I’ll be honest; I’ve little experience using Git, or any other versioning software for that matter. I have had an interest in Git for a while now though. Mostly for keeping a personal code repo; scripts for working in the Azure and AWS clouds, PowerShell scripts for system administration tasks, and most recently to use to learn and deploy Docker and Kubernetes in my home lab. Previously, I just never thought that I had had the time to learn it. So when I stumbled across a link to register for FREE, for the GitLab Certified Associate (GCA) Training and Exam, I decided “What the hell. let’s do it!” (The link only lasted 2 days before they took down the free offering due to overwhelming interest, so sorry folks, I can’t provide you with the link.)
In my personal opinion, this certification is much more of a knowledge certificate than a technical certification. I feel like the course is designed to take you from 0 to drive. You cover all the basics and afterward, you’ll be able to jump right into using git without feeling like an imposter. If you have no experience, like me, this is the perfect place to start. If you’re already familiar with Git, well tough… You’ll still need to get the GCA before you can get one of their ‘specialist’ or ‘professional’ certifications. More info on their more advanced certifications can be found here.
The hands-on, self-paced, training lab was informative. There was definitely a sprinkle of marketing in there, like the inclusion of GitLab’s history. But they did do a good job of teaching the various Git concepts and terminology. They also included a bunch of labs to work on while proceeding thru the training. The hands-on portion, doing labs, was by far my favorite part. I like to learn by doing. So doing stuff like making a pull request, making changes in the WebIDE and from the command prompt, tagging code, and committing code to a project was what really made the training count. I also was able to recall that hands-on training to complete the exams later on. Like I mentioned early, I didn’t think I had the time to commit to learning Git… Well by spending 1-2hrs a night, for just a few nights, I was totally able to learn how to use Git.
The exam was twofold. One part was a “written” exam with questions you had to answer. The second part was a “lab” exam where you had to work a project and submit that project for grading. The written exam was not too bad. They give you a series of questions and you have to score 100% on them before you can proceed to the “lab” project exam. The questions dealt with terminology and things that GitLab could do. Honestly, if you did the labs, it was pretty easy as they had already covered all the information. I didn’t feel like there were any surprises or gotchas. I was a little more worried about doing the “lab” project. But again, having done the hands-on training labs, it was pretty straightforward of an exam. Some of the verbiage in the lab instructions had confused me up, and I had to reread the task it asked for a couple of times. But in the end, they again were only asking you to do stuff they had covered in the training materials. So nothing too bad if you take your time to complete it.
I feel like unless you work in development or DevOps, this is not going to be a high-priority cert for you to get. For most folks, I feel that this certification is going to more of a skill that they can add to their resume to show one more item that they are knowledgeable in. That said, it won’t hurt any to get the GitLab’s GCA if the opportunity presents itself like it did for me. You never know what you will be working on 1, 2, 5, or even 10 years from now in the future. IT is always changing. Who knows…. Tomorrow could come, and you or I might find ourselves in some sort of role needing to deploy code to a production CI/CD pipeline and using GitLab to commit our code change and push it. You never know… It could happen and when it does you’ll be happy you got yourself the GCA.