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Threepeat!! First Ever Triple VCDX Certification Holder: Matt Vandenbeld

As anyone who’s pursued a VMware certification can attest, holding three VCDXs is quite an achievement. We recently talked with Matt Vandenbeld — the first person to earn three VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certifications — to learn the secrets of his success. (Spoiler alert: Matt really enjoys working with and learning about VMware technology. That helps a lot.)

Question: Congratulations, Matt! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your three VCDX certifications?

matt-presenting

Matt presenting VCDX insights

Matt Vandenbeld: Thank you, sure. I joined VMware about three years ago as a Solutions Architect in the Global Services Advanced Architecture Support organization. Before that I’d worked with VMware products for about 10 or so years. I earned my first VCDX certification, the VCDX-DCV (data center virtualization), in 2013, prior to moving to VMware. A year after that I got the VCDX-CMA (Cloud Management and Automation). And then in March of this year [2016] I got the VCDX-NV (network virtualization).

 

Question: And of course, to even pursue a VCDX certification requires the attainment of lower level VCAP (VMware Certified Advanced Professional) and VCIX (VMware Certified Implementation Expert) certifications. So, does it get easier as you go? Were your second and third VCDX certifications easier than the first?

Matt Vandenbeld: I get that question a lot, but I don’t really have a yes or no answer. In general, I would say the experience definitely gets more relaxed, because you’re familiar with the what’s required, especially the “verbal defense” of your design, which is part of the VCDX certification process. “Verbal defense” is too strong of a term. It’s really an opportunity to explain the rationales behind your design decisions. I found it to be one of the more valuable and enjoyable parts of the process.

But that’s not to say it gets any easier. Getting a VCDX is a challenge, no question. In my specific case, I was least familiar with network virtualization. So, I found this last one to be a bit tougher than the previous two.

 

Question: Now for the BIG question: What’s your preparation process like? What’s your secret?

Matt Vandenbeld: Well, I don’t have any secrets. Sorry. But my approach to all three was pretty similar. I’m the kind of person that needs to commit, to put a stake in the ground. So, for VCAP or VCIX, the first thing I do is schedule the exam on the Pearson Vue website. Then I work backwards from the exam date. For VCDX, I look at the design due date, which means I’ll need to be finished with it a month or so early, so I can get feedback from colleagues, etc. etc., until I finally have a plan. For me, it wouldn’t work as well to say “I’m going start working and then signup when I’m ready.” Without a hard due date, it might not happen.

Then I do an inventory, or gap analysis, of my strengths and weaknesses mapped back to the certification blueprint. I strongly encourage candidates to spend a good chunk of time reviewing the blueprint so they can target the areas they know least about. Also, if I had it to do over, I’d likely get more formal training in each area. I took the self-study route, but that’s probably the harder way.

Finally, I think a VCDX certification candidate will really benefit from having some level of design experience with a customer. I’m not saying you can’t get a VCDX without it; in fact, pursuing a VCDX can help position you to get into a design role. I just think it would be more difficult without any customer design experience.

 

Question: What has getting these three VCDX certifications meant to you both professionally and personally?

Matt Vandenbeld: Professionally, I would not have the job I have today without the VCDX, period. And I really love my job. Once the VCDX on your resume, it just moves you to the front of the line. It provides a lot of recognition and credibility, and therefore more opportunity. There’s no better way to demonstrate that you know something than to get a VCDX in it.

On the personal side, I’ve always liked setting and achieving challenges for myself. I remember when they first announced the creation of the VCDX-DCV. Because it was the pinnacle certification, I immediately wanted to do it. It’s given me great sense of satisfaction, increased my confidence, and of course improved my skills as an architect exponentially. Plus, the recognition that’s come with being the first to get the triple has also been a lot of fun. It’s definitely raised my profile among senior management and clients.

 

Question: Any plans to get the fourth VCDX in desktop and mobility? And do you have any last thoughts for readers?

Matt Vandenbeld: I don’t have any plans to right now. Maybe someday. It’s a big time commitment. As for advice, I would just encourage people not to let fear of failure stand in their way. A lot of people don’t get certified on their first attempt and then succeed afterward. Failure is the best teacher. And if getting a VCDX was easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. So, just forge ahead. Regardless of the outcome, the experience will be positive.

2 VCAP Design Certification Exams Available

VCAPToday we released the live (aka “GA”) versions of two of our VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 (VCAP6) exams:

These exams can now be scheduled and taken at any participating PearsonVue testing center. They will also be offered in the onsite Certification Exam Center at VMworld 2016 (US and Europe) for 50% off.

