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The Complete Docker Certification (DCA) Guide for 2024

Unlock your potential in Docker and data science with our comprehensive guide. Explore Docker certifications, learning paths, and practical tips.
Updated Feb 2024  · 8 min read

Docker is revolutionizing application development with its containerization technology, enabling efficient, consistent deployment across various environments. Designed for developers, Docker simplifies software encapsulation in containers, making it easier to run, code, and use system tools. With Docker's growing popularity, certifications have become crucial, proving expertise in the Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) platform.

This guide explores Docker certification, its importance, and how to achieve it, offering insights for both beginners and experienced practitioners aiming for Docker mastery.

An unofficial Docker Certification generated with DALL-E 3

An unofficial Docker Certification generated with DALL-E 3

What is Docker Certification?

Docker certification demonstrates a professional’s ability to effectively use Docker, a key technology in modern IT. The Docker Certified Associate credential, costing $195, validates skills in Docker platform tasks and responsibilities, highlighting proficiency in deploying and managing containerized applications.

Why Pursue a Docker Certification?

A Docker certification offers numerous professional benefits:

  • Career advancement: With Docker’s growing role in technology, certified professionals stand out in the job market.
  • Higher salary potential: Docker expertise can lead to better job roles and increased earning potential.
  • Foundation for future learning: The certification provides a strong base in Docker, which is essential for understanding related technologies.
  • Enhanced credibility: It represents a commitment to professional development and signals technical prowess in Docker deployment.

Deep Dive into The Docker Certified Associate (DCA)

The Docker Certified Associate (DCA) certification is a recognized credential that showcases expertise in Docker technologies. Targeted at professionals who work with Docker daily, the DCA certification focuses on practical, real-world skills required for containerization and application deployment. The DCA is proctored by Examity and offered through Mirantis Training. It costs $195/€200. 

Key areas of the DCA curriculum

The DCA curriculum is comprehensive, covering essential Docker functionalities:

  • Container Orchestration: Understanding the basics and tools of container orchestration, crucial for deploying and managing containerized applications​​.
  • Docker Swarm and Kubernetes: Knowledge of these two popular container orchestration tools is required, with Docker Swarm being user-friendly and Kubernetes ideal for complex, high-demand applications​​.
  • Image Creation, Registry, and Management: Learning to handle Docker images, which are snapshots of a container, forms a significant part of the curriculum​​.
  • Installation and Configuration: Mastery in installing and configuring Docker, a skill regularly needed in practical scenarios​​.
  • Security & Networking: Understanding Docker’s networking features and prioritizing security is essential​​.
  • Storage and Volumes: Knowledge of Docker volumes, which store information, is critical​​.
  • Docker Enterprise Edition: Familiarity with Docker EE, designed for critical deployments, enhances one's skill set​​.

Docker certification exam format

The DCA exam is a 90-minute test consisting of 55 questions, including multiple-choice and discrete option types. It's advised to have 6-12 months of Docker experience before attempting the exam, priced at $195​​.

Prerequisite knowledge

To pass the Docker Certified Associate certification, you’ll need to possess a distinct set of capabilities, vital for managing and deploying containerized applications. These expertise includes:

  • Utilizing Pre-existing Images: Ability to run applications from images stored in a centralized registry.
  • Cluster-Wide Deployment: Proficient in distributing images across various nodes in a cluster.
  • Issue Resolution: Skilled in identifying and solving problems reported by stakeholders.
  • Enterprise Cluster Management: Capability to set up Enterprise clusters, including a UCP manager, a DTR replica, and a worker node.
  • Application Migration: Expertise in transitioning traditional applications to container-based environments.
  • Docker Engine Management: Competence in configuring and troubleshooting the Docker engine.
  • Routine Maintenance and Configuration: Adept in performing general upkeep and configuration tasks.

Candidates aiming for this certification should have a minimum of six months to a year of hands-on experience with Docker, preferably including experience with Docker Enterprise Edition. The required skill set at this level extends to:

  • Container Security: In-depth understanding of security practices related to containerization.
  • Cloud Provider Experience: Familiarity with at least one major cloud service provider.
  • Configuration Management Tools: Proficiency in using tools for managing and automating configurations.

