CKAD Exam Guide - Certified Kubernetes Application Developer

The Kubernetes Application Developer Certification is a practical hands-on exam.

CKAD Exam Guide - Certified Kubernetes Application Developer
Image by Emile Perron

The Linux Foundation offers Kubernetes Application Developer Certification program that allows developers to demonstrate their competence in a hands-on, command-line environment.  

The purpose of the Kubernetes Certification (CKAD) program is to help organizations identify and provide assurance that CKADs have the critical skills, knowledge, and competency to design, build, configure, and expose cloud native applications for Kubernetes.

CKAD is intended for developers and experienced programmers to prove expertise for integrating Kubernetes into a software/application development process.

To earn this certification, you'll need to demonstrate the skills and working knowledge lacked to securely deploy complex applications to Kubernetes.

Supplementary information, such as the CKAD Exam Curriculum, Preparation Courses, Exam Practice Lab Setups, and up-to-date resources, is in this exam guide. Read on to learn more.

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CKAD Exam Syllabus – Certified Application Developer (June 2022)

The CKAD Exam assumes a working knowledge of container runtimes and microservice architecture.

  • You should have experience developing code
  • Basic comfortability with Linux and Linux command line
  • Familiarity with YAML, and Vim

The exam features a combination of formats:

  • Problem-Based Exam
  • Online Proctored (using Exam Simulator)
  • Solving tasks from a command line running Kubernetes

The Exam curriculum includes the following domains:

  • Application Design and Build – 20%
  • Application Deployment – 20%
  • Application Observability and Maintenance – 20%
  • Application Environment, Configuration and Security — 25%
  • Services and Networking — 20%

That being said, let’s take a look at the topics and concepts you'd need to grasp from these domains.


Application Design and Build

This domain focuses on the competence and working knowledge required to design, build, and configure applications for Kubernetes.

  • Learn to use Kubernetes on your machine and as well as on Cloud Platforms like Google, AWS, Azure, and DigitalOcean.
  • Learn YAML and kubectl command-line tool
  • Learn Multi-Container Pod design patterns
  • Learn about jobs and CronJobs
  • Learn how to integrate external storage volumes, leverage powerful multi-container Pod patterns, and secure application access to the Kubernetes API

Application Deployment

This domain focuses on different deployment techniques including, rolling updates, Blue/Green deployments, Canary deployments, and as well as deploying packages using Helm.

  • Learn deployment techniques to ensure your code and applications work properly
  • Deploy containers within Pods, learn to work with deployments, and how to expose a pod with a service
  • Understand rolling deployments work, their benefits, and learn how to roll back a deployment in case something goes wrong
  • Learn how deployments work, define deployments using YAML and migrate them to Kubernetes using the kubectl Command-Line tool

Application Observability and Maintenance

This domain focuses on the different techniques that can help your productivity and assesses your abilities to provide solutions to simplify the process with tools that support live development.

  • Use monitoring and troubleshooting tools, such as Prometheus and Grafana, to monitor Kubernetes and provide alerts
  • Learn LivenessProbes, ReadinessProbes and StartupProbes
  • Learn to use and comprehend container logs
  • Debug running pods and containers

Application Environment, Configuration and Security

This domain will focus on storage volumes, leveraging powerful multi-container Pod patterns, and your abilities to secure application access to the Kubernetes API.

  • Learn to integrate production-grade external storage volumes into Kubernetes clusters
  • Understand Service Accounts and SecurityContexts
  • Understand the role of storage, ConfigMaps, and secrets
  • Learn to define resource requirements
  • Learn authentication, authorization and admission control
  • Use RBAC to control access to the Kubernetes API from the applications running on your clusters
  • Learn Persistent Volume Claims for storage

Services and Networking

This domain examines skills, and the working knowledge of best practices to securely deploy applications to Kubernetes.

  • Learn basics of NetworkPolicies
  • Learn to troubleshoot Pods (basics)
  • Provide access to applications via services
  • Learn Kubernetes Ingress
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CKAD Exam Courses – Certified Kubernetes Application Developer Training

The expectations placed on a Kubernetes Application Developer will differ depending on the organization and the team they join.

