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How I achieved CKAD


I finally became a Certified Kubernetes Application Developer aka CKAD offered by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), in collaboration with The Linux Foundation. I would like to share my experience with few tips with you.

I do not use, do not have a chance to use Kubernetes in my daily work. Not only Kubernetes, I do not have real world experience in Docker as well. So it is a hard journey.

Exam details

I don't want to repeat it here. You can read it here

This exam is not something you learn and remember things and answer the questions. You have to perform labs in live environment. You have to fight with the time and that is the most difficult part.  Even if you remember, know everything you can't pass!!! This is why everyone says practice! practice! practice!

There are discount coupons. Use them to buy the voucher.

Recommended materials

Learning depends on your character. Some people like to read documenatation or books. Some people like to follow video courses, etc. While I myself a book reader and read "Kubernetes in Action", "Kubernetes Up and Running", my recommendation for the exam is Mumshad Mannambeth's course. I can strongly tell you that because I passed the exam in my first attempt with zero work experience.

With the course, you are given kodekloud free account. For me that is something you can't give a value. I'm really surprised to see someone giving such a lab for free.
You are given practise labs for each lesson. After all labs there is a lab called "Lighting labs" where you need to answer 5 questions in 30 minutes. Looks easy haa! I couldn't solve any in my first attempt!! even I could not understand some of the questions ☺ 
That is when the fun began. Luckily for me we had holidays (Sri Lanka New Year celebration) and I tried whole day still I couldn't slove those 🤣 So I watched the solution to understand things. Now I know the answer but still I couldnt not beat the time. Only after several attempts I could beat the timer.

His mock exams are too easy but lightning labs are little difficult. If you can solve Lightining labs on time, then you are ready.
He is givinng another gem for free!!! It is called "Game of Pods" where you are given few real world scenarios to solve. I could solve only 2 of them, and half of other. I think those are for CKA exam. So don't worry.

Good thing is, you have to refer the documentation while solving above labs. That is exactly what you will do in the exam as well. (It is an open book exam)

Other than that, I used katacoda challengers.

Also there are some materials in github, youtube, etc. If you like you can try those, however above course is surely enough.

If like you can watch these answers for above labs Labs solution.

Linux, kubectl, vim, yaml

You better familiar with few Linux commands since you are working in a terminal. Little commands like ls, cat, grep, echo are must know.

As you are creating resources mostly with yaml, you need to aware of yaml (no brainer here). A little space will completely ruin your answer.

You are fighting against the time. You do not have luxury to create, copy yaml files all the time. So you need to master kubectl. Most of the time, use kubectl to generate the yaml, then add extra properties. I repeat this. Master kubectl commands!! (I can remember most of the commands).

vim is the editor i'm familiar with. To create, edit, find, etc yaml you need to master few vim commands. You can watch this vim for CKAD
search, move (up, down, word, etc), delete lines, copy, cut, paste, algining, come-back-to-last-edit are few things. More you know, more you save time!

Pro tips

  • Learn things not just to pass the exam, but also to use in real world and have fun.
  • Remember to read candidate handbook as it contains few usefull comands to swith between clusters, etc.
  • Bookmark everything as you are allowed to open extra tab you can just click on your bookmark.
  • Enable autocompletion, alias by executing provided commands in kubectl cheatsheet. I didn't know this before the exam hence I couldn' use auto-completion. Yes! I typed all things (from memory ☺)
  • Create an alias for dry-run $ alias dr="--dry-run=client -o yaml ". Then you can use $ k run nginx --image=nginx $dr > pod.yaml
  • Skip 2%, 3% questions and come back to them later. Solving high marks questions first is very important.
  • Use provided web notepad. ex: make a note of skipped questions, kubectl command, yaml, etc.
  • Be cool! proctor is very nice.
  • Use a good internet connection, electricity. As in my area, I can expect power cut anytime and internet is poor. I had to find a backup wifi connection due to that. Funny enough, I lost the connection middle of the exam ☺ but the proctor helped me to reconnect and resume.
  • Practice! Practice! Practice!

This is a quick recap. If I remember any other thing, I will update. Bye for now.