Certified Kubernetes Administrator Study Guide

Having started to play with VMware Enterprise PKS at work I thought the next logical step would be to start practising for the CNCF Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certification exam. I regularly sit the VMware certification exams to test myself and prove my level of knowledge and skill, so it makes sense to take the same approach with this new area of technology.

Exam Details

The exam is a 3 hour online live proctored exam based on Kubernetes 1.14. It’s run by the Linux Foundation in association with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The Linux Foundation have published a candidate handbook and other useful resources on their website. This includes a curriculum overview detailing the topics that could be assessed during the exam.

Exam Curriculum

Taking a look at the pdf file for the CKA exam there are 10 main subject areas, with individual weightings assigned to them and high level guidance as to the particular topics that a candidate needs to be comfortable with.

  1. Scheduling
  2. Logging/Monitoring
  3. Application Lifecycle Management
  4. Cluster
  5. Security
  6. Storage
  7. Troubleshooting
  8. Core Concepts
  9. Networking
  10. Installation, Configuration & Validation


As I go through the curriculum I will update this page to include links to my study notes, including any resources I found useful like other blog posts for each subject area.

I’m fortunate to have access to some on demand training courses created by the Linux Foundation, and these will form part of my initial preparation to refresh my basic knowledge. I have a copy of the book Kubernetes Up & Running, which I can use as a guide around the core functionality provided by Kubernetes as well.

Since the exam is a practical assessment I will be creating a lab environment in which I can hone my skills. Most people who have shared their experiences on the exam have commented that the key tool for preparing is to practice as much as possible, until you are comfortable with the popular commands.

There are multiple options available but I have decided to use Google Cloud Platform as I’m going to be following Kubernetes The Hard Way by Kelsey Hightower to set up my environment.

Additional Resources

After a bit of research I have compiled an initial list of other blogs or sites which have been recommended as good resources for people looking to sit the exam. I’m sure the list will grow as I get further into my study:

Katacoda – A set of web hosted Kubernetes exercises for practicing various tasks.

Kubernet.io – A CKA Study Guide broken down by exam curriculum subject area

contino.io – James Strong has a blog post about his experience with the exam and provided a great list of resources he used during his own study.

Virtual Thoughts – has a blog post about his experience with the exam and a link to the study guide he created.

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