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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

In this blog post you will find some personal insights about how to get certified as Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) by the CNCF and Linux Academy.

For insights about the other CNCF certifications, see

Anything to add? Leave a comment below.

Useful? Give us a like and share on social media.

Questions? Please use the community Q&A.


Once you passed the exam, you will receive a digital badge from Credly.

About the Exam 


The Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) program was created by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), in collaboration with The Linux Foundation.

SAP is a platinum member of the CNCF together with companies like AWS, Apple, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, VMWare, and many others.


Information about the exam is published on the CNCF website. This is also where you can register for the exam and access exam resources like the candidate handbook.

The CKAD program was introduced in 2017 and renewed in 2021. The certification is valid for three  years.

The cost of the exam is a bit above market average. There are, however, occasional discounts of which the Cyber Monday deal (up to 60% off) is the most predictable.

The candidate handbook and certification FAQ is maintained on the Linux Foundation website.

Topic Areas

Exam Page

What you need to know is maintained in the exam curriculum.

The curriculum is regularly updated. Make sure to check the CNCF GitHub repository before taking the exam.

Exam Format

The CNCF / Linux Foundation exam is very different from the multiple choice question-type exams commonly used for certifications. Instead of answering many questions, you need to complete a limited number of activities, using commands and a browser terminal.

You have access to the Kubernetes documentation (see below) and in theory could simply look up how to perform the activity. In practice, however, you won't have the time.

For this reason, it is very important to be familiar with the documentation.

In addition, you will need to fairly fluent working with the Linux shell with an editor like vi(m), in order not to waste precious time.

For more information, see

How to Prepare (CNCF) 

Introduction to Kubernetes

If you are already familiar with containers, a good place to start is the Linux Foundation course hosted by edX. in a few hours, you learn the backgrounds of container orchestration, the architecture, security, services, storage, and networking.

The LFS158x course is free but as with most edX courses, you can get access to the questions and final exam by paying a fee and receive, assuming you manage to pass the tests, a certificate of completion.

Kubernetes for Developers

The CKAD preparation course by the Linux Foundation covers what you need to know for the exam. Each topic is introduced with a short video, some reading material, links for additional information, and lab exercises.

As with the exam, the training assumes you are familiar with the Linux shell and know how to handle a command line editor. Anticipate a steep learning curve otherwise.

Although there are periodic discounts, the LFS courses unfortunately are priced rather steep. Taking the course is not required and there are some good (and more affordable) alternatives available (see below).

Kubernetes Exam Simulator

As the exam is 100% hands-on, the best preparation is to practice, practice, practice.

The good news is that when you sign up for the exam, you get access to two sessions on the Kubernetes Exam Simulator. Should you with to practice a bit more, you can purchase additional sessions for a very reasonable fee.

The simulator will help you get familiar with the type of questions you can expect, setting the context, how to approach the activities, working with YAML generators, vi(m), command line aliases, and other time savers.


For the exam you have (and need) access to the Kubernetes documentation. The better you know the docs, the more likely you pass the exam. Make sure to read the Concepts section, go through the Tutorials and try out the Tasks.



Another great way to prepare are to go through the exercises posted on GitHub. There are many but here are a few good places to start

Interactive Scenarios for Kubernetes Application Developers

The somewhat ominous sounding Killer Shell website is from the same project as the Kubernetes Cloud Exam Simulator.

Online Training

There is a lot of learning material available about containers, Kubernetes, and the CKAD certification. This is great news for the lifelong learners. However, for those wishing to pass the exam it may be more of a distraction and not necessarily the best way to prepare.

Practioners warning: no amount of book reading or video tutorial watching will suffice to pass the exam. Hands-on experience is required. Make sure to spend most of your time in the lab, not on your couch.


If you don't mind Dutch accents, you will enjoy the course by Sander van Vugt. Covers what you need to know with focus on hands-on exercise and practice.

Online video courses can be expensive. You can try O'Reilly for free for a limited time, which may be enough to go through the course material

Udemy (KodeKloud)

The popular and highly rated KodeKloud CKAD course on Udemy is similar to the Linux Foundation LFS courses but with (much) more training tutorial content, labs, and several mock exams. You can access the material from the company website directly or through Udemy.


For those with a subscription, there is a 13 hour CKAD Certification Prep Path on Pluralsight with lab demos and many exercises.

LinkedIn Learning

For those with a subscription, there are many courses about Kubernetes and containers on the platform. Use the ratings and publication date for the most relevant material. For a short CKAD exam tips course, see


There are many books written about Kubernetes which can help with the preparation for CKAD.

Practioners warning: no amount of book reading or video tutorial watching will suffice to pass the exam. Hands-on experience is required. Make sure to spend most of your time in the lab, not on your couch.

Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) Study Guide

Excellent exam guide with many code samples (GitHub) and exercises (also on Amazon, etc.)


Burns, Beda, and Hightower

From the "founders", a good read (and a free copy with compliments of VMware Tanzu)

Share and Connect

Anything to add? Leave a comment below.

Useful? Give us a like and share on social media.

Questions? Please use the community Q&A.


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For the author page of SAP PRESS, visit

Over the years, for the SAP HANA Academy, SAP’s Partner Innovation Lab, and à titre personnel, I have written a little over 300 posts here for the SAP Community. Some articles only reached a few readers. Others attracted quite a few more.For your reading pleasure and convenience, here is a curated list of posts which somehow managed to pass the 10k-view mile stone and, as sign of current interest, still tickle the counters each month.

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