CKA Exam Study Guide: Certified Kubernetes Administrator
Passing the cloud-native Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam is not a cakewalk. To pass the CKA exam, you should have enough hands-on knowledge about Kubernetes cluster components and their associated resources.
It is the current best DevOps related certifications which has a practical exam environment where you have to deal with six Kubernetes clusters. You practice plays a key role in this exam.
Not to worry, we got you covered by having an awesome list of cka study materials and resources that you could use to ace the CKA exam. You can use this guide to prepare for the certified kubernetes administrator exam.
Certified Kubernetes Administrator(CKA) Exam Study Guide
We have structured the resources in the following categories.
- CKA Exam Voucher Code
- CKA Exam Overview & Syllabus
- Kubernetes Books for CKA Preparation
- Best CKA Online Training Resources
- CKA Practice Labs
- CKA Tips on Required Utilities
- CKA Detailed Resource List
- Passing CKA Exam the Easy Way
- Passing CKA Exam the Hard Way
- Other Useful Links
Note: Dont miss the bonus materials given towards the end.
[Save 21% Today] CKA Exam Voucher Code
Your first step towards CKA is to register for the exam. You can appear for the exam anytime in 12 months with a free retake.
Register today and use the exclusive CKA exam coupon code to get 21% off ($63 discount) on all CKA, CKAD & CKS certifications as part of the Linux Foundation start wars sale.
Note: 21% Discount is for a limited time this is the best offer you can get this year. So hurry up. Also, as per the official announcement, the certification cost increases next month
Use Coupon: FORCE21 at checkout
Note: Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) certification is also live now. to appear for the CKS exam, you need to have CKA certification. If you are planning for both certifications, you can purchase them as a bundle from the CKS certification page. You could almost save $175 with the bundle.
CKA Exam Details [As Per Latest Curriculum for 2021]
|Exam duration||2 Hrs|
|Exam Type||Hands-on Practical Lab|
|CKA exam cost||$300|
|Certification Validity||3 years|
|Important Notes||With the new syllabus, the focus is more |
towards Custer troubleshooting and
kubernetes operations and less focus on
config maps and secrets.
CKA Exam Syllabus [Latest]
|Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration||25%|
|Services & Networking||20%|
|Workloads & Scheduling||15%|
Note: If you are preparing for the Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist exam see the CKS exam guide
CKA Exam Syllabus Changes
The following are the key exam changes for the new CKA syllabus as compared to the old syllabus. Here is the official announcement. The same syllabus is applicable for 2021 as well.
- The cluster version will be kubernetes v1.20
- Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration:
- Detailed RBAC tasks
- Extended kubeadm cluster operations
- Manage highly available kubernetes cluster.
- Manage kubernetes version upgrade using kubeadm
- 9% weightage increased for Service & Networking
- 10 to 30% increase in weightage for troubleshooting
- There is not a security section. Probably security it’s moved to CKS
If you are a total beginner or you want a structured way to get started and understand kubernetes, you should start with the following two books.
- [Free Ebook] Kubernetes Up and Running 2: A book by Kelsey, Brenden, and Joe. It a perfect book to learn all the Kubernetes basics.
- Kubernetes in Action: Once you got your basics in Kubernetes, this is the second book you should read.
Best CKA Exam Preparation Courses
If you don’t want to read the book, the better option is to get started with online training resources. Here are the recommended online training resources for CKA exam.
|Udemy||Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) with Practice Tests: This is one of the top-rated CKA preparation course that comes with a browser-based practice test environment. [Updated for latest exam syllabus]|
|Linux Foundation||Kubernetes Fundamentals (LFS258): A course by Linux Foundation. This course is specifically designed for Kubernetes certification preparation.|
|Katacoda||Kubernetes Interactive Tutorial|
Note: If you are registering for the CKA/CKAD certification, make use of kubernetes Certification coupon to get up to 40% Off
CKA Hands-on Practice Labs & Tasks
The following are the best places to get started for practice labs.
|Katacoda Kubernetes Course [Free]||A browser-based Kubernetes practice tasks from cluster setup to Kubernetes resources deployment.|
|Kubernetes Official Tasks [Free]||Complete all the tasks list in the kubernetes official documentation. It will help you a lot in the examination and a great way to hands-on on several important topics.|
|killer.sh [paid]||A very good exam simulator for CKA/CKAD and CKS exams which mimics the real exam environment.|
Free Kubernetes Practice Clusters for CKA Exam
To practice for CKA exam, you can use the following free managed services to spin up a Kuberntes clusters.
