My Journey to Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)

Kubernetes or famously called K8s is one of the most popular open-source container orchestration platform that one should know, specially knowing the benefits of containerizing your application enabling micro service, scaling and easy deployment.

What’s CKA?

CKA is Certified Kubernetes Administrator which focuses on admin skills to design, create, manage and troubleshoot Kubernetes clusters.

Why CKA?

As a Devops/SRE in my organization, we have developed few applications for automation, monitoring etc… and one of the key application is running on bare metal servers with complex design and flow, making it hard to deploy features and maintenance was a challenge with aeging servers, so we did a redesign and containerized, settled on Kubernetes for orchestration and Ansible for automation.
I had to do the design of the cluster and fit in all the pieces and tie all loose ends, all this happened while I already started to learn Kubernetes(Great timing) so finishing with CKA made sense for me.

Exam Fee and Registration:

Kubernetes is maintained by CNCF(Cloud Native Computing Foundation), CKA exam fee is $375 and you get one free retake, but CNCF usually provide lot of discounts over time such as 25%, 50% so you can register when such offer is available and cool thing is the validity, it’s 1 year… which means you can sit for exam within one year of paying the fee, and hey of course there is 1 free retake(it’s a pure gold considering how expensive this cert is!)

Exam curriculum:

Refer to https://www.cncf.io/certification/cka/ as it keeps updating.

Exam Preparation:

There are many resources available in the market and there is no harm in picking anything as long as you are understanding the basic concepts and there is lab to practise what you learn (NO LAB, NO WIN — — it’s that simple)

Exam experience and Tips:

Saturday 10:15 PM, I gave the exam online from home, the proctor was readily online on-time and did all the necessary checks based on the protocols

  • You are allowed to open kubernetes.io in one window(Only 1 window is allowed), and another one for exam — so, you can do either 2 TABS in 1 browser window or 2 browser windows with no TAB.
  • I was using MAC, so command + C for copy and command + V for paste from documentation to exam terminal.
  • There is a clickable copy available from question window to terminal, this saves time.
  • Always, always ensure to switch to the respective context provided for each question
  • Always, always ensure to switch back to the command console if you ssh to any node
  • Follow the instructions in the question carefully, consider the namespaces PLEASE! as you can easily miss to create something in needed namespace and create in a default namespace.
  • If you are stuck, flag it and move ahead — there might be easy questions later and you need only 66% to pass.
  • I believe there are partial marks as well, so DO what you can. Even if you can’t complete full scenario of a particular question, that’s ok. You will still win some points. So DONT skip any Question!
  • Time management is IMPORTANT, but if you practise well and know kubernetes.io and your bookmarks, there is no need to RUSH, time will be enough to complete all questions.

My suggestion to everyone who is taking any exam:

If your effort and preparation is good, and if you are feeling not ready, you are actually READY. If you are feeling ready, you are actually more than READY, so always GO FOR IT! and YOU CAN DO IT!

Hi, My name is Bharath Atluri. I am a cloud enthusiast, SRE and Devops! A Beginner’s Mind!