How I passed Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) Exam?

How I passed Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) Exam?

I had no prior knowledge on Kubernetes and it took me 5 months to clear this

Who am I?

I'm Maran Sowthri Kalailingam, Software Engineer @ athenahealth.

When did I get certified?

On December 28, 2022. You can check out my badge here

Here's how I did it

It all started on Aug 19, 2022. My initial plan was to learn more about Docker and attend the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) exam at the end of December 2022.

I enrolled on the most popular Docker Course on Udemy - Docker Mastery: with Kubernetes + Swarm from a Docker Captain by Bret Fisher.

As I already knew some basics about Docker, it was quite easy to follow. I started watching the lectures and trying out things on my Docker desktop day by day. If you looked at the title of the course, it's not just about Docker, it also included some modules on "Container Orchestration" tools - Kubernetes & Docker Swarm. I was not familiar with these tools before I started this course. But as the DCA exam curriculum includes both of them, there is no way for me to skip these lectures.

Honestly, it was a bit hard for me to understand container orchestration lectures at the beginning. But, every time I feel like I don't get it, I'll be brutally honest with myself and replay the lecture from the beginning and/or learn from their official documentation page.

I completed the course within a month. Bret also added a lot of lectures on new features of Docker, best practices, and recommended security measures kinds of videos (from Sections 19 to 26). These are all great content, but since my objective was to prepare for the DCA exam I skipped them all.

But, somewhere at the end of this course, Bret mentioned this

I was a beta test taker for the DCA Exam in the fall of 2017. At the time it was 100% Docker CLI and Engine features. However, in 2022, it's not a sought-after certification and isn't even controlled by Docker Inc. anymore. I don't recommend you bother with the DCA unless you use the Mirantis Kubernetes cluster solution. The DCA is now as much about Kubernetes as it is about Docker CLI ...

This made me think twice. I did some research about this on the internet and decided not to go forward with DCA.

From there, my CKAD journey starts. Though I learned a little bit about Kubernetes (K8s) in Bret's course, I still assumed I was a newbie to K8s. So I searched and enrolled on one of the highly rated CKAD courses on Udemy - Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests by Mumshad Mannambeth.

But Mumshad said you know what you should learn the basics of Docker & Kubernetes first. He recommended a couple of courses for that - Docker for the Absolute Beginner - Hands On - DevOps & Kubernetes for the Absolute Beginners - Hands-on.

So I took a step back and started my journey from Kubernetes for the Absolute Beginners course. (I didn't take his Docker for the Absolute Beginner course as I already finished the similar one from Bret earlier).

It took me hardly 10 days to finish it.

Then I started the CKAD course. One interesting thing I came to know is CKAD is a performance-based test that consists of a set of performance-based tasks (problems) to be solved in a command line. I loved it! To me, this is the right way to test someone's knowledge.

Mumshad has his own platform KodeKloud, which is almost similar to the real exam. If you enrolled on his course on Udemy, you will get free access to CKAD labs on KodeKloud.

At the end of each lecture, we will be asked to solve a bunch of questions on KodeKloud related to a specific topic. It was fun to follow and interesting to keep going.

It took me around two months to complete the CKAD course.

After finishing this, I wanted to test my knowledge. I found another great free platform Killercoda. Killercoda provides interactive environments for different technologies (including K8s) to test our knowledge. There's a separate section for CKAD.

I took the Killercoda test and was happy with the results. I also read that if I register for the real CKAD exam I will get a free practice exam from

The CKAD exam costs 395 USD, but I purchased it for a 50% offer during their cyber security week. Here, purchasing and scheduling the exam can be done at 2 different times. I purchased the exam on December 5, 2022, and I had one year time period to schedule my exam. As I mentioned I was also provided with the free practice exam from

I attended the practice exam the next week and again was quite happy with the results.

I took a few more days to recap the things that I learned and finally scheduled my exam on December 27, 2022.

I attended the exam in the early morning (6'o clock) and got my results the next day.

The thing that I liked about this performance-based test is I know where exactly I missed that 6 mark.

That's all, hope you found it useful!

P.S: My company athenahealth reimbursed my entire examination fees 💖


  1. Docker Mastery: with Kubernetes + Swarm from a Docker Captain by Bret Fisher

  2. Kubernetes for the Absolute Beginners - Hands-on

  3. Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests by Mumshad Mannambeth

  4. CKAD labs on KodeKloud

  5. Killercoda

  6. Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) Registration


My Digita Badges

You can check out all my digital badges here.