- Google Cloud GKE: Use google cloud free credits ($300) to spin up a Kubernetes cluster with one click using GKE
- Azure AKS: Use Azure free credits ($300) to spin up managed AKS Kubernetes cluster.\
- AWS EKS – One-year free tier program
- Digital Ocean Kubernetes Service: ($100) Free credits valid for two months.
CKA Exam Bonus Material
This github repo offers a practice environment similar to the actual exam terminal with a timer. We would highly suggest you set this up with your personal Kubernetes cluster and practice the tasks.
CKA Tips on Required Utilities
You need to get good at the following utilities and services.
- kubectl: It is the key utility for the whole exam. Make sure you get really comfortable with kubectl CLI commands for managing Kubernetes resources.
- or CFSSL: Utilities to generates certificates. This would be required for all cluster component certificate configuration.
- & Systemd services: You need to be comfortable using systemctl and creating unit files to start, stop, and enable system services.
- : Learn this utility to check the logs of system services.
CKA Detailed Study Guide With Resources
All you need to do is follow the kubernetes exam curriculum and official kubernetes official documentation.
As it is a openbook exam, you can refer to kubernetes.io documentation during the exam.
This resource list is based on the latest CKA syllabus.
Lets break down the resource list based on the exam curriculam. All the information and concepts are available at kubernetes.io do
Kubernetes Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration
Here are the key resources which you need to take practice when it comes to cluster architecture, Installation and configuration.
- Focus on Kubeadm based cluster setup, and upgrade is significant. Understand kubeadm configuration and learn to set up and upgrade cluster using the official k8s documentation. As it is an open book exam, you can use the online documentation for reference during the exam.
- Understand etcd backup clearly. Practice etcd backup on the exam-specific cluster version. Small mistakes in the etcd backup command will break the backup process.
|Provision Underlying infrastructure||Kubernetes the hard way: This guide covers the entire|
kubernetes set up in a step by step guide.
|Cluster Installation||Setting up a Kubernetes Cluster using Kubeadm|
|HA Cluster Setup||Setting up a Highly Available Kubernetes Cluster|
|Kubeadm Cluster Upgrade||How to upgrade a kubeadm kubernetes cluster|
|Kubernetes Backup||Backup and restore Kubernetes using etcd backup|
|Kubernetes RBAC||Complete Kubernetes RBAC Guide|
Kubernetes Services & Networking
|Understand host networking |
configuration on the cluster nodes
|1. Node Configuration|
2. Control Plane – Node Communication
3. Comprehensive Kubernetes Networking Guide
4. Kubernetes Networking 101
|Understand connectivity between |
|Cluster Networking Concepts|
|Understand ClusterIP, NodePort, |
LoadBalancer service types
|Kubernetes Service complete Guide|
|Know how to use Ingress |
controllers and Ingress resources
|1. Ingress resource guide|
2. Ingress Controller Guide
3. Kubernetes Ingress Tutorial
|Know how to configure and |
|Kubernetes CoreDNS Configuration|
|Choose an appropriate container |
network interface plugin
|Kubernetes network plugins guide|
|Evaluate cluster and node logging||Kubernetes Cluster Logging Architecture|
|Understand how to monitor applications||1. Tools for monitoring|
2. Metrics API Guide
|Manage container stdout & stderr logs||Refer logging Architecture|
|Troubleshoot application failure||1. Kubernetes applications Monitoring and Debugging guide (Nodes, Pods, Deployments, services, containers, etc)|
2. Debugging kubernetes applications
|Troubleshoot cluster component failure||1. Kubernetes cluster troubleshooting guide|
2. DNS Troubleshooting
3. Kubeadm cluster troubleshooting guide
|Troubleshoot networking||Refer debug cluster guide|
Kubernetes Workloads & Scheduling
|Understand deployments |
and how to perform a
|1. Complete Kubernetes Deployment guide with a rolling update and rollback strategies|
2. Daemonset rollback strategy
|Use ConfigMaps and Secrets |
to configure applications
|1. Kubernetes configmap guide|
2. Kubernetes Secrets explained
3. Task explaining Kubernetes secret implementation
|Know how to scale applications||1. Horizontal pod autoscaling|
2. Interactive Tutorial to scale kubernetes applications
|Understand the primitives |
used to create robust, self-healing, application deployments
|1. Kubernetes deployment concepts and interactive tutorial|
2. Kubernetes deployment tutorial
|Understand how resource |
limits can affect Pod scheduling
|1. kubernetes container resource management guide|
2. Task: CPU resource allocation for containers
3. Task: Memory allocation for containers
|Awareness of manifest management and common templating tools||1. Kubernetes management tools|
2. Tip: Use
|Understand storage classes, |
|1. Storage Classed Explained|
2. Kubernetes Volumes explained
3. Kubernetes Persistent Volumes
4. Limit Storage Usage
5. Change the default Storage cluster
|Understand volume mode, |
access modes, and reclaim
policies for volumes
|Refer Kubernetes Persistent Volume Doc.|
|Understand persistent volume |
|All about persistent volume claims|
|Know how to configure |
|Create a pod using persistent storage|
Passing CKA Exam the Easy Way
If you want to pass the CKA exam in the easy way, here is what you have to do.
