CKA Study Guide - 2024 edition

Around three years ago I passed the Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam. As part of my preparations back then I created blog posts on the content I studied, as well as a summary Study guide post.

This post is an updated version of that study guide. Some of the content is the same, some of it might be updated and some of it is new.

There's lots and lots of study guides out there already, but I find that blogging about something helps me to learn and if that can help others that's a huge bonus. An Overview of the blog posts, both created for my 2024 exam and posts created three years back can be found here

So let's get started. We'll take a look at the exam it self and what we need to prepare for

The exam

The specifics for the CKA exam can be found over at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation website. There's also a FAQ for the different CNCF Kubernetes exams which is quite nice and helps answering your questions about how to schedule the exam, how to prepare the physical testing environment, ID requirements etc and there's a page with Inportant instructions which includes some tips on how to work in the online exam environment.

A few points worth noting (please read the CNCF material thoroughly):

  • Currently (dec 2023) the exam is based on Kubernetes version 1.28. Please take this into consideration when working with the different study material, a lot of it might use an earlier version. The goal is to align the exam environment with the current Kubernetes minor version 4-8 weeks after release date so be sure to check what version is used when sitting the exam.
  • The exam is lab/performance based and consist of different tasks/problems to be solved on the command line running on Linux
  • There's 15-20 tasks that needs to be solved in 2 hours
  • The exam is done online and you can take it from anywhere you'd like as long as your location meets the requirements
  • Available resources during the exam is documents provided in the lab machine and ONE additional browser tab which can be used to access resources at,,

The exam environment consists of different Kubernetes clusters so be sure to know how to switch contexts on the command line.

Speaking of the command line, please make sure you're comfortable with working with your Kubernetes resources on the command line. The available command line tools in the exam environment is:

  • kubectl with k alias and Bash autocompletion
  • jq for YAML/JSON processing
  • tmux for terminal multiplexing
  • curl and wget for testing web services
  • man and man pages for further documentation

The exam objectives

The tested objectives/domains in the CKA exam is focused on "skills required to be a successful Kubernetes Administrator in industry today" as CNCF puts it.

Domain Weight
Cluster Architecture, Installation & Configuration 25%
Workloads & Scheduling 15%
Service & Networking 20%
Storage 10%
Troubleshooting 30%

By looking at this table we can see that over 50% of the exam is based on installing/configuring a cluster and its nodes and troubleshooting. So if you're only interested in passing the exam and have limited time this is probably where you need to invest the most of your time and efforts.

For me this is just as much (if not more) a process of learning Kubernetes so I'll treat the domains more or less equally, albeit having this table in mind when prioritizing.

The full curriculum can be found here and I'll go through that in upcoming posts, an Overview can be found here

Study Resources

So with the exam and objectives discussed, let's take a look at some study resources. I'll probably update this as I move forward. I'll add a few comments on each one, but I won't do a "review" of them as I believe people learn in different ways and that a study resource not working for me could be perfect for others.

Most of these resources are paid resources so take that in account when reviewing

The Kubernetes Book

Paid resource

The Kubernetes Book by Nigel Poulton is a great resource for understanding the different concepts of Kubernetes with lots of examples which you can follow along with using the accompanying Lab files on GitHub

Linux Foundation training

I haven't used this for my re-certification in 2024. This section is a copy from my preparations back in 2020/21

Paid resource

I purchased a bundle with a training course from The Linux Foundation, LFS258, and the CKA exam. The training course includes quite a few examples on how to solve tasks in a Kubernetes cluster. There's some video material in the course with introductions to the different topics, but mostly you're left with reading through slides and solving tasks based on this.

I did go through this course when I started preparing earlier this year so I won't go through all of it again, but I'll probably revisit some topics as I see fit. They also have a exam preparation part which I'll make use of to see what I need to spend more time on before the exam.

Kubernetes Up & Running

I haven't used this for my re-certification in 2024. This section is a copy from my preparations back in 2020/21

Paid resource

This is a book by Joe Beda, Kelsey Hightower and Brendan Burns. Three very important individuals when it comes to the evolvement of Kubernetes.

The book is not specific to the CKA exam, but it does explain a lot of topics in depth and is an important resource when learning Kubernetes. It includes an example application that is used for exploring different topics and the tasks needed to perform different objectives

Kubernetes The Hard Way

I haven't used this for my re-certification in 2024. This section is a copy from my preparations back in 2020/21

Free resource

Kubernetes The Hard Way is a tutorial by Kelsey Hightower that really take you through how to install and configure a Kubernetes environment without using any of the automated commands that we usually use.

It covers how to provision the compute resources, how to set up the certificates and encryption used in the cluster, deploying an etcd cluster as well as the Kubernetes nodes, networking and more.

The guide is based on Google Compute Cloud (GCP) compute resources, but should be easy enough to port over to other platforms so this could be a great resource for learning Kubernetes. I guess if you're only interested in the exam and have limited time this resource might not fit as it probably is requiring quite some time to finish, or you'll use it as your only resource.

At the time of this writing (dec 2020) it's based on Kubernetes 1.18.6

Pluralsight videos

I haven't used this for my re-certification in 2024. This section is a copy from my preparations back in 2020/21

Paid resource

Through the VMware vExpert program I have access to Pluralsight which has quite a few video resources available for learning Kubernetes.

At the moment I haven't looked at specific videos I plan to use, but they have a CKA specific learning path


I haven't used this for my re-certification in 2024. This section is a copy from my preparations back in 2020/21

Paid resource also has lots of video resources for learning Kubernetes. There's also a specific course for preparing for the CKA exam.

The CKA course has 32 hands-on labs and it looks promising for those that wants a guided experience.


I haven't used this for my re-certification in 2024. I have however updated some of this section as KubeAcademy seems to have changed slightly since 2021

Free resource

KubeAcademy by VMware is a free resource that has quite a few video resources. The KubeAcademy has around 30 online courses and even though it's offered by VMware it aims to be platform/cloud agnostic.

It has courses for both beginner, intermediate and advanced individuals, and also a specific course for CKA preparation. The videos are quite short, or bite-sized as VMware puts it, and I found that to be somewhat limiting.

KubeAcademy has a CKA prep course consisting of three videos covering the curriculum, preparation resources and command-line tips. Again, the videos are quite short (bite-sized), 21 minutes in total.

Note that they are created around the Kubernetes 1.15 version and it uses an older curriculum (more or less same concepts, but different setup and weight) and a different exam time (three hours) and number of questions (24) than the current exam (two hours and 15-20 questions).

The take-away in my opinion is the focus on using the documentation site in preparations and a few command-line tips (last video)

The Network course in the KubeAcademy is a great resource for understanding Networking in Kubernetes. It covers both basics and also more in depth stuff concerning Services, Ingress and Network Policies.

I've struggled with quite a few of these concepts previously, but this course has helped my understanding a lot

Kubernetes documentation

Free resource

The documentation is essential for everyone regardless of preparing for the exam or not. As this is a resource allowed when doing the exam you should familiarize yourself with how to use it effectively as well.

My own content..

Free resource

Lastly I wanted to shamelessly list my own content. I've mentioned this Summary page a few times already, but for my re-certification in 2024 this was actually the resource I mostly used.


This is my work-in-progress CKA study guide and will (probably) be updated as I advance in my CKA studies. If you have any questions or comments feel free to reach out

This page was modified on January 7, 2024: CKA study guide 2024