Whatever course a learner pursues, it’s important that it equips them with essential skills that can serve as the building blocks for their cloud career.

These CKAD Courses will help you become highly prepared for the certification exam and also job roles. 👇


1. Kubernetes Application Developer Training Course

The Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) training program developed by The Linux Foundation and CNCF aims to help learners become successful Application developers according to the industry norms.  

This program comprises 5 modules to learn to design, building, and deploying cloud-native applications for Kubernetes.  

Kubernets Application Developer
Image by The Linux Foundation

What you will learn?

In the first module, you will learn to define, build and change container images, then understand Jobs and CronJobs. You'll also learn to make use of multi-container Pod design patterns, use persistent and ephemeral volume.

In the second module, you will focus thoroughly on the Application deployment by using Kubernetes primitives to implement common deployments and perform rolling updates. You'll gain familiarity with Helm—The Kubernetes Package Manager to manage your applications and also to deploy any existing packages.

In the third module, you will focus on working with APIs, conducting diagnostics and performing health checks by making the use of important tools to monitor Kubernetes applications. You'll also learn to access and utilise container logs useful for debugging in Kubernetes.

The fourth module could be complex, but with hands-on exercises, you’ll discover and use resources that extend Kubernetes (CRD) and learn authentication, authorization, and admission control. This module also covers topics to help you learn how to create & consume Secrets and work with ServiceAccounts and SecurityContexts. You’ll also understand defining resource requirements, limits and quotas.

In the final module, you will gain a basic familiarity with NetworkPolicies and learn to provide access and troubleshoot applications via services. You'll also learn to learn to expose applications by using Ingress rules.


Is it right for you?

This training program is suitable for experienced developers.

It can also be bundled with a Certification Exam.

By pursuing CKAD from The Linux Foundation, you are likely to get through the initial HR screening for an interview because it is valuable and always up-to date.

When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge required to deploy your code and ensure it works properly in a Kubernetes cluster.

You can use CKAD as the groundwork for earning the CKA.

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GO TO – Kubernetes Application Developer by The Linux Foundation

2. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) Learning Path

This learning path is developed by Pluralsight and taught by the experienced and qualified Kubernetes engineers and Docker Captains.

You’ll gain skills required to integrate Kubernetes into your application development process, making it convenient to develop, distribute, and manage containerized  application.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer
Image by Pluralsight

What you will learn?

In the first course, you will learn core Kubernetes concepts. It provides a developer-focused view of key Kubernetes resources that play an important role in the software development workflow.

In the second course, you will learn to deploy code to Kubernetes. You'll learn about deployment techniques like rolling updates, Canary deployments, Blue-Green deployments, jobs and CronJobs, as well as troubleshooting pods to diagnose problems.

In the third course, you will learn to deploy applications to Kubernetes in production. You'll gain the working knowledge of how to integrate external storage volumes, leverage multi-container Pod patterns, and secure application access to the Kubernetes API.

Fourth course is helpful to learn how to move containers created with Docker Compose into Kubernetes for development or testing purposes. You will learn to simplify the process and use Skaffold that supports live development of an application.

Last course, will help you learn how to move your application to the cloud. You understand how to create and update a cluster with your application on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.


Is it right for you?

This learning path is suitable for experienced developers.

Once you are positively ready, register for the CKAD Exam on The Linux Foundation.

By the end, you'll be equipped to take your working knowledge as a developer and fit that into the Kubernetes ecosystem.

You will gain skills and knowledge to deploy and update application on three major cloud providers; AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

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GO TO – Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) by Pluralsight


3. Architecting with Google Kubernetes Engine Specialization

Google Cloud Training serves this brisk specialization to help learners employ the best Architecting practices with Kubernetes on Google Cloud Engine.

This specialization comprises 4 courses to equip cloud practitioners with skills and working knowledge of the core infrastructure, app engine, cloud storage, big table, workloads, production, etc.

