When companies struggle under the impact of large and complex applications, hosting and managing the apps and their dependencies becomes a priority for maximizing business value. With digital transformation journeys, businesses are turning to various sophisticated cloud deployment solutions to address their needs. This is where the Kubernetes open-source platform comes in for managing containerized workloads and services across distributed systems. It automates the distribution and scheduling of containerized applications in a cloud-native ecosystem to simplify the work of technical teams.
While companies investing in container management systems want Kubernetes experts, software businesses implementing DevOps also seek Kubernetes skills.
Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects in cloud management or DevOps, you must learn how to build applications in containers and manage a Kubernetes cluster.
As the enterprise-level adoption of Kubernetes explodes, companies want to hire Certified Kubernetes Administrators (CKAs) to manage the process of development-to-deployment. They prefer certified Kubernetes professionals who can handle the deployment of multi-tier containerized applications and leverage Kubernetes for solving IT problems.
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator or CKA Certification pathway helps you develop the in-demand skills in Cloud, Virtualization, DevOps, or Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) job roles.
What is a CKA Certification?
Recognizing Kubernetes as the cornerstone of the native cloud environment, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) partnered with the Linux Foundation to design the CKA program for skill development in Kubernetes. The purpose was to facilitate the easy hiring of high-quality Kubernetes experts with validation from the most credible platforms. The idea is to validate the skills, expertise, and competencies in executing the tasks of Kubernetes administrators.
The CKA Certification is designed for Kubernetes Administrators, Cloud Administrators, and other cloud and IT professionals whose job roles include Kubernetes management. The Certification helps the Kubernetes Practitioner/Administrator develop the necessary skills to install, configure and manage production-grade Kubernetes clusters. A CKA exam gives the candidate the competency to develop, test, and run large applications in a production environment for mission-critical tasks.
The Certification program helps administrators demonstrate their competency in a hands-on, command-line environment. It involves appearing for an online, proctored, performance-based exam with problems meant to be solved in a command line. Candidates appearing for the CKA exam have 2 hours to complete the tasks.
A company that wants to become a legit Kubernetes Certified Service Provider (KCSP) must hire at least three CKAs. This means the demand for certified CKAs is high. And a CKA Certification is a great way to launch your career in the cloud domain.
An Overview of the CKA Exam
The CKA exam is a 2-3 hour online exam and consists of 17 performance-based tasks. The passing score is 66%. Each question has a different weight, such as 4%, 5%, 7%, 13%, and so on.
Each task must be completed in a designated cluster/configuration context. Tasks are grouped for questions on a given cluster to appear consecutively. There are six clusters in the exam environment, made of varying numbers of containers.
The five modules covered are:
- Cluster Architecture, Installation, and Configuration
- Workloads and Scheduling
- Services and Networking
The CKA exam is an open-book exam where the candidate is allowed access to the following resources:
The exam is proctored remotely via streaming audio, video, and screen sharing. The results are emailed to the candidate within 24 hours of completion. The certification is valid for three years.
Candidates registering for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam are allowed two attempts per registration. The exam is based on the most recent K8s minor version.
Preparation Tips for the CKA Exam
Lectures alone cannot help you pass the CKA Certification. As it is a practical hands-on exam, you must practice with live tests in your browser and develop a Kubernetes deployment.
Once you have registered for the CKA Certification Exam, you can gain access to the community on Slack to learn tips and tricks to pass the exam and clear doubts. But the preparation pathway involves a lot more.
Here are some tips that can help you prepare for the CKA Exam:
Check out the Exam Resources
The CKA Certification Exam requires detailed preparation and extensive reading.
Check out the Official Exam Resource at the bottom of the CKA exam page.
The Candidate Handbook is your go-to resource for practical exam information, such as hardware and system requirements, tips for the exam console, and exam requirements.
Further, read the FAQ and the Curriculum Overview to get an idea of what you are getting into!
Master the Linux Command Line
Get fluent in working with the Linux Command Line. Practice with a text editor you are comfortable with, as you have to repeatedly copy-paste between your editor and the one supplied by the Linux Foundation.
As you get only one console window, using a terminal multiplexer helps you save time.
Gain knowledge of how to create and manage systemd services.
Get up-close with the exam console
The exam terminal is in a browser where the copy-paste (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V) shortcuts do not work.
Practice with the substitutes given in the Candidate Handbook:
|Linux||Select the text||Middle mouse button|
Additionally, use the Notepad tool for working notes.
Learn and Practice
Understand Kubernetes fundamentals and practice in your browser.
Begin with tutorials that walk you through Kubernetes’ architecture and features. An Introduction To Kubernetes is a free read, but the Fundamentals of Kubernetes is a paid training conducted by The Linux Foundation.
Browse through the Curriculum Overview and gain an in-depth understanding of all the topics.
Build your Cluster
Even if you are using a simple single-node cluster, you must learn to set up and administrate all parts of the cluster from scratch.
You can practice building your cluster using any solution, such as cloud or virtual machines.
Focus on your speed
As you have to complete the exam within 3 hours; you must do what you can to speed up.
So try memorizing the location in the documentation where you can find a specific topic to fast-track your navigation during the exam. Browse through the kubectl Cheat Sheet and the API reference.
Your preparation curve includes learning and practicing with hands-on labs right in your browser. You may also consider taking an online course to help you ace the exam. Kubernetes is one of the highest trending environments in Cloud Computing, and the CKA Certification is the best way to carve a career in Cloud or DevOps.