Study Guide: Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Exam

In collaboration with the Linux Foundation, the Certified Kubernetes administrator (CKA) program was created to enhance and develop the Kubernetes ecosystem. With the certification, administrators are given a chance to establish strong credibility and worth in the job market.

Now, in particular, cloud computing is becoming more and more useful in the tech industry. Competition is equally at per with so many now in the field. If you are looking to stand out, this certification will come in handy.

It will provide you with the assurance, knowledge, and confidence to perform the responsibilities set for a Kubernetes administrator. That is if you do well in the exam.

In all honesty, it is also important to mention that the CKA exam is not a typical work in the park. Unlike the usual multiple questions exam, this exam will require you to solve several command-line problems.

For this reason, it will be very important to be thorough and intentional when preparing for the exam. You will need to source all the critical material; you will need to continually practice and all the help you can get to ace the CKA exam.

Luckily enough, in this guide, we are going to cover as much as we can on what you should expect on the certified Kubernetes administrator exam. Besides, we will go through a few techniques that should help you tackle the exam, just like a pro.

What is covered in the CKA certification exam

First things, first! Do you know what the exam actually checks?

Before you start the training, you need first to know what will be covered in the exam. That way, you know what topics to start reading on and what materials you will require to facilitate your training.

Just as they say it, proper preparation prevents poor performance. You will need to be smart and organized about your entire preparation to ensure your success.

On that note, below are the sections that will make up the Kubernetes exam. Each section will contribute a certain percentage towards your overall score. As we precisely go over each topic, the respective percentage will also be included.

Let’s get started. Here are the ten sections to expect.

Domain% of Examination
Application lifecycle management8% of your score
Installation, configuration, and validation12% of your score
Core concepts19% of your score
Networking11% of your score
Scheduling5% of your score
Security12% of your score
Cluster Maintenance11% of your score
Logging/ Monitoring5% of your score
Storage7% of your score
Troubleshooting10% of your score
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Exam Domain: Application lifecycle management

The test begins with a basic understanding of the application lifecycle management. The exam will want to evaluate whether you understand what it is and what makes up the cycle.

As an administrator, you will need to be very familiar with the integrated teams and how effective you can make use of the cycle in an organization.

This section will weigh 8% of the overall exam score. It is among the very valuable sections that will be very dependent on the other sections in the exam.

To come out successfully, you will require an excellent and deep understanding of the section.

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Exam Domain: Installation, configuration, and validation

This section makes the second part of the exam. It is weighed 12%, a relatively more significant percentage than most of the other sections. This is where the real configuration starts.

You can call this the “how to get started” section. It includes all the necessary installation, configurations, and validations required to set up and run Kubernetes. Having a couple of options available, the exam will want to know how acquainted you are to each or either of them.

Kubernet.io has a very exclusive CKA study guide on this section. Pretty sure you can pick up a lot from such a source.

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Exam Domain: Core concepts

Now, on to the real determiner, core concepts. Just as the name suggests, this section involves all the fundamental concepts that make up the entire course. For this reason, it weighs 19%, which is actually the highest percentage per section.

The exam will test your understanding of Kubernetes API primitives and cluster architecture in full. From the control panel to the add-on components. It will also require you to understand services and other network primitives. A little complex, but rewarding with the right preparation.

Clearly, this means that it is a section you will need to be very thorough and careful because even the smallest mistake could cost you.

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Exam Domain: Networking

This will be the fourth section of your CKA exam. It will constitute a good 11% of your overall score. From the percentage, it is evident the section is also very engaging and equally very important for your achievements.

To perform, you will need an understanding of the networking configuration on the cluster nodes. In addition, you must have the POD networking concepts and service networking on your fingertips. It will also be vital to know how to configure and use cluster DNS and ingress rules.

Again, this may sound like A LOT to learn and understand, but with the relevant online materials like Pluralsight, you have nothing to worry about. Pluralsight has 2 Learning Paths focusing on Kubernetes Administration subject, and one of them more on the Kubernetes development side of things:

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Exam Domain: Scheduling

As a Kubernetes administrator, you must know how to use label selectors to schedule PODs effectively. Among other things, this is why the scheduling section is included in the exam.

Although it weighs only 5%, this section is quite as broad and important.

Expect questions on how to run multiple schedulers, how resource limits can affect POD scheduling, among others. It will also test your understanding of the role of daemon sets as well as display scheduler events.

It will, therefore, be essential to take enough time training on the section with the same attention and keenness as the other high weighing sections. This section is equally as important.

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Exam Domain: Security

The section on security is another broad and comprehensive section as it weighs 12% on the CKA exam.

Security is also a susceptible topic in the tech industry because safety will constantly be on the test. You are, therefore, required to understand how to configure authentication and authorization.

The exam will also expect you to be comfortable with all the Kubernetes security primitives and know how to design network policies. In other words, you will be tested in all areas related to Kubernetes security. From all the security contexts to the TLS certificates for cluster components.

Confirm you have all the facts right.

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Exam Domain: Cluster Maintenance

Cluster maintenance makes the seventh section on the exam. It constitutes 11% of your overall score on the exam. This makes it very essential and a huge determining factor in how you are likely to perform.

The exam will evaluate how conversant you are with the Kubernetes cluster upgrade process. Do you understand the system in-depth? How do you facilitate system upgrades? Can you comfortably and effectively implement backup and restore methodologies?

If you are looking to pass the CKA exam, among other sections, this one will be critical.

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Exam Domain: Logging / Monitoring

This topic takes only 5%, a small section, of the overall score. This is not to mean that you do not need to prepare for the section fully.

The exam can be quite involving, and therefore you must be prepared at all costs. For instance, you will be expected to understand how to monitor all cluster components fully, all applications included.

