Journey to Docker Certified Associate

The journey from first using Docker, to becoming a Docker Captain, and now a Docker Certified Associate.

Journey to Docker Certified Associate

This week is Docker's 5th birthday. Incredible to think what has transpired the last five years. Solomon Hykes presented Linux containers to the world at a Python conference. This short 5-minute presentation changed my career path, the entire IT market, and introduced the IT industry to an entirely new way to develop and operate applications.

Five years ago I was deploying VM's with VMWare. It worked for the moment, but it was far from being automated, reproducible, etc. It was very much a Pet and not Cattle. I discovered Docker around April/May 2014. For those keeping track at home, this is around version 0.9. The first versions of Docker were installed using the command: curl |sh This alone blew us away by installing software from a bash script hosted on a website. Very clever!

It took me only a couple days to buy entirely into the Docker concept. I instantly started dockerizing all my monitoring tools from Nagios to several bash scripts. At this point, you could not have a rational conversation with me any longer. Everything had to be Dockerized, and I was visiting everyone that would listen to tell them about this extraordinary new way of working.

Sometime end of 2014 or beginning of 2015 I discovered Grafana, InfluxDB, cAdvisor, and Prometheus. I started right away on containerizing the different components but most importantly use docker-compose to orchestrate an entire monitoring stack. Sure, people were running the separate containers, but I was one of the first ones to throw everything into a compose file and document the entire process. I created both InfluxDB, cAdvisor, and Grafana and a Prometheus, cAdvisor, and Grafana stacks.

After creating these stacks, I had to tell the world how cool and simple it is to orchestrate entire application stacks. First, I was invited to Google Z├╝rich to present monitoring to a tech event. Next, I was invited to several other meetups to present. Somewhere along the line, Docker asked if I wanted to join the first batch of the Docker Captains program. Finally, Docker asked if I wanted to present at DockerCon EU Barcelone 2015. Let me think for a moment, heck yeah!

This time seems like all a blur as so much happened from the first day of learning Docker to presenting to a Docker conference. I continued presenting Docker, giving Docker training, and being an advocate for Docker throughout the community.

Docker Certified Associate


Docker announced the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) certification exam at DockerCon EU 2017. I somehow missed the chance to take the Beta exam, and it fell on the back burner till now. The exam covers the following Docker domains and how each section is weighted:

Orchestration 25%
Image Creation, Management, and Registry 20%
Installation and Configuration 15%
Networking 15%
Security 15%
Storage and Volumes 10%

DCA Preparation

I for one have colossal test anxiety and am horrible to be around a couple of days before any test. It doesn't matter if it is Trivia night or a driving test. I still get worked up until I second/triple guess everything I am doing. This is regardless that I have maintained production Docker workloads for years now. Ugghh!

I used the following material to prepare for the test:

I must say that the DCA Prep guide by the DevOps Academy was absolutely excellent. It breaks down each section from the Docker Study guide and references them to the exact part of Docker documentation. It was certainly helpful. It was also nice to see that a couple of my previous blog posts referenced in the study guide. Oh great, just some more pressure for my test anxiety!

Test Day

I signed up for the test and didn't think much about it. However, this is the first test that I would be taking that is proctored 100% online from the comfort of home. I must say it was a pleasant experience.

For the test to begin, the proctor asks that you turn your webcam on and share the desktop. I then give them a virtual tour of my office showing that my desk is clear and I even had to remove my coffee which I promptly chugged, all four walls of the office, under the monitor, keyboard, and ensure no one is in the room with me. Once, the test proctor was satisfied the test began.

55 questions and 1 hour later I received a passing score. Hurray!


I encourage everyone to get Docker certified. The Docker Certified Associate certification proves will not only provide "Docker Street cred" in the Docker community, but it also is a great way to level-up your career. I am happy to join the DCA certified club with fellow Docker Captains and Docker community members alike.

Interested to get certified? ->

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