We’ve been involved with education around Docker for sometime. From early on, Nebulaworks has provided official Docker training to folks all over the globe from organizations of all shapes and sizes. In addition, we’ve been giving back by hosting two Docker Meetups (one in Irvine, the other in San Diego) to help promote the tool amongst the community. And this week, Docker has taken the next logical and important step to building long-term support: the launch of the Docker Campus Ambassador Program.

Educating youth on new technologies

This is near and dear to my heart. And we are super excited! About two years ago, we started to work on an effort to bring interns into the fold at Nebulaworks. We went to local universities and started to talk to department heads and CS clubs. What we found was a real lack of the use of new technologies. I don’t know why we were so surprised – running with the latest and greatest isn’t something that higher ed is used to doing (and neither is enterprise IT, but I digress). But there were historical parallels that I personally witnessed. Read on.

Nostalgic Moment: Linux, Higher Education and the end of Solaris x86

Taking the wayback machine again (warm up the flux capacitor and the DeLorean) there was a new OS called Linux, and there was an enterprise OS called Solaris. More specifically Solaris x86. Without getting too long winded, Linux was free so many colleges and universities started to adopt the OS. Solaris x86, not so much. In fact, Sun Microsystems (in their infinite wisdom) didn’t see the need to promote the use of Solaris on cheap(er) x86 hardware and offer their OS for free to students or universities. Big mistake. IMHO this was one of the seminal moments that set in place the direction of Open Source and Commercial software.

In providing the next generation the tools that they need to do the job, for free, they learned from an early stage “the way” to approach solving problems. Without a question, CS students adopted Linux and in short order, Solaris x86 was dead. This also set the stage for the longer-term adoption of Linux and OSS in general.

Preparing forward-thinking students

By launching the Campus Ambassador Program, as well as the Student Developer Kit, Docker has now provided the ability for forward thinking students to get engaged with Docker directly, as well as promote and evangelize the benefits of using the tool for their work, not to mention preparation for future job roles. Not to mention these points Docker outlines on their announcement blog post linked above:

  1. Understanding how to use Docker is one of the most important skills to learn if you want to advance in a career in tech, according to Business Insider.
  2. You can just start coding instead of spending time setting up your environment.
  3. You can collaborate easily with your peers and enable seamless group work: Docker eliminates any ‘works on my machine’ issues.
  4. Docker allows you to easily build applications with a modern microservices architecture.
  5. Using Docker will greatly enhance the security of your applications.

We’ve seen the results, and they are Good

It’s all good when something like this is launched. But in this case, we’re actually ahead of the game. Remember our work with colleges and universities? Well. we’ve recognized the benefits first hand. Two of our employees, who were once interns took their honed docker skills (and skills on other cloud and modern tools, too) back to their universities and ran circles around their peers. Not only CS, but also Mathematics and Physics programs. So yes, the benefits are real.

We recently completed hosting one of the first Docker Days at our office, inviting University of California Irvine students and it was a overwhelming success. We had our young engineers present to their peers, and explain the benefits directly. This builds a rapport that only new grads and those in or close to finishing can create. And, we are well on our way to helping a second campus ambassador get signed up at the University of California San Diego…where we are working on setting up another similar Docker Day.

We’re looking forward to the bright future of having new grads understanding not only docker, but other modern tools. For us in businesses driving transformational change it is our responsibility to provide thought leadership not only to clients, but more importantly youth and the next generation of technology leaders. To learn more, head to the Docker Community GitHub repo.

See you on campus!