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5 Power Tips to clear Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Exam in a single attempt, April 2022

Hello Readers, 

I have cleared Docker Certified Associate , DCA in April 2022.
I will share my personal experience in clearing the DCA examination in the first attempt!
The value tips and insights shared herein will also help the DCA aspirant with no prior hands-on experience on  Docker. 

Many people would naturally assume that DCA is exclusive to test Docker knowledge and the test would not involve any questions to be tested on the Kubernetes. This was also my perception before I started to dig in! Folks, you need the combined knowledge on the ecosystem of Docker and Kubernetes, which now and by and large has been accepted as an industry standard! 

But don’t worry! My tips also include preparing for the required  Kubernetes part.

The DCA examination is not a tough examination if you are prepared well enough. Every question asked in the exam can be answered by applying the concepts. The new DOMC pattern of questions starting June 2020, makes the exam slightly tricky.

We will see how we can build a strong understanding of the concepts and prepare for DOMCQs efficiently. Let’s first quickly address and also recap the practical aspects of the DCA exam. 

As far as the fees and passing percentage for the exam is concerned, the DCA exam is not cheap, it will cost you around $195 and you will need to score above 70% to pass the exam.
The validity of the certification is two years.

Why should one take the DCA examination ?

  • Acknowledgment for your Docker skills with official Docker credentials.
  • You’ll strengthen your Professional Profile.
  • You officially will be able to use the fancy Docker badge on your website/blogs/where_ever_you_want.

Yes this badge/logo.

What are the prerequisites of DCA?

  1. Hands-on experience with Docker.
  2. Some hands-on experience with Kubernetes is a must.
  3. Dedicated time.
  4. This article 

By having these 4 things, you can clear the DCA examination in a single attempt.

But what if you don’t have any experience with Docker and Kubernetes as well. In that case you still have the last two points with you, dedication and this article 😊.

I have gathered some resources that will help even a novice to clear this exam in a single attempt.

Syllabus & Important Topics

Let’s get started with the preparation. In this section we will look at what are the most important topics for DCA.

The syllabus of DCA contains six modules which covers each and every aspect of Docker and Docker EE (Enterprise Edition). To view the full syllabus visit https://training.mirantis.com/dca-certification-exam/

An important note.
IMP: 5-10 questions are based on K8s and its concepts ( volume, volume retention, cm, secrets, resource limit, pods, networks, etc).

I have included the resources to prepare for Kubernetes concepts in the next section.

Here I have listed down some of the most important topics from each module one must prepare and understand thoroughly.

Orchestration:

  • K8s orchestration concepts
  • Docker swarm concepts
  • Quorum
  • Stacks

Image Creation, Management, and Registry:

  • Best practices of Dockerfile.
  • Dockerfile instructions and image management commands.
  • Difference between ADD and COPY.

Installation and Configuration:

  • How to install Docker EE
  • DTR cache
  • UCP DRT Swarm Backup and High availability 

Networking:

  • Container Network Model
  • User-defined networks
  • K8s networking

Security:

  • MTLS
  • How to use external certificates
  • Docker Content Trust
  • How to enable LDAP/AD RBAC
  • Client Bundle

Storage and Volumes:

  • EVERYTHING related to docker volumes.
  • EVERYTHING related to K8s volumes.

Study Material

Now that we know which topics are most important, let’s get started with learning.

I’ve gathered some fantastic materials for orchestrated and seamless learning.

Nothing can beat hands-on experience, to get hands-on experience with Docker and Kubernetes you may use these resources.

Hands on:
Best way to learn is to do everything by yourself.

  • Practice hands on as much as possible.
  • Options to do Docker hands on:
    • Setup a VM and install docker on that.
    • Install docker on your machine.
  • Options to do Kubernetes hands on:
    • Use services like AWS or DigitalOcean.

Reference Links for learning:
IMP: Read Docker Official Documentation extensively.

Youtube:

Github:

Udemy:

Medium:

Katacoda Docker scenarios:

Labs for hands-on:

Practice Questions:

Tips

The exam will be of 90 mins and there you will be asked 55 questions. These questions are divided into two groups, one is MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) and second one is DOMCQs (Discrete Option Multiple Choice Questions).

To familiarize yourself with DOMC, try out this practice exam.

Some TIPS to ace the exam in a single attempt: 

  • While giving mock tests try to score 95-100% in all mocks.  ( 8-10 questions will come as it is or in some form of modification from above mentioned mocks. )
  • While attempting a question DO NOT directly look at the presented options. Try to answer the question prior to looking at the options. This practice will prepare you for DOMC type of questions.
  • Reading Docker Official Documentation is a MUST. (Many questions are a direct copy pasted lines from the documentation)
  • DO NOT by heart the commands, understand them.
  • Every question has ample amount of time to answer, DO NOT RUSH.

Misc Points:

  • Docker EE is acquired by Mirantis, so some documentations are shifted over to the Mirantis website.
  • Now DTR is referred to as MSR and UCP is referred to as MKS. ( Did not impact examination, questions followed DTR and UCP terminology at the time of writing this i.e. April 2022. Please check latest news regarding any change)
  • Exam Registration Link: https://prod.examity.com/docker/

Using these reference materials and tips you will surely be able to ace the DCA examination with an ease.

Good luck for the future and feel free to comment if you want me to elaborate more on certain topics.

About Priyanshu: Priyanshu is a DevOps Engineer at DevToppers.

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