You will also most likely be tested on how to manage cluster logs as well as application logs. Again, it may only weigh 5% on the exam, but the knowledge will be imperative and constantly useful as a Kubernetes administrator.

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Exam Domain: Storage

Volumes and storage objects are among the fundamental concepts in the tech industry. Especially in cloud computing, understanding persistent volumes and knowing how to create them will be vital.

This section will check your understanding of all storage aspects. Do you understand Kubernetes storage objects? Are you familiar with storage classes for dynamic provisioning? Can you configure applications with persistent storage?

To acquire 7% from the section, you will need to have all these aspects well understood and practiced beforehand. Again storage is essential, so make use of the online courses at your disposal for better results.

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Exam Domain: Troubleshooting

Last but not least, onto the last section on the exam that will weigh a heavy 10%. As a Kubernetes administrator, you can never escape troubleshooting. Application and networking failures will always be there.

This topic is, therefore, beneficial for any administrator in general. The exam will, therefore, be comprehensive and will require you to be very trained and competent when it comes to troubleshooting.

Some of the problems you will be expected to handle will include troubleshooting worker node failure, control plane failure, networking and application failures. To ace these tests, Udemy (Udemy Review article) has a number of practice tests you can make use of.

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A beginner’s guide on Kubernetes

As a beginner, all this information may seem already too overwhelming for you. You are probably wondering what all these big words mean. As a result, it may all seem quite complicated when, in fact, it is not.

For that reason, it is advisable first to have at least a basic understanding of Kubernetes and know how to deploy applications before taking the exam. It will also be beneficial to understand how to set up replica sets, services, and deployments on Kubernetes beforehand.

All in all, just to put it all out there, Kubernetes is not among the smooth and straight forward topics. The command-line is a tough subject to juggle alone. It is therefore recommended to acquire all the help you can get. This article will suggest a few ideas that should guide you as a beginner in Kubernetes.

To help you get started, consider taking this beginner-friendly course from Udemy. The course includes several hands-on practice tests that will guide you through in the easiest way possible. Besides, the course consists of fun coding exercises that will keep you motivated all the way.

All you need is a primary system administration and access to a laptop or system for all the setup.

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How to ace the CKA Certification Exam: Tips and tricks

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam is among the paid examinations that will cost you a reasonable $300 to take the exam. Although this amount includes an extra retake in case you fail, you know by all means you have to pass the exam. Failure will mean you will have to budget for another $300.

It is also important to note that you will only have three hours to pass the exam. With all the pressure, it may seem a little difficult and overwhelming, especially for a beginner. Luckily enough, this article is going to suggest some solutions you can employ.

Among other techniques, the practice remains the best and most effective methods you can use to ace the CKA exam. Take it from Aristotle, “If you have to learn something before you do it, learn by doing it.” In other words, before you take the exam, learn by doing a couple of practice tests.

Get familiar with the questions and perhaps get used to the timing. Take advantage of sites like Udemy (CKA EXAM with practice tests) and practice as much as you can. The more you do it, the higher your chances of passing the exam. It’s that simple.

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How to optimize your study: Instructions

Now that you have all the necessary materials required for you to pass, it does not end there. The study process begins, and how you choose to do it will be vital. It has to be very intentional and consistent for the best possible results.

To do this, you will need to optimize your study as much as you can. In other words, use that time in the best way possible to maximize the amount of information you take and retain. Check out a few tips and tricks that will guide you through as you aim to study smart.

First, to ensure consistency, consider fixing your study schedule within your normal or reasonable day to day routine. Find some free time, preferably in the most productive hours, and use it to study. This way, it will be easier to quickly jump in for a comprehensive study without so much of a push.

Second, to ensure intention, out of the many available online courses, choose the one that works best for you. If possible, find a well-organized and complete guide you can follow from a beginner level all the way to the professional level. If you need to take a pause through the lessons and try out tasks, by all means, do not hesitate. Make it all work.

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Registration and attendance of CKA exam

You have gathered all the study materials; you have your daily schedule all set. It’s time to make it all worth it. You do not want to tirelessly study with a lot of practice only to be inconvenienced because you did not get all the registration and attendance details and requirements in depth.

To avoid this, here are some details you should know in relation to registration and attendance.

  • You are allowed to take the CKA exam from any qualifying computer, anywhere, and at any time. If you have reliable access to the internet, you do not have to go to a testing center.
  • The exam consists of 24 problems that should be solved in the command line in a period of three hours.
  • The candidate’s non-expired primary ID must be provided. The candidate is also required to provide a photograph, signature, and full name for the particular form to be accepted.
  • The candidate will also be required to run a compatibility check tool to verify their hardware meets the minimum set standards.
  • Only chrome and chromium are supported by the exam tool. In addition, these browsers should have a functioning webcam so that the proctor can see them.
  • Once the exam is completed, the results will be made available within 36 hours since completion. Find the results on my portal.

Visit the official exam description site for more information on all the specific details concerning registration and attendance.

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Final thoughts and Advice

My final thoughts, Kubernetes, is a fundamental technology, especially in cloud computing, because you can quickly mitigate the risks of hosting applications in the cloud. In other words, the benefits and value of such a topic are endless.

This has indeed increased the need for certified Kubernetes Administrators in the industry. Taking the CKA exam might, therefore, turn out to be the best choice you make in your career or profession.

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It is among the best practice tests that provide the necessary skill, and competency needed to solve real-time problems.

What’s more, this exam utilizes a command line, which means there is only one way to pass the exam. You have to understand the command line correctly. There is no room for any cheating.

Fortunately, this article has outlined a variety of techniques any candidate can use to prepare and pass the exam. Among the many mentioned, practice was the primary method you should heavily invest in. If possible, do as many practice tests as you can before you take the exam. Take time to learn through these tests; they will really come in handy.

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