Improve your productivity with Kubernetes using aliases


Kubernetes is the de-facto standard for orchestrating containers. If you are working on a daily basis with Kubernetes, you are most likely using the kubectl to interact with the Kubernetes cluster for performing different operations like listing pods, checking for deployments, viewing logs etc. Working with kubectl using a terminal is the most common approach in such a scenario.  

Earlier I had demonstrated how to use two power tools kubectx and kubens. In this post, we will look at how to give kubectl a huge productivity boost by using programmatically generated aliases. 

A quick word on the alias

If you come from a scripting background with experience in bash or shell scripting or even Powershell scripts, you might be familiar with aliases. These are like shortcuts that we can add to the terminal session to execute a command or piece of code. One of the most commonly used alias while working with kubectl is k. Instead of typing kubectl every time, most people create an alias with k and we can replace/substitute kubectl with k. 

We can persist the aliases across sessions and store them permanently. In the case of bash aliases on Linux or Unix systems, mostly these are stored in the .bashrc profile file under the home directory of the user. The same thing can be done on a Windows environment by creating a function as an alias in a PowerShell profile document. 

Need for kubectl aliases

Now that we understand a bit about aliases, let us see how we can use them with Kubernetes and kubectl to be specific. Kubernetes has various objects like Pods, Deployments, Replicasets, Nodes, Endpoints, PersistentVolume, PersistentVolumeClaims etc. Each of these objects has support for different operations like create, update, delete, edit, get. Along with the different types of operations, there are also different flags that can be used while working with these objects using kubectl like -A or --all for listing objects from all namespaces.

Kubectl also supports displaying information in different formats like JSON or YAML. In order to improve efficiency and productivity while working with kubectl, we can alias the commonly used commands as shown below:

  • alias kg="k get"
  • alias kgpo="kg po" or alias kgpo="kg pods"
  • alias kgno="kg no" or alias kgno="kg nodes"
  • alias kd="k describe"
  • alias kaf="k apply -f"
  • alias kdf="k delete -f"

Note that some Kubernetes objects have short forms like po for pods and no for nodes. We can get the list of resources supported by Kubernetes along with their short names using the following command

kubectl api-resources

The above screenshot shows a partial list of resources, their short names, API versions etc.

If we were to create aliases for each of the resources and different operations supported for that resources, it will be a very time consuming and cumbersome process. This is where a smart guy names Ahmet Alp Balkan came up with a programmatic way to generate aliases for kubectl.


The Github repository contains the list of over 800 aliases that are programmatically generated. It also contains instructions about how to set up these aliases. We need to download the file and source it in our bash profile which makes these aliases available for us to use with the terminal session.

There is a set of conventions followed while naming or generating these aliases. 

  • k = kubectl
    • sys = --namespace kube-system
  • commands
    • g = get
    • d = describe
    • rm = delete
    • a : apply -f
    • ak : apply -k
    • k : kustomize
    • ex : exec -t -t
    • lo : logs -f
  • resources
    • po = pod
    • dep = deployment
    • ing = ingress
    • svc = service
    • cm = configmap
    • sec = secret
    • ns = namespace
    • no = node
  • flags
    • output formats : oyaml, ojson, owide
    • all : -all or --all-namespaces depending on command
    • sl : --show-labels
    • w : -w/--watch
  • value flags : should be at the end
    • n = -n/--namespace
    • f = -f/--filename
    • l = -l/--selector

Using these conventions it is quite convenient to work with kubectl. This reduces typing errors and improves our efficiency greatly. Here are a few examples

  • k get pods --> kgpo
  • k get pods --all-namespaces --> kgpoall
  • k get pods -n kube-system --> ksyspo
  • k get pods -o yaml -> kgpooyaml
  • k get configmaps -n keda --> kgcmn keda

If you are on Windows machine, you need not be left behind. There is a PowerShell version of these aliases. Here is the link to the Github repository created by Shanoor. 

Youtube video

I created a short video demonstrating these in much more detail. Catch all the action in the below Youtube video.



We all want to improve our daily ways of working. I am sure you will benefit from this little tip if you are a regular user of Kubectl. Hopefully in your role as a developer or DevOps engineer or SRE role you find this useful. Do let me know in the comments of this post or in the Youtube video if you have any feedback.

Until next time, Code with Passion and Strive for Excellence.


How to prepare and clear CKAD certification exam



The new year started on a happy note for me. A few days back, I cleared the Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD) certification. This was on the second attempt that I managed to clear the exam. It is the best online certification exam I have answered so far. This post is about my experience with the exam and how to prepare for it. I also share some information that might be helpful during the exam itself.

Exam Curriculum

The exam is completely hands on. There are no multiple choice questions. We are given a set of 6 different Kubernetes clusters. Each cluster has a different configuration and the questions are related to designing and developing cloud native applications in the Kubernetes environment. There are five different broad areas which are assessed as shown below. These include

  • Application Design and Build 20%
  • Application Deployment 20%
  • Application Observability and Maintenance 15%
  • Application Environment, Configuration and Security 25%
  • Services & Networking 20%

The exam is conducted by Linux Foundation in collaboration with Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). You can find out more about the exam on the Linux Foundation training website.

