For some time, software engineers and developers were under immense pressure to build and deploy quality application code as fast, frequently, and as soon as they were required. The spiking demand for applications created a whole new challenge of developing befitting infrastructures that could handle the deployment of numerous applications without compromising delivery.
Containerization is the breakthrough that software developers needed to manage the software development life cycle effectively. Containerization provides the runtime environment on which software can be run from one computing environment to another regardless of the differences in operating systems. A container consists of the application to be shipped, its libraries and frameworks, configuration files to run it, and all other dependencies needed to run the application.
Containerization makes it easy and fast to develop and test software. For this reason, container management technologies like Docker and Kubernetes have gained traction quite remarkably. Also, credentials like CKA training and certification are top of recruiters’ lists as proof of skill and competency in Kubernetes administration.
What is Kubernetes
Kubernetes is a popular container management platform that has been adopted widely to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was developed by Google and is an open-source technology. In addition to offering high horizontal scalability of resources, Kubernetes offers developers the following features:
- Scheduling and running containers on clusters
- Automated scheduling of deployments and updates for applications
- Self-healing capabilities for containers and nodes with auto-placement, auto-restart, auto-replication, and auto-scaling functions
- Automated rollouts and rollbacks
- Consistency of environment for development, testing, and production of applications
- Addition of storage systems to run applications
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Exam
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam is administered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) together with The Linux Foundation. This exam was established to provide Kubernetes Administrators with proof of skills, practical knowledge, and the competency to handle tasks within their specification.
This exam is administered online and is performance-based which makes it different from other theory exams. As this exam tests Kubernetes practical knowledge, it checks a candidate’s ability to tackle several tasks using a command line.
This certification is valid for three years. Before it expires, the holder is expected to take and pass the same examination.
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam is conducted for three hours.
Apart from English which is the main language, it is also administered in Spanish, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and simplified Chinese languages.
While there are no prerequisites for taking this exam, some familiarity with containerization technology is important. Also, because the exam runs on Ubuntu Linux 16, a candidate should be able to comfortably work with Linux shells. Finally, knowledge and experience of working with virtual machines on the cloud will be an added advantage.
Here are some vital points to take you through exam preparation.
- The exam guide
Every important detail about the CKA exam is outlined in the CNCF official website. This will give you an idea of what to expect in the exam and guide your study strategy. Secondly, you will need to download the Kubernetes Administrator study guide from the CNCF or Linux Foundation official sites.
While at it, take a keen note of the domains covered in the Kubernetes administrator certification exam along with their weightage. Also, each domain has subtopics listed under it which should help you plan your study accordingly.
A total of ten domains are covered in this certification including:
- Application Lifecycle Management (8%)
- Installation, Configuration & Validation (12%)
- Core Concepts (9%)
- Networking (11%)
- Scheduling (5%)
- Security (12%)
- Cluster Maintenance (11%)
- Logging & Monitoring (5%)
- Storage (7%)
- Troubleshooting (10%)
- Learning through training
By now you will be familiar with the curriculum and the knowledge areas that the exam covers. Next, it is advisable to consider a training program before going ahead to sit the exam. A good search will give you credible training providers like Simplilearn who offer comprehensive training to prepare you adequately for the certification exam.
- Your study resources
The “Introduction to Kubernetes” and “Kubernetes Fundamentals” courses are just two of the numerous resources available to help you as a candidate ace the CKA certification exam. Several other resources are available that are not just good for exam preparation but also real-life practice.
- Kubernetes the hard way. An open-source guide by Kelsey Hightower teaches you how to manually install, configure, and create encrypted connections between various Kubernetes clusters. While it is easier using automated tools like installers, the manual route gives you hands-on experience troubleshooting and fixing issues and a better understanding of the components that make up a Kubernetes cluster and how they interact.
- Kubernetes in Action. A great read by Marko Luksa that covers the theoretical concepts of Kubernetes.
These are merely a few suggestions. You can go the extra mile by checking out Kubernetes tutorials on YouTube and other valuable resources that will give you a deeper understanding and practical knowledge of Kubernetes to better prepare for the CKA exam. Remember, the emphasis is on practical knowledge as this is what the exam tests.
- Practice, practice, and more practice
Use Kubernetes daily if you may, starting from the basics as you gradually go in-depth to cover the domain areas listed in the exam guide.
Important to note is that Kubectl commands make up a good percentage in the exams. Therefore, take time to practice building, debugging, and editing items in your test cl. For instance, you could learn commands like:
- View context – kubectl config current-context
- kubectl get nodes
- kubectl get services
- kubectl get pods
- Apply Changes to a Yaml file – kubectl apply -f myapp.yaml
At the end of your training and practice, you should be able to build and modify systemd unit files and create a resource from a file among other tasks.
Finally, take practice exams to assess how well you can tackle questions in an exam situation.
Important tips to remember during the examination
- The exam generally starts with simpler questions and then to the longer time-consuming ones towards the end. Try and take the shortest time tackling the first ten questions to have ample time to do the last ones.
- Use an alias for a few commands like k=’kubectl’ during the exams. You would typically have to type ‘kubectl’ more than once for each of the exam questions which takes unnecessarily much time.
- A notepad is a time saver. Here you will type your command lines so that you will only have to edit and copy-paste rather than having to type the entire command afresh repeatedly. A notepad is also useful for tracking your progress.
- An exam typically includes six different clusters in which each question is executed and the context change command will be indicated for each question. Be sure to execute the command first before tackling the question to avoid answering a question in the wrong cluster.