar)
  • Observability : 18%
    1. Understand LivenessProbes and ReadinessProbes
    2. Understand container logging
    3. Understand how to monitor applications in Kubernetes
    4. Understand debugging in Kubernetes
  • Pod Design : 20%
    1. Understand how to use Labels, Selectors, and Annotations
    2. Understand Deployments and how to perform rolling updates
    3. Understand Deployments and how to perform rollbacks
    4. Understand Jobs and CronJobs
  • Services & Networking : 13%
    1. Understand Services
    2. Demonstrate basic understanding of NetworkPolicies
  • State Persistence : 8%
    1. Understand Persistent Volume Claims for storage

How to Prepare ?

The scope of the CKAD examination is well defined. If you count the subtopics of the curriculum provided above there will be 19 items, so does the 19 examination questions. As the scope is well defined learning is easy, but as the examination is hands on you have to practice them well. Practice all the 19 subtopics. You will definitely get at least one question from each topic.

For example, there would be questions like Create a config map and use it to define an environment variable in a pod container in a particular namespace. We have to do it quickly otherwise we will ran out of time easily.

Plural Sight, acloudguru have courses for CKAD. Udemy has a CKAD course from Mumshad mannambeth with awesome labs to practice. Kubernetes training have their own official training. Try either one of the courses or at least two of them(if you are new to Kubernetes) based on your personal/corporate membership you have and available time.

After getting a good grasp of the curriculum concepts, you can test your understanding / practice the exercises available in the below link. It has exercises to practice by each curriculum topic. As there are many contributors we can see a wide variety of useful commands and shortcuts.


Examination tips:

We can take the examination from home. A remote proctor will monitor us during the course of the exam.

Link to register for the examination: https://training.linuxfoundation.org/certification/certified-kubernetes-application-developer-ckad/

Exam Cost: 300 USD. If we fail the first attempt we can retake the exam without any additional cost.

A screen shot of the exam environment is provided below:

As you can see the questions/tasks will be on the left side and the terminal to do the tasks will be on the right. Each question will be marked a weightage like 2% 4% or 6% or 7% or 8% or 11% or …. for a total of 100%. You can skip questions and come back later as needed. Especially if you see some big questions with lot of tasks for a 2% score, you can safely ignore and move to the next one. Once you are done with the examination you will know the result within 3 business days.

The CKAD exam environment will have 4 clusters. At the start of each task you’ll be provided with the command to ensure you are on the correct cluster to complete the task. We can just click the command to copy from the left pane and paste it in the terminal before starting the tasks.

You are allowed to open one additional tab in order to access assets at: https://kubernetes.io/docs/, https://github.com/kubernetes/, https://kubernetes.io/blog/ and their subdomains.

No other tabs may be opened and no other sites may be navigated to (including https://discuss.kubernetes.io/).

The exam candidates are not expected to memorize any commands / yaml. Just they need to know how to quickly refer the docs at: https://kubernetes.io/docs/. It will be very useful and it is the main tip for passing the examination

Tip 1: Know where the commands and yml configs are at https://kubernetes.io/docs/.

Tip 2: You should know the imperative commands by heart to save time during the exam and if you forget some of them https://kubernetes.io/docs/reference/kubectl/cheatsheet/ is a good reference point.

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