Passed Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam

About 2 weeks ago, I wrote about my LFCS experience and noticed that it was probably the hardest exam I’ve ever taken. Actually, the LFCS exam was my first step to the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam. Why do you need LFCS or strong Linux skills before taking the CKA?

Well, the answer is quite simple – all exams are based on Linux, Kubernetes control plane and worker nodes are also Linux-based, so it’s quite logical to get/check/level up/confirm Linux skills, even though you work with Linux everyday. Anyway, let’s talk a bit about the CKA exam.

About the exam

  1. Exam duration is still 2 hours. I’ve been working with k8s for 3 years and 2 hours were quite enough to finish and even verify answers. I completed the exam in an hour and a half and had about 20 minutes to think on tasks I wasn’t sure about. In contrast, the LFCS exam didn’t provide me such opportunity and I spent whole 2 hours solving the tasks.
  2. 100% performance-based. The CKA exam requires all work to be done on the command-line. In my case the environment was based on Ubuntu 18.04 and Kubernetes 1.20. One of the main difference between CKA and LFCS – you are allowed to have ONE tab with kubernetes.io opened! It’s also logical. 2 hours would not be enough for writing yaml files without api/doc references. But again – you should be familiar with all objects of Kubernetes to pass the exam. Otherwise, the time limit will help you to fail (read docs at home, write yamls at the exam 🙂 )
  3. Online, Proctored, Certificate is valid for 3 years – Good news as I’m not ready to spend 300$ every year and don’t have so much time to take exams frequently.

Requirements and Preparation

  1. At least 1-2 years experience with Kubernetes in commercial projects (from setting up to troubleshooting/logging and monitoring)
  2. I ordered both LFCS and CKA exams a year ago and passed them on the last day of expiration. Both exams were purchased along with official online training courses, which I don’t recommend actually. They are 80% text-based + 20% of lab tasks available as PDF files. I don’t see significant differences between them and official docs (kubernetes.io/docs).
  3. Complete this FREE Linux Foundation course – Introduction to Kubernetes
  4. If you prefer books, I’d recommend Kubernetes in Action (2st edition going to be published later this year, you can start with the 1st ed.) and Core Kubernetes. I reviewed them both and they would be the great companions on your journey.
  5. I’m a fan of video courses and found that they make learning process more interactive and easier. Pluralsight is one the best choice for everything you need – Certified Kubernetes Administrator path
  6. One of the prefect preparation for the CKA is the Killer Shell – test environment containing 25 scenarios and their solutions. This exam simulator is much difficult than the real CKA exam – a great option for those who doesn’t have everyday practice with k8s. (I haven’t tried this service but heard great feedbacks on it)
  7. Because of 2 and as the last step, use the docs as the main source of truth, then do the tasks available at https://kubernetes.io/docs/tasks/ to check your knowledge.
  8. In summary, if you work with Kubernetes on a daily basis for years – you will pass the exam for sure (preparation would still be needed though). For others, complete the “from zero to hero” path and try your luck.

I wish you good luck and don’t ever give up. Cheers.

Passed Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator

Howdy,

It’s been a long time since the last blog’s post – weeks and months. I was and am extremely busy working on some projects and .. preparation to my first ever Linux exam – Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator or just LFCS.

If you have ever looked at About section, you may already know that my main experience has always been associated to Microsoft products/hardware, however, I have been working with Linux for 2+ years so far since I had started as a DevOps engineer. Being a DevOps engineer is always about dealing with different environments, 3rd party tools, clouds and automation. So, after years of experience in Linux and it’s terminal, I had decided to prove and even broaden my knowledge by taking one of the highly valued and respected exam from the Linux Foundation.

About the exam

  1. Duration of Exam 2 hours . In fact, you won’t be able to read man pages, which is available during the exam, because of the lack of time. Really. I could read and complete all 24 questions, and I had nearly no time left. My advice – use grep , man search to save some time. If you spend more than 1-2 mins reading the man, you will probably fail 🙂
  2. 100% performance-based. The LFCS exam requires all work to be done on the command-line. I chose the Ubuntu 18.04, however, it will be updated to Ubuntu 20.04 and CentOS Stream 8 soon (at the end of April, as I know).
    I really enjoyed this format and would like to have the same provided by Microsoft. Reasons? Checks your real experience and skills, completely protects against the “dumpers” (LF exams don’t have any dumps available as far as I know – my respect to LF!), proctored exams and strict requirements (voice/video and screen sharing, I was asked to turn off even my speakers and then take them away of the table..), duration is also an additional challenge. Overall, I’d rate the exam 10/10.
Exam’s interface. You just have a terminal window, a few servers already prepared and 24 performance-based tasks (all should be done using CLI)

Requirements and preparation

  1. At least 1 year of a real experience with Ubuntu Server or CentOS
  2. Initially, I purchased a bundle (exam and the official companion course that costs about 500$). However, I’d recommend not wasting time on the official course ’cause it’s almost have much text and a bit of practice in fact (boring and not efficient). Instead, buy this course , read man/official docs and do A LOT of practice, learn CLI tips and tricks (key bindings and etc..)
  3. Read carefully each of questions, spend not more about 5-7 mins on one questions, note the weight of the question ( it can be 2, 3% or even 8%, so if you can’t do a question with 2% weight quickly, go ahead and try to do questions that have more weight). I did all 24 questions (partly or completely), so wasn’t worry about the grade result.
  4. If you like reading books, I’d recommend the latest edition of the Linux Bible by Christopher Negus, which actually is one of the best book available in the market. What makes the book unique? It’s structure – every chapter has a summary followed by practice tasks, and meets the exam’s domains and competences. Just start reading from the first page, do tasks and master your CLI skills. Although the book was initially written for CentOS, however, the author made some changes in the recent editions to fit Ubuntu as well. In short, a fundamental work that deserves to be assessed by making a purchase.
  5. Sleep well, don’t drink the day before the exam 🙂

I wish you good luck and don’t ever give up.

LFCS: Linux Foundation Certified Systems Administrator
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