We want to thank our VMware Certified community for helping us produce these exams by participating on job analysis and question writing panels, and by taking the beta version of the exam. For those of you who participated in the beta process, we are currently rescoring those results and expect to have your score out to you by the middle of August.

 

Twitter Responds: What’s your motivation for becoming #VMware certified? Part 1 of 2

We recently asked the IT community on Twitter to Direct Message us their motivation for becoming VMware certified for a chance to win a free #vmwcertified t-shirt. As expected the t-shirts were a big hit, and the responses we received were too valuable not to share! Check out Part 1 of our 2-part blog series highlighting VMware Certified community insights:

Question: What’s your motivation for becoming #VMware certified?Pasted image at 2016_07_20 10_57 AM

  • “I am motivated because VMware is the best technology around. It is constantly evolving and growing.” – @wilawssum
  • “What motivates me is understanding the capabilities of the platform. No better way than certification! Explore all corners.” – @brianwelch
  • “The prestige of the VCAP and VCDX program motivates me to keep learning!” – @tbgree00
  • “Back when I got into IT in 2010, I heard about this crazy thing called virtualization. As I learned more about it, I came to believe in its ability to multiply productivity and really help businesses become more efficient as a whole. In an effort to stay relevant in the industry, I got certified in 2013 (and then again in 2015) and haven’t looked back – I still work with virtualization every single day (just completed our upgrade to 6.0!).” – @DonnyLang1
  • “Both my VCPs and VCAP allowed me to take on more responsibility in my previous role. Along with that came about a 30% salary increase over the course of 3 years. I then moved on to a VAR where I get to focus on VMware solutions as a consultant which I am still doing today and loving it.” – @mlaakness
  • My VCP-DCV has placed a spotlight on my resume and has guaranteed me the best possible job opportunities that would not be available to me without it. Since receiving my first VCP certification (VCP3) and continually upgrading to my current VCP5-DCV, my base salary has increased by about 125%! I am working on my VCP6-DCV and plan to obtain my VCIX6-DCV and would expect the jobs and salary increases to continue to come my way. Thank you VMware! – @batchelorbill

Thank you to the participants of our Twitter t-shirt giveaway! We welcome you to share your advice and/or motivations with us in our comments section below or be on the lookout for more opportunities to win a t-shirt on our twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

VCDX Programs at VMworld 2016 US

VCDX merchKick off your VMworld 2016 US activities by joining us for VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) Day on August 27, 2016 at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas.

VCDX Workshop – 8:00am – 12:00n

  • Open for anyone interested in learning more about VCDX program and continuing on their path towards earning the certification
  • Hosted by Joe Silvagi, VCDX #175 and Chris Colotti, VCDX #37
  • Network with current VCDXs
  • Continental breakfast will be served

Register Now

VCDX Town Hall – 1:00pm – 5:00pm

  • Open to all current VCDXs
  • Hear from VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, VCDX Alpha and ask questions about the strategic direction of VMware
  • Hear from VMware’s panel of CTOs and ask questions about the technology and future direction
  • Visit with the Education group leader’s about VCDX and other related certifications and offerings
  • Network with other VCDXs and grow your connections throughout the globe
  • Earn a special VCDX shirt with your own VCDX number!

Register Now

4 New Courses: Horizon 7, VCP6-NV Exam Prep, HCI, and vRealize

NEW Courses

In the last month VMware Education Services released three new courses designed to help you get the most value from your VMware investment. For more information about these or any of our other courses, or assistance developing a learning plan for yourself or your team, please contact the Education Specialist for your area.

Horizon 7: Install, Configure, Manage [V7]
This five-day, hands-on course gives you the skills to deliver virtual desktops and applications through a single virtual desktop infrastructure platform. This course builds your skills in installing, configuring, and managing VMware Horizon® 7 through a combination of lecture and hands-on labs. You will learn how to configure and deploy pools of virtual machines, how to manage access and security of the machines, and how to provide a customized desktop environment to end users.

VMware Certification Exam Prep: VCP6-NV Exam (2V0-641)
This comprehensive, 113-video training course focuses on preparing you to take the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Network Virtualization (VCP6-NV) exam. The workshop includes an overview of the certification, tips for preparing for the exam, an in-depth review of each of the objectives on the exam, and sample questions.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and VMware Software-defined Storage Fundamentals
This free, self-paced eLearning course overviews Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) and VMware software-defined storage (SDS) technologies. It explores how VMware Hyper-Converged Software (HCS) combines Virtual SAN software-defined storage with vSphere and vCenter management to transform compute, storage, and network resources to enable a simple, cost effective, reliable, high performing hyper-converged infrastructure on industry-standard x86 building blocks.

