Preparing for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Program

Preparing for the #CertifiedKubernetesAdministratorProgram

Until very recently, there was no official form of accreditation for working with Kubernetes. The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) program was designed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), working in partnership with The Linux Foundation, to help advance usage the Kubernetes ecosystem.

Google aligned itself with The Linux Foundation to form the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in conjunction with the release of Kubernetes v1.0 in July 2015. The CNFC’s purpose is to build sustainable ecosystems while fostering a community around a network of high-quality projects that orchestrate containers within a microservices architecture. Kubernetes is one of the highest velocity CNCF projects in the history of open source.

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Program

The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Program is a separate program from Google Cloud training—covered in this blog post here—by Cloud Native Computing Foundation and The Linux Foundation. It is a Kubernetes certification program designed to introduce standardization to the field. Considering how widely Kubernetes is now used, getting a CKA is a worthy investment to make.

It’s fair to say though, that the CKA is a tough exam. Predominantly, because the core of the exam focuses on your ability to perform on a practical level, instead of just serving up a full-on multiple-choice question format to test your knowledge. The full program which leads up the exam is also based on a tight curriculum that covers what you need to master as a Kubernetes administrator, including:

  • Core Concepts: Which includes Kubernetes API and how to configure basic pods.
  • Configuration: Covering subjects such as ConfigMaps, Secrets, and the resource requirements for applications running on Kubernetes environment.
  • Multi-Container Pods: Which covers how to best design this type of architecture using approaches such as sidecar and adapter.
  • Pod Design: Digging deeper into elements such as Labels, Selectors, and Annotations. These are the elements to use when deploying a new application on Kubernetes.
  • State Persistence: A valuable resource for storage and data management.
  • Observability: Which tackles the task of monitoring and maintaining your Kubernetes ecosystem and the applications that run inside containers.
  • Services & Networking: Which covers network policies and best practices.

From the curriculum, it is easy to see how the certification program is suitable for everyone from cloud administrators to developers. The basics and advanced techniques covered by the course enables you to run your Kubernetes architecture and develop inside pods and container-based environment. Hands-on experience will certainly help you complete your CKA exam; as the exam includes a monitored practical session.

The CKA Exam

Before you go ahead and begin the track we discussed in this article, there are several important things you need to know about becoming a Certified Kubernetes Administrator. The exam costs $300 to take and includes a free exam retake. You can also choose to include the Kubernetes Fundamentals training material provided by the Linux Foundation (which typically costs $299) for a combined total of $499.

Firstly, the exam itself has a time limit of 3 hours to complete all the problems. As mentioned before though, it involves a series of hands-on tests in a monitored environment. Good knowledge of Kubernetes primitives and core concepts is very helpful, as is wrapping your head around break-fix questions. Kubernetes comprehensive documentation, Caylent’s in-depth Kubernetes blog posts, and Kelsey Hightower’s Kubernetes: The Hard Way will be invaluable for these areas. 

You can take the exam from any location as long as you are connected to the internet. The CKA exam has 24 problems to solve, all specific to Kubernetes and how to establish an efficient pod-based environment. Keep in mind that the exam is also monitored via webcam, audio, and remote screen viewing, so you have to be in a suitable situation to take the exam.

All candidates taking the CKA exam must use a Chrome or Chromium browser and have reliable internet access. Problems with your internet connection may result in you not being able to complete all 24 problems on time. Fortunately, you can run a hardware compatibility check before your exam date to be on the safe side.

Book your CKA Kubernetes exam here.

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