The duration of the test is 2 hours with 66% as the minimum passing score. The certificate is valid for 3 years. In case you are not able to clear on the first attempt, you get 1 free retake.

References for exam preparation

I like to use multiple resources while preparing for any certifications. For CKAD as well I referred to multiple sources of information. Here is a quick list of different references I used.

Kubernetes docs

We are allowed to refer to the Kubernetes docs during the exam. It is like an open book test. The following links are helpful for getting started with Kubernetes and understanding the different concepts.

  • Kubernetes docs -
  • tasks -
  • kubectl cheatsheet -

Learning course

Along with the Kubernetes docs, I supplemented the knowledge by registering for the eLearning course. There are many courses available online. Almost every eLearning platform will have one or more course related to the CKA exam preparation. Some also offer mock test. I took the CKAD exam plus the Kubernetes fundamentals bundle from Linux foundation

The Kubernetes Certified Application Developer (CKAD) with Tests on Udemy by Mumshad Mannambeth is also one of the most popular courses.

I liked the details and the depth this course covers the contents. There are hands on labs or mini tests after every major topic. The course is filled with lots of gems in the form of tips and tricks related to the actual exam.

Github Repos

Here is a list of Github repositories I found useful

  • CKAD Excercises -
  • CKAD resources -
  • Nilesh Gule CKAD exam prep -
  • Denny Zhang kubectl cheatsheet -
  • Ahmet Alp Balkan Kubernetes network policy recipes -


These blog posts provide useful tips for preparation as well as exam

  • Be fast with kubectl -
  • How to nail Kubernetes certification exams -
  • Codefresh Kubernetes cheatsheet -
  • CKAD practical challenge series - 

Watch out for discounts

You will find discounts during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year, Diwali, Eid etc. Make use of these discounts on learning courses as well as the actual test.

Learn Imperative commands

Due to the time limit of 2 hours, you need to be quick in finishing the tasks related to completing the exam. While you can copy and paste yaml from the Kubernetes documentation, editing it could take some time. The test will have specific requirements like naming Kubernetes objects with specific names and deploying them to a specific namespace. Usually, Kubernetes docs will deploy the objects in default namespace. It will save you quite some time if you know how to work with imperative commands. The output of these commands can be piped to yaml files and then you can make the required modifications instead of handcrafting the complete yaml from scratch.

Compared to CKA exam, I found the questions in CKAD to be lengthy. There are more subtasks for each question. You end up solving more subtasks and you need to be really fast.

Learn basic vi or nano editor commands

The test environment is Linux based. If you are coming from Windows background like me, you need to be familiar with vi or nano code editors. Be familiar with editing files and command like deleting lines of code, navigating to specific lines, updating a word, saving files etc.

Here is a handy cheatsheet I found to work with the vi editor more effectively.

Practice, Practice, practice

Whoever has cleared the CKA, CKAD or CKS exams will tell you that practice is the most important part of exam preparation. If you don't know how to work with the Kubernetes resources or objects using kubectl, there is no way you are going to clear this test. There could be multiple ways of achieving the same task. You need to find the one which is the most time efficient. 

Bookmark specific links

Bookmarking the links from Kubernetes documentation is helpful to find the resource quickly. Instead of bookmarking the top level pages, I recommend bookmarking specific sections to avoid scrolling through the lengthy page looking for information.

Practice exam

If you book the Kubernetes related certification exam after June 2021, you will have access to the practice exam from This exam gives you two attempts at the same test. The environment is available for 36 hours and answers along with a detailed explanation of the steps is provided to help you prepare better for real test.

Tips during the exam

  • Use external monitor (recommended), minimize screen switching
  • External keyboard and mouse can be used
  • Enable kubectl auto completions
  • create aliases (before starting test)
  • Update vimrc / editor profile
  • Time management
    • use imperative commands (huge time saver)
    • use copy feature instead of typing
    • use the notepad feature to make quick notes
    • flag questions for review
    • don't spend too much time on a single question (avg 5-6 mins)
  • verify solution after task completion

Aliases in bash profile

I added the following aliases in the bash profile to reduce typing kubectl commands

  • alias cls=clear

  • alias kg='k get'
  • alias kgpo='kg po'
  • alias kgno='kg no'

  • alias kdes='k describe'

  • alias kaf='k apply -f'
  • alias kdf='k delete -f'
Along with these aliases, I had also exported to handy commands
  • export do='--dry-run=client -o yaml'
  • export fg='--force --grace-period=0'

vi editor settings

Last but not the least, I also updated the settings for vi editor so that text can be aligned/indented properly when we tab in the editor. This also helps when we copy and paste the code snippets from Kubernetes docs.

  • set tabstop=2
  • set shiftwidth=2
  • set expandtab

Youtube video

All the topics mentioned in this post are explained in more detail in the Youtube video. 


CKAD certification is meant to gauge the skills of Kubernetes developers. If you do not know how to build and deploy cloud-native applications which are deployed on the Kubernetes cluster, this certification is not for you. Practice well before taking the exam. There are 17 questions with different weights. Hope this post is helpful for those preparing for the exam in future.

Until next time, Code with Passion and Strive for Excellence.