Study plan for the DCA

Integrating DataCamp's comprehensive Docker-related resources into your DCA study plan is an effective strategy to enhance your preparation. Here's how you can leverage these resources:

  • Introduction to Docker Course: This course is your gateway to understanding the Docker Engine and the fundamentals of container management. It's ideal for grasping the core concepts that form the backbone of the DCA curriculum.
  • Docker for Data Science Tutorial: This tutorial is specifically tailored for those interested in applying Docker in the realm of data science. It provides insights into Docker setup, common commands, and practical applications, making it invaluable for data scientists looking to integrate Docker into their workflow.
  • Docker for Data Scientists Webinar: This webinar, led by experts in the field, focuses on how Docker can revolutionize managing and sharing analyses and models in data science. It's an excellent resource for data scientists to comprehend the practical aspects of Docker in their domain.
  • Docker for Data Science Cheat Sheet: A well-compiled cheat sheet can be a lifesaver, especially when revising or needing a quick reference. This cheat sheet encompasses key Docker commands and best practices, making it a handy tool during your exam preparation.
  • Containerization with Docker and Kubernetes for Machine Learning Tutorial: For those keen on exploring Docker and Kubernetes in machine learning environments, this tutorial is a must. It covers the application of these technologies in machine learning, providing a broad perspective that is beneficial for the DCA exam and beyond.

A Docker Cheat Sheet

Our Docker cheat sheet can act as a quick reference guide

By integrating these DataCamp resources into your study plan, you'll be well-equipped with a thorough understanding of Docker, from basic concepts to advanced applications in data science and machine learning. This holistic approach will not only prepare you for the DCA exam but also enhance your overall proficiency in Docker.

DataCamp’s Role-Based Certifications

In an evolving tech landscape, the need for role-specific skills, rather than technology-specific, has become more pronounced. Traditional certifications provide a broad overview, but role-based certifications, like those offered by DataCamp, offer targeted learning paths tailored to specific job roles.

DataCamp offers certifications covering Python, SQL, and R skills for specific roles. These certifications are designed to be rigorous and comprehensive, focusing on the skills essential for each role:

  • Data Scientist (Associate & Professional): This certification tests skills in data management, programming, statistical experimentation, exploratory analysis, model development, and communication, crucial for data scientists.
  • Data Analyst (Associate & Professional): For data analysts, the certification evaluates data management, exploratory analysis, visualization, analytics fundamentals, and communication skills.
  • Data Engineer (Associate): Focused on the backend aspects of data pipelines, this certification assesses data management, programming for data engineering, and exploratory analysis skills.

DataCamp’s certifications, tailored to these roles, provide learners with not just a learning path but also a benchmark to measure their skills against the requirements of the industry.

An example of DataCamp’s Python certification

An example of DataCamp certification


Docker's significance in the tech landscape is undeniable, and mastering it through certifications like the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) can propel your career to new heights. With DataCamp’s role-based certifications, you have the opportunity to gain not just Docker expertise, but also specialized skills tailored to your desired career path in data science.

Whether you’re starting out or looking to deepen your existing knowledge, DataCamp’s diverse course offerings provide a structured, practical, and industry-aligned path to proficiency. The journey to becoming a Docker expert or a data professional is challenging but rewarding, and DataCamp is here to guide you every step of the way.

Embark on your journey to mastery today by exploring our Introduction to Docker course and take the first step towards securing your future in the ever-evolving world of technology.

Photo of Matt Crabtree
Matt Crabtree

A writer and content editor in the edtech space. Committed to exploring data trends and enthusiastic about learning data science.

Docker Certification FAQs

Who should pursue Docker Certification?

Professionals in DevOps, software development, system administration, and IT operations who work with Docker technologies should consider pursuing Docker Certification to validate their skills and enhance their career opportunities.

How can I prepare for Docker Certification?

Preparation involves hands-on experience with Docker, studying Docker documentation, and completing training courses or tutorials. DataCamp offers courses related to containerization and Docker that can serve as a foundation for your Docker Certification preparation.

What topics are covered in the Docker Certified Associate (DCA) exam?

The DCA exam covers Docker core concepts, container orchestration, Docker security, networking, storage and volumes, and the Docker Enterprise platform, among others.

How long is Docker Certification valid?

Docker Certification is typically valid for two years. Certified individuals must renew their certification through continued education or re-examination to stay current with Docker technologies.

What other certifications are available?

There are many certifications covering different technologies and career paths. Check out some of our other guides for an overview:


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