VMware vRealize Operations Manager Fundamentals [V6.2]
This free, self-paced eLearning course demonstrates how VMware vRealize® Operations Manager™ delivers intelligent operations management from applications to infrastructure across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

 

 

VCAP6 Deployment Beta Exams: Expanded and Extended!

Updated on July 6, 2016

Hi Everyone,

We have expanded the availability of the lab exams again today. Pearson Vue has opened up the VCAP6 Deployment Lab exams in roughly 75 centers in Asia Pacific and Japan and in 32 centers in Central and South America. If you have been waiting to take one of the beta exams please visit the registration links below and look for a testing center in your area. Slots are limited but we still need additional people to take the betas. Please consider participating by getting registered now.

Also, please remember to carefully review the  VMware Certification Platform Interface User Interface Guide prior to taking the exam. It will save you time and effort on your test day.

Thanks and good luck!

Paul Sorensen

 

Hi Everyone,VCAP Beta Expanded and Extended!

I have good news to share with you: The VCAP6 Deployment beta exams are being extended to additional Pearson Vue centers in North America and expanded to roughly 175 centers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Additionally, the beta end-date has been moved out to July 13.

We still need people to take the beta exams so please click on the registration links below to get more information (available locations, dates, times) and to register using the beta discount.

We will continue to work closely with Pearson Vue to monitor and evaluate the performance of the beta exams and will take further action to expand the number of sites as the beta continues to go well.

One important note: to help people with the new interface and delivery platform we created the VMware Certification Platform Interface User Interface Guide. Among other things this guide will help you optimize the interface layout (when you take the exam) and make you aware of some security-related keystroke limitations (restricted in the Pearson VUE Centers). Please be sure to review at this guide before you take the test.

Thank you and good luck on your test!

Paul Sorensen

We want to hear from you!

We want to improve the way we communicate and share information about the VMware Certification program. Please use this poll to tell us what source works for you.

New Training Videos on vRealize, NSX, and vSphere

VMware Learning Zone subscribers get a year of unlimited access to our cloud-based video training library taught by top VMware experts, including all our new releases, like these from the past month:

  • VMware vRealize Log Insight: The Benefits of VMware vSphere Integration
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight: Reference Architectures
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight: Using Event Trends
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight: Viewing Events in Context
  • VMware vSphere 6 Virtual Volumes: Part 2 – Demonstration
  • VMware NSX Backup and Restore: Overview
  • VMware NSX Backup and Restore: Components

These videos are available right now to anyone with an active VMware Learning Zone Standard or Premium subscription.

Want to be the first to know when new videos are released? Follow our #NewintheZone hashtag on Twitter.

Congratulations to all the new VCDXs!


VMWQ216-1_Edu_Social_Blog_600x300_6-23-16_JS_001The VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certification is the highest level of certification that we offer at VMware. VCDX architects demonstrate that they have enterprise-class skills in both VMware Solution design and implementation. Please join us in congratulating the 2016 VCDX certification recipients thus far:

First VCDX Certification
Ryan Veino, 218
Christophe Charrier, 219
Thomas Vigneron, 220
Marius Holmsen, 221
Matthew Bunce, 222
Marco Van Baggum, 223

Second VCDX Certification
Christopher Slater, 102
Joe Silvagi, 175
Eric Shanks, 195
Scott Norris, 201

Third VCDX Certification
Matt Vandenbeld, 107   

A special shout out to Matt Vandenbeld for being the first person to ever obtain three VCDX certifications. Be on the look-out for our upcoming blog post that will feature Matt and his journey to becoming VCDX certified, not once, not twice, but three times! If you’re interested in starting your VMware certification journey, check out our Certification Paths.

Plan Now for VCDX Defense Dates this Fall

VCDX merchWe are excited to announce the fall VCDX Defense dates. As announced earlier, we are separating defenses for Data Center Virtualization (DCV) from the other three tracks.

  • Week of 24 October: VCDX5-DCV, VCDX5-DTM in Sydney, Australia
    • Applications are due 12 August
  • Week of 31 October: VCDX5-DCV in London, UK
    • Applications are due 19 August
  • Week of 7 November: VCDX5-DCV, VCDX5-CMA, VCDX5-DTM, VCDX5-NV in Palo Alto, CA
    • Applications are due 26 August

Dates are subject to changes/updates based on location availability or unforeseen issues. Candidates should never book travel until they have received an invitation to defend for the confirmed defense.

Please be sure to check out the VCDX calendar and subscribe for updates so you can always know of new events and changes to existing ones.