Note: I don’t recommend the easy way. However, choose this way only if you are in a hurry or need to have the CKA certification.
- Take the Udemy CKA course with the interactive practice test.
- Learn all the core concepts from the course
- Go through all the interactive practice test sections. If you are a beginner, go through the practice test multiple times.
- If you do the above three, it means you are ready to take the exam.
Register and appear for the CKA exam. You should be able to pass the CKA exam. For some reason, if you are not able to get the pass mark, don’t worry. You will have a free retake, and for the next attempt, you will know what to do as you went through the exam.
Passing CKA Exam the Hard Way
Here is what you need to do if you want to learn all kubernetes concepts in the right way and pass the CKA exam without any shortcuts.
- Learn all Kubernetes concepts from scratch. Here is what you can do to learn the kubernetes basics.
- Read a kubernetes book.
- Subscribe for a kubernetes course
- Read the official kubernetes.io documentation.
- Create a list of all kubernetes concepts and read useful blogs on how it is implemented in real-time projects. You will find so many blogs.
- Go through Kubernetes the hard way task. It will teach you all the essential components that are part of a kubernetes cluster.
- Go through all the official kubernetes tasks which are part of the kubernetes documentation.
- [Optional] You go through the official Linux Foundation CKA training material.
Note: There is an Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp offered by the Linux Foundation which covers topics from Linux, containers, kubernetes to service mesh. You can also get certified on both Linux and Kubernetes (CKA)
Few Other Useful Links
The following are the few useful links that would help in your Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam preparation.
- How Kubernetes certificate authorities work: A very good blog by Julia which explains about k8s certificates
- All You Need to Know About Certificates in Kubernetes: A video that talks about how certificates work in k8s cluster.
- Kubecon Videos: A collection of talks from kubecon on kubernetes
Hope this resource list helps :). Please let us know in the comments section if you have found interesting resources that would help our readers for certification preparation.
How to pass CKA exam easily?
The easy way to pass the CKA is following a CKA focussed online course with practice exams.
Is Kubernetes CKA certification worth it?
Yes. Currently CKA is sought after certification in the DevOps domain as it is a certification based on practical exam.
How much does a certified Kubernetes administrator exam cost?
The Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam registration fee is $300.
How hard is the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam?
CKA exam is a hands-on practical exam. So practice plays a crucial role in this exam. With enough practice, you can easily pass this exam.
Which is easier? CKA or CKAD?
CKAD exam is comparatively easier than CKA as deals with cluster administration and troubleshooting. At the same time, CKAD is more focussed on application deployments and troubleshooting.
Is there a CKA Voucher available for Black Friday?
Yes. The Linux foundation Black Friday deal includes CKA certification voucher code. You could save upto $150 with this deal.
Practice! Practice! Practice
We have covered possibly all the best resources and guides you could use to pass the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam. However, CKA is a practical exam, and practicing the tasks is very important.
I would highly recommend you to create your list of related tasks under each category and practice it multiple times.
You may start with an online course.
Or with the kubernetes documentation.
Either way, drop a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this guide.