The main goal of this specialization is to equip people for the job roles. You will learn to create the blueprints for containarized applications, design plans for integrations, and oversee the underlying processes and infrastructure.

Architecting with Google Kubernetes Engine Specializtion
Image by Coursera

What you will learn?

In the first course, you will learn about Google Cloud fundamentals to gain a solid understanding of the Core Infrastructure, including terminology for working with Google Cloud and its products and services.

In the second course, you will learn about Kubernetes Engine. You will learn to create and managing software containers and also get a thorough introduction to the architecture of Kubernetes.

Next, the third course will provide an introduction to Workloads. You will learn how to perform Kubernetes operations; creating and managing deployments, as well as make use of the tools of Google Kubernetes Engine–GKE networking. This course will help you realize how to give persistent storage to the Kubernetes workloads.

Fourth course, will help you learn about production with Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud. You'll also learn about security, including logging and monitoring and also learn to use Google Cloud managed storage and database services from within Google Kubernetes Engine..


Is it right for you?

This beginner friendly specialization is suitable for Kubernetes Application Developer job roles.

If you are preparing for the certification, we highly recommend learning from The Linux Foundation or Pluralsight mentioned above.

This specialization will help to become skilled in implementing solutions using Google Kubernetes Engine, including building, providing persistent storage, scheduling, load balancing, and monitoring workloads.

By the end, you will become acquainted with the best security practices and learn best architecting practices with Google Kubernetes Engine.


Best CKAD Exam Resources

We’d be remiss not to provide resources and answers for the most commonly asked CKAD Questions which will help both aspiring and experienced Cloud Practitioners.


— CKAD EXAM Practice Resources

As with the CKAD exam, there are a plenty of high quality resources available to help you learn about using Kubernetes as an application developer, but practice will be critical to passing the exam. These resources will put you in a fast lane to become highly prepared.

You can use the following websites while you are taking the exam:

Cloud Credits: Learn how to move your Kubernetes applications to the cloud. Free credits will allow you to create and update a cluster with your applications on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.


— CKAD Experience for Job roles

A CKAD is qualified to define application resources and use Kubernetes core primitives to create/migrate, configure, expose and observe scalable applications.

  • You should have experience developing code in at least one high-level programming language; Python, Node.js, Go, or Java.
  • Working Knowledge of cloud native application concepts and architectures is exceedingly helpful.
  • Ability to build highly automated infrastructures; and administering operating systems is helpful for the most job roles
  • You must have a good experience in Linux, familiarity with Linux command line, YAML, and file editing skills using a text editor like Vim.

— CKAD Career Potential

The certification provides high prospects of landing a job, and groundwork for earning the CKA are all excellent reasons for getting the CKAD.

CKAD is a sought-after DevOps certification for cloud engineers.

Like many high-level cloud computing jobs, Kubernetes Application Developers earn salaries significantly above the national average, often over six figures.

This Kubernetes Certification – CKAD will help you get into DevOps and the average base salary for a DevOps Kubernetes Engineer is $150,000 or $76.92 per hour, according to talent.com.

Kubernetes Application Developer Salary
Image by Talent.com

— CKAD vs CKA

CKAD is easier to prepare and pass compared to CKA.

  • CKAD focuses on building and managing applications for Kubernetes. It is suitable for developer, deployment specialist, or DevOps engineer in the world of Kubernetes.
  • CKA focuses on building and managing the Kubernetes environment. It is an operations-focused role, suitable for administrators.

CKAD provides high prospects of landing a job and is groundwork for earning the CKA and CKS.

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Consider reading Kubernetes Certification Path Guide

Closing Notes

The path to becoming a Kubernetes Application Developer can be an exciting and a rewarding one.

In this CKAD exam guide, we have outlined steps and provided the finest resources and tips to help you pass the exam. Practicing and learning from these resources will back you to understand application development on Kubernetes in a better way and help in your cloud career progression.

We will keep updating this guide with the most recent K8s minor version and new tools and resources—all the best for your plans.

Thanks for making it to the end...

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