Pass Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) in 30 days (2023)
Hello there! I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to tell you about my story behind getting certified as a Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS). I will also share my study plans, resources, and strategies to pass the exam.
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CKS is the hardest of all the Kubernetes certifications.
As I passed my CKAD and CKA in a month, I thought taking CKS would complete the cycle. But since CKS was a harder exam, I first thought I should not go for it but then I had to think about my long-term goal of moving into hybrid cloud space with Kubernetes. Thus, I decided to do CKS. Briefly talking, I have some experience in Kubernetes. So, I enrolled in Mumshad’s Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist course on KodeKloud. I went through the course step by step following the course’s curriculum.
Then, I purchased the exam and tried the Killer Shell first session. That made me realize where I was in the readiness path toward the certification. I revisited all the concepts once again, did the mock tests, and tried the Killer Shell again and again until I was confident. Then, I scheduled the exam for the next day and repeated the same process until the moment before the exam.
About CKS exam
According to the CNCF website, the Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist (CKS) program assures that a CKS has the skills, knowledge, and competence on a broad range of best practices for securing container-based applications and Kubernetes platforms during build, deployment, and runtime. The cost for the exam is $395 but you can wait for frequent discounts.
You need to be certified on CKA to sit for CKS.
The exam is an online proctored performance-based test in a command line where you will be given a certain amount of tasks that you will have to solve in 2 hours. When you purchase the exam, you will also get two Killer Shell sessions, which is an emulator for helping you prepare for the exam.
Questions on the Killer Shell are comparatively hard.
Aim to score above 90% in the Killer Shell
Here is the weightage on each topic for the exam:
Cluster Setup — 10%
Cluster Hardening — 15%
System Hardening — 15%
Minimize Microservice Vulnerabilities — 20%
Supply Chain Security — 20%
Monitoring, Logging, and Runtime Security — 20%
Changes in the new version
As of June 2022, the exam has changed slightly. Here are the changes:
Remote Ubuntu Desktop instead of Remote Terminal
Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V for copy and paste in the Desktop
Ctrl+Shift+C/V for terminal
~ Week 1 — Revisiting CKA concepts
~ Weeks 2 & 3 — KodeKloud CKS course with practice labs
~ Week 4 — Killer Shell Sessions, revisiting concepts, mock tests
I practiced my way up to score above 90% in the Killer Shell and it turned out to be an advantage in the exam. I felt some questions to be easy and a couple of questions to be hard, not as undoable but I ran out of time. The environment by PSI is not that smooth and scrolling inside the Desktop is also a little hard. So, I’ll recommend using a larger monitor for taking the exam.
Note: You can only use 1 active monitor for the exam.
24 hours later, I saw PASS on the exam portal.
- KodeKloud CKS Course by Mumshad
- KodeKloud CKS Challenges
- Killer Shell
- KodeKloud Kubernetes Challenges
- Always keep track of time.
- Use imperative commands as much as possible.
- Don’t spend time setting an alias for kubectl (it now comes pre-installed).
- Keep an eye on the context of each question.