Should You Get A Docker Certification? Pros, Cons & Courses

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Are you interested in learning the container technology Docker and want to know more about how you can improve your skills? Or do you already have some experience with it and want to get to the next level?

Studying to get a Docker certification can not only help you learn Docker, but also prove your skills to potential employers/clients once you pass the Docker certification exam.

In this post, I’ll break down what the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) certification is, why you might want to get Docker training and certification, everything you need to know about it, and the 5 best courses to study for the Docker certification exam.

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

Table of Contents

What Is a Docker Certification?

The Docker Certified Associate (DCA) exam is the only official professional Docker certification training program for Docker container technologies. DCA is the first exam in a comprehensive multi-tiered professional certification program.

Docker certification

This Docker certification essentially proves that you can do the following things:

  • Run containerized applications from pre-existing images stored in a centralized registry
  • Deploy images across the cluster
  • Triage and resolve issue reports from stakeholders and resolve
  • Stand up on Enterprise clusters with one UCP manager, one DTR replica, and one worker node
  • Migrate traditional applications to containers
  • Configure and troubleshoot Docker engine
  • Perform general maintenance and configuration

📃 How the Docker certification exam works: The exam is offered by Mirantis Training. There are 55 total questions in 90 minutes—13 multiple choice and 42 discrete option multiple choice (DOMC) questions. Instead of having to go to a physical location, the exam is remotely proctored on your Windows or Mac computer.

➡️ The exam covers 6 main “domains”:

  1. Orchestration (25% of exam)
  2. Image Creation, Management, and Registry (20% of exam)
  3. Installation and Configuration (15% of exam)
  4. Networking (15% of exam)
  5. Security (15% of exam)
  6. Storage and Volumes (10% of exam)

❓ Docker certification exam sample question:

Docker certification exam sample question

See more sample questions and additional details in the official study guide.

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Is Docker Certification Worth It? 

So, why get a Docker certificate? Here are some benefits/downsides of pursuing Docker training and certification.

➕ Pros:

  • You can add it to your LinkedIn/resume to prove to potential employers that you know Docker
  • It is a well-known and trusted certification; it is credible
  • It is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to other IT certifications. Currently, the Docker certification cost is $195 or €175.

➖ Cons:

  • If you don’t pass the exam, you don’t get your money back
  • You may still be able to prove your Docker skills through work experience/projects you’ve worked on, etc. without having the cert
  • It’s not for beginners; the certification is designed to validate professionals with a minimum of 6 to 12 months of Docker experience
  • Only valid for two years, so you may have to retake it if you want to stay certified

Is Docker certification worth it for you? That’s really a question only you can answer, depending on what your goals are!

How to Study for Docker Certifications

If you decide you want to pursue Docker certification training, here are six tips to help you study:

  1. Check out the official study guide to understand what exactly will be on the Docker certification exam and what you need to know
  2. Take a course (we have some great choices listed below)
  3. Get a Docker book like the Docker Certified Associate (DCA): Exam Guide
  4. Go through sample/practice problems
  5. Take on freelance work to gain hands-on experience 
  6. Be consistent with your studying and set goals (e.g., go through five practice problems per day until the day of your exam)

Best Courses to Prepare for the Docker Certification Exam

Since there are no refunds for the Docker certification exam, you want to be confident you’ll pass it the first time! Here are five great courses for Docker certification training.

1. Docker Certified Associate 2022

Helps you prepare for the Docker Certified Associate certification. Covers three topics: Docker basics, Swarm, and Kubernetes.

Udemy Docker Certified Associate 2022

2. Docker Deep Dive

In this course, you’ll go from zero-to-Docker-pro by learning everything you need to know to start working with containers and take your career to the next level. Prepares you for the Docker Certified Associate exam.

Pluralsight Docker Deep Dive

3. Prepare for the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Certification

This course teaches you how to configure Docker in various environments and discover essential best practices so you can pass the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) exam and get certified.

Linkedin Learning Prepare for the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Certification
  • 🖥️ Platform: LinkedIn Learning (read full LinkedIn Learning platform review)
  • 💰 Price: $24.99/month paid annually with a LinkedIn Learning subscription
  • 🤓 Prerequisites: None
  • 📹 Format: Video
  • ⏰ Length: 7 hours

4. Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Exam Preparation

A learning path that was specifically designed to help you prepare for the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Certification. Includes hands-on labs to help you learn important topics.

Cloud Academy Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Exam Preparation
  • 🖥️ Platform: Cloud Academy
  • 💰 Price: $34/month paid annually with a Cloud Academy subscription
  • 🤓 Prerequisites: None
  • 📹 Format: Video
  • ⏰ Length: 16 hours

5. Docker Certified Associate Exam Prep Course

Offers a mix of theoretical explanations and practical demonstrations. The course covers the entire syllabus of DCA laid out by Mirantis. Also includes mock exams.

Udemy Docker Certified Associate Exam Prep Course
  • 🖥️ Platform: Udemy
  • 💰 Price: $84.99
  • 🤓 Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of Linux OS and its utilities is helpful
  • 📹 Format: Video
  • ⏰ Length: 10 hours

FAQs About Docker Certifications

Got some final questions before you decide whether to pursue a Docker certificate? Let’s finish up by answering a few FAQs.

How do you know when you’re ready to take the Docker certification exam?

Ideally, you’ll have 6 months to 1 year of experience with Docker, including Docker Enterprise Edition. This usually means that you have actual work experience.

Alternatively, you should have a solid understanding of the following topics:

  • Container security
  • Experience with at least one cloud provider (e.g., AWS, Azure)
  • Configuration management tools
  • Linux and/or Windows Server

Do I need this? Will it help me get a job?

While you don’t need to be Docker certified to get a job in the field, it can be a helpful way for you to stand out from other job candidates in a Docker-heavy role.

How long is a Docker certificate valid? Do you have to retake it to keep it?

Your certification will be valid for two years, so you will be required to update your certification every two years to keep it current.

Is the exam hard?

It depends on your knowledge level and work experience. If you’re a beginner, the DCA exam will likely be too difficult for you. But if you know all of the content in the exam and have hands-on experience, it may be easier.

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Planning to Get Your Docker Certification?

Ultimately, getting Docker certifications is best for those who plan to actively work with Docker in the near future. Docker training and certification will give you the confidence that your skills are sharp enough, and the paperwork to back it up!