Kubernetes – Part 2: CKA and CKAD Exam, where to begin – documentation or courses?

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For logical and concise context, I have split this top in three different blog post, feel free to navigate to the respective parts via the links below:

1. Kubernetes – Part 1: Why the need? Certifications (CKA, CKAD, CKS), pre-requisites, queries and motivation. 
2. Kubernetes – Part 2: CKA and CKAD Exam, where to begin – documentation or courses? – this blog!
3. Kubernetes – Part 3: CKA and CKAD exam preparation, approach, synopsis, tips and experience.
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In the previous blog – Part 1, I discussed about my motivation, why the need to learn Kubernetes (K8s), the certifications that CNCF/LF offer and answers to some queries. In this Part 2, I’ll share some of the on-demand courses available on-line and the ones I shortlisted for my studies and the reasons why.…

There are quite a lot of study materials and courses available out there. If you are reader, the best documentation of Kubernetes is available on their own website here. If you opt for a course (options below), there are plenty available online, but you will still need to familiarise yourself with the Kubernetes official documentation as you will need to refer it in the exam for some tasks.

Ok, let’s start with CKA:

If you prefer an individual/instructor, there are various on-demand courses available online for a fee (there are deals available every now and then – so keep an eye), following are a few:

  1. Cloud Native Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) “ACloudGuru/LinuxAcademy”.
  2. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)“ACloudGuru/LinuxAcademy”.
  3. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)“Pluralsight”.
  4. Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) with Practice Tests“Udemy”.

I started with the Cloud Native Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)“ACloudGuru/LinuxAcademy”, as I had a monthly subscription with them already. As this was a new technology which I was not familiar with “at all” (and with limited Linux experience/background), I chose to go with another on-demand course to leave no stones un-turned, which was Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) with Practice Tests“Udemy”.

I would suggest picking up two different courses (not limited the list above) from different instructors, especially if you have no prior experience or knowledge about Kubernetes, as it just broadens your thinking to learn topics and techniques from two different mindsets, along with getting two different labs to play with. As all CNCF/LF Kubernetes exams are lab based, that tests your skills and abilities via “command line” – one of the two instructors may have a better explanation on any particular topic or a simpler command to achieve the same desired result.

I benefitted from both the courses but if I have to recommend “one”, I would lean towards Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) with Practice Testsby “Mumshad Mannambeth” available on “Udemy”. The advantages are many:

  1. The animations used to explain the concepts.
  2. The optional extra modules to give you a background of certain topic e.g. certificates, firewall, etc.
  3. The practice tests/labs of each module with a solution video if you need to refer anything.
  4. Again, the animation – celebration of the correct answer in the practice tests. (this always made me smile :))
  5. The steady enthusiasm of Mumshad which seems to never drop till the last module to keep you focused in! (not sure if the videos were purposely slowed down, as the 1x speed was a bit slow and having the option to increase the speed to 1.5x was great that worked well for me – so look for the options and change it accordingly).

Learning new technology from scratch is a bit challenging specially when you are doing self-studies or on-demand courses, as its hard to keep focus. I for one, am one of those people, who can be glued to a desktop for continuous hours if the content is right – keeping an individual engaged and focused is one goal from an instructor – The KodeKloud team has nailed it, with the brilliant use of the animations in this course.

What about CKAD?

If you attempt CKAD after passing CKA exam – you would probably have a bit of confidence with the command line, as some modules are also common between the two and therefore you may not need to spend as much time to cover the curriculum. However, beware the CKAD exam has more scenario-based questions that will haunt you back in the exam, if you did not practice enough and timed your effort per question. But if you chose to take this exam first – it will be a learning curve for sure just like if chose to take CKA first.

For CKAD as well, there are many “on-demand” courses available, following are a few:

  1. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)“ACloudGuru/LinuxAcademy”.
  2. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) – “Pluralsight”.
  3. Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests – “Udemy”.

The same way, I prepared for CKA, I went for two courses from different instructors i.e. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)“ACloudGuru/LinuxAcademy” and Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests – “Udemy”.

As with the reasons I mentioned before, I benefitted from both courses and if I have to recommend one – I would again lean towards Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Testsby “Mumshad Mannambeth” available on “Udemy” (the advantages mentioned above).

That’s it for the Part 2. Once you have shortlisted the course(s), then comes the time to prepare your approach and is what I’ll discuss in Part 3 (<- click here), along with the exam synopsis, tips and experience.

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