Despite all of the challenges that 2020 has provided, the OpenShift Developer Advocates team was lucky enough to have an intern for the summer. Cedric joined us with a strong general technical background, but very little experience in containers. This was actually a big benefit to us; our role as advocates is to be able to cater to developers with a wide range of experience, so his feedback in coming up to speed on the technology would prove extremely valuable. As the summer portion of his internship comes to an end, I wanted to get his thoughts on how the first few months of working with containers and OpenShift went.

Question 1: Introduction

Jay: “Let's start off with a brief introduction. Tell me about what school you're going to and what you're studying."

Cedric: "Absolutely! Hey, my name is Cedric Clyburn, I attend NC State University and I'm a junior studying computer science! I'm also pursuing a business entrepreneurship minor, but I feel like those two subjects go hand-in-hand nowadays."

Question 2: Background

Jay: "Coming into the internship, how familiar were you with containers and related technologies?"

Cedric: "Honestly, I had very limited experience with containers, and no real-world application using them. In fact, I had only used Docker twice and never worked with Kubernetes! However, I feel as if this may have been a unique skill set that I brought to the table, as I was able to review previously created content with a fresh perspective."

Question 3: Learning

Jay: "What was the biggest "ahh, ok, I get it now" moment you had as you were coming up to speed?"

Cedric: "Wow! Okay, I'll break this into two parts, first understanding container concepts, and secondly being able to use OpenShift with confidence. The moment that I created my own OCI container image from scratch and run it on the Kubernetes engine was so important, and that's when all my knowledge from YouTube, blogs, and documentation finally clicked!

Secondly, I had a slightly tougher transition learning how to use OpenShift and the highly detailed web console. Coming up to speed with the UI felt overwhelming, and I initially felt like I was dumb for not understanding half of the concepts and management tools.


The moment where I finally could grasp the web console came about after mastering most of the scenarios in the Interactive Learning Portal, hosted at I'm definitely a learn by example, kinesthetic person, so being able to actually deploy applications, work hands-on with odo, and simply use all the functions of OpenShift was instrumental to my understanding of the platform."

Question 4: Difficulty

Jay: "What was the biggest hurdle you ran into?"

Cedric: "Great follow up question! I definitely felt like the biggest hurdle to understanding Kubernetes and OpenShift was the complexity of initially understanding the concepts, and applying it to my current knowledge. For example, my academic curriculum has only encompassed Java, and my hobby language is JavaScript. I hadn't had any experience in containerized applications and had no idea what an __object, pod, or deployment configuration__ was. The first hurdle of the procedures and concepts took a while to learn, but again, once I created and managed my first container, everything finally clicked!"

Question 5: Time Travel!

Jay: "What would you go back and tell yourself at the start of the internship to help you understand the technologies better?"

Cedric: "Oh man, to think about all the hours I could have saved! Although I initially understood docs weren't the best way to specifically get started for me, it still took some time to finally become more fluent with container orchestration. The best, most impactful thing that I wish I could go back and tell baby Cedric would be that __any kind of hands-on experience is so important__, and that __failure is still progress__. I learned so much more when I could actually deploy my own containers as opposed to reading about them, or use any kind of operators hands-on. In addition, I progressed exponentially more through failure than success, as confusing as it may seem. Somehow, learning what not to do helped just as much as learning what to do!"

Question 6: For Newbies

Jay: "Any last thoughts for someone who is brand new to containers and OpenShift?"

Cedric: "Haha, so essentially me at the beginning of this summer. The biggest thing I can think of is keeping a mindset of resilience and determination. One of the largest hurdles to learning containers and OpenShift is the initial difficulty to understand it's concepts, so I advise that you take up a student perspective when it comes to learning! Use all the resources that you can take advantage of, from blogs, YouTube, forums, documentation, and so much more content that is only a search away! Of course, I'll plug the awesome Katacoda scenarios that you can get started with right now, but the journey is yours!"


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