How I passed CKA in Oct’20

Certified Kubernetes Administrator 1.19

Kubernetes is the one of most trending skills these days and it is going to rule the tech skills landscape for few years.

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation is a Linux Foundation project who manages Kubernetes distribution and future releases. They came up with the idea of CKA and CKAD hands-on exam to certify people for their K8s skills. This year CKS (Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist) is addition to k8s certification catalogue.

With every Kubernetes new release CKA curriculum also receive changes. Latest version of Exam is 1.19

In One statement CKA 1.19

New Changes -

  1. Kubeadm is going to play important role
  2. Exam Time has been Reduced to 2 Hours
  3. Security portion has been moved to CKS
  4. Focus on Troubleshooting
  5. Workload types has been added (DaemonSets )

Current curriculum (CKA19) :

  • Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration — 25%
  • Workloads & Scheduling — 15%
  • Services & Networking — 20%
  • Storage — 10%
  • Troubleshooting — 30%
300 $ exam with 2 attempts

Best time to Buy

Trust me its one of the costliest exam I know. Its a 300$ exam with 1 retake in case you failed in first. In black friday sale you can get it in 150$. Buy it and you will have a year to use it.

How did I prepare while on Job

I am a full time employee, so it was little tough for me to prepare CKA. I planned 1 hour everyday for study and practise. I used free credit of Azure cloud to build my own cluster and did lot of practise on that for a month.

What Courses/material and Tips

  1. I have done couple of courses on Udemy (Mumshad’s CKA is excellent)
  2. Read couple of Books on Safari but Kubernetes bookshelf is also enough.
  3. I built my own Cluster using Kubeadm and did practise on that. Prepare to install or repair clusters using kubeadm in exam as well.
    https://arunksingh16.medium.com/cka-learning-series-build-k8s-cluster-using-kubeadm-in-minutes-3e34b8ac5e5
  4. Time management is one of the main ingredient of success in CKA. You have to be very quick with command line. Imperative commands can help you to save a lot of time.
    https://arunksingh16.medium.com/admin-notebook-how-to-be-quick-with-kubectl-1–19–8845176be4d7
  5. Kubernetes The Hard way: Its not mandatory but doing it once can help you to improve your troubleshooting skills.
    https://github.com/kelseyhightower/kubernetes-the-hard-way
  6. Bookmarks: CKA allows you to open a tab of kubernetes.io doc links. I suggest bookmark these links in order which can help you in exam. Do practise using these bookmarks only and always.
  7. Use alias if you are good in using shortcuts. Don’t overdo alias much ! It will confuse you in exam
    alias k=’kubectl’
    alias kgp=’kubectl get pods -o wide’
  8. Be familiar with systemd and journalctl for troubleshooting
    https://arunksingh16.medium.com/notebook-systemd-and-journalctl-33dec3aaf8c1
  9. Kubectl explain command is a key. Sometimes you are not able to find right thing in documentation. Don’t panic, use kubectl explain wisely
    https://arunksingh16.medium.com/most-useful-kubectl-commands-908e68f9389c
  10. Read your questions throughly and make sure you are on right context.
  11. ETCD backup and restore — Do it atleast 10 times
  12. Network Policy: Make sure you have proper understanding. I dont expect very difficult question will come but simple ones can be tricky too.
    https://github.com/ahmetb/kubernetes-network-policy-recipes
  13. Spend some time on understanding of sidecar container. Specifically for logging architecture.
    https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/cluster-administration/logging/
  14. Expect a question from PV/PVC as well. So documentation on kubernetes.io will give you good heads up. PV and PVC accessModes are important and play important role when binding happens. Make sure you spend time on Dynamic provisioning as well.
    https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/storage/persistent-volumes/
  15. You should be well aware of files and locations like /var/lib/kubelet/config [Kubelet config files]
    /etc/kubernetes/manifests/ [Manifest Files for kubeadm]
  16. You should have understanding of ssh command.
  17. Docker Container understanding is important ! Why ? because in case etcd is broken then docker ps and docker logs are there to save.
  18. Work on JSONPath if you can.

I will add few other pointers in this blog. Apart from this I have started a series to help you with more topics.

That’s it for this post. I will update this post if I remember any specific important details. Please bookmark this post so that you can revisit later.

Good Luck !😉

In quest of understanding How Systems Work !

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