by John Yani Arrasjid, Principal Architect, VCDX-001, VMware Inc.
Excellence in developing and maintaining IT infrastructure requires a foundation driven by education and certification. VMware has seen this proven at customer and partner locations worldwide.
This article provides the value proposition, an overview of VMware’s certification levels, the testing centers used, and tools that help a candidate be successful.
Value for Individuals and Companies
There are many reasons for individuals to use education and certification as tools to develop their career paths. The benefits can be career advancement, project opportunities, and the validation that certification holds. These individual benefits extend to a company as well, especially for those that are doing consulting work.
Let’s take a look at the different areas that certifications provide a positive impact on. Your mileage will vary based on your role within your organization and the company you work for.
- Career path and promotions: Certifications are only one aspect of an employee’s review process. When these certifications further the value of an employee by making them more effective, followed by the experience of using the knowledge gained, they are more likely to meet the expectations of the next career level. Certifications can also allow the individual to move into new areas within their organization.
- Credibility: Certifications provide validation of an individual’s knowledge and skills.
- Value: Certifications can influence compensation adjustment during an employee review or during the interview process for a new position. Certifications can also open doors on projects requiring specific skills.
Individuals get recognition and differentiation, while also driving a higher earning potential. Customers get higher productivity, increased stakeholder satisfaction, and as evidenced by various metrics, lower external management and support costs. Partners get increased market credibility, increased customer satisfaction, and greater success in differentiating themselves from competitors.
VMware Certification Overview
Let’s now look at what the VMware certification levels and tracks are about and how they support the benefits above.
VMware currently offers four types of certifications, including VCA, VCP, VCAP, and VCDX. All certifications and their related tracks are role based. Each certification level has three tracks for Data Center Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, and Cloud. In the future these will be expanded with the first one to be in Network Virtualization. Watch for a future article that will provide more detail on this new track.
The lower tiers are typically extrinsically motivated. Someone, likely a manager or project lead, specifies required skills that are gained through training and experience with validation through certification.
The higher tiers are mostly intrinsically motivated. Many individuals will go above and beyond the time allocated by their organization to achieve advanced certifications. Although the certifications may not be required to maintain a role, they can help and also provide a competitive advantage to the certification holder.
I believe that organizations holding these advanced level certifications have an advantage that makes them experts in developing, implementing, and operating a successful solution that supports business objectives. I also believe that VMware top tier partners that are doing advanced solutions design and implementation should have employees holding vendor specific advanced certifications. For those partners doing design work that hold these top tier certifications need an appropriate matching title to qualify them. As an example, I believe a partner with two or more VCDX and a compliment of VCAP certified team members should be VMware Certified Design Partners.
Except for the VCA, all other certifications are proctored exams. As a proctored exam, the individual must test in an authorized testing center or at a VMware conference where a temporary authorized testing center is set up for candidates. Pearson VUE provides the testing centers. Please note that there are different levels of testing centers. VMware provides details on the minimum requirements for the testing environment based on the exam taken.
Pearson VUE has a test center network that has four categories testing centers including Pearson VUE® Authorized Test Centers, Pearson Professional Centers, Pearson Test Centers, and Pearson VUE™ Authorized Test Center Selects. For full details on the differences, please see their site. Testing at the first two types of centers provides the optimum conditions for VMware certification candidates.
Tools for Success
There are several tools for success summarized here:
- Training – classroom, online, and self-paced learning ensures consistency on what is learned for all candidates and ensures the skills of a Minimally Qualified Candidate are taught. It is up to the student to learn, practice, and study for the exam.
- Books – VMware Press provides multiple books that can be used to learn more about the certifications. They also can be used to learn the technical and operational details of each test track.
- Boot Camps – VMware Education offers a series of boot camps for advanced certifications. These 2-4 hour boot camps provide details on the blueprints, recommendations for studying and taking the exam, and also examples related to each track in each certification level. Boot Camps are offered for VCAP Administration, VCAP Design, and VCDX certifications. They are offered quarterly in various regions, through #vBrownbag online, and as recorded training videos on the VMware certification site.
To open the door to new or advanced opportunities in a job and within a career ladder, education drives success and certification validates an individual. These lead to minimally qualified candidate with skills for success in the area of study.
I encourage you to find the right path to success based on your role, your projects, and your organization.
Although there is no guarantee for an individual on the outcomes of their certifications, all candidates achieving VMware advanced certifications have provided their stories to my team. These stories all demonstrate that education and certification has driven the career path they are in. It also drives the opportunities presented to them. I have yet to find one individual that has not had a positive impact at their current position, or in a position they moved to, once they completed their certification.
I wish you the best on your endeavors. You can follow me on my Twitter handle @vcdx001.