Home > Blogs > VMware Education and Certification Blog > Tag Archives: VMware Certified Associate

Tag Archives: VMware Certified Associate

Four New Certification Videos Available

bourque

To help you understand the content and requirements for VMware certification we have just released three new overview videos:

And to help you get ready to pass the exam, we’ve also put together some recommended study tips and best practices from our instructors: How to Prepare for VMware Certification Exams.

Stories from VMware Certified Associates – Who, Why, and How

Since the launch of the VMware Certified Associate (VCA) program, we’ve been eager to hear more about the experience from new certification holders. We’ll be adding a section for VCA profiles on our Certification Pros site, but first we wanted to introduce you to a few of the VCAs who will be featured there.


Pradeep headshotPradeep Kumar Gadde, 31, from Bangalore, India, holds all three current VCAs, as well as the VCP5-DCV (VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization). He works at a multi-national company as a network technical specialist on the Network Security Team.

Why did you decide to become a VMware Certified Associate?

So far I was working on single-vendor products and achieved multiple professional-level certifications in security, switching, and routing (both enterprise and service provider) from the vendor over the past couple of years. Now my focus is on acquiring multi-vendor and multi-technology skills. As part of this I was looking to learn other vendor products and technologies. During that search, I decided on VMware and virtualization, as it is the hot topic for today and tomorrow. Everyone is talking about cloud computing, and these tools are the enablers.

At the same time VMware introduced NSX Network Virtualization, which is related to my field. I started learning more about VMware foundational products then, and getting my VCA and VCP is part of that preparation.

How has being VMware certified benefited you or your company?

Recognition from peers and hopefully a better career prospect. I’m looking for opportunities to work more on these technologies in the future.

Are you planning for other VMware Certification this year?

I am currently preparing for a VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) certification.


mvegaMiguel Angel Vega Hirata, 38, lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and holds a VCA-Data Center Virtualization (VCA-DCV) and VCA-Cloud. He works for Softtek as an L3 Windows System Administrator assigned to Electronic Arts.

Why did you decide to become a VMware Certified Associate?

I have been working with VMware products for more than a decade, since the first version of Workstation. I have used server and desktop products on many projects. I have worked with VMware products for studying for an IT certification, doing proofs of concept, implementing a  whole virtual infrastructure for a chemical company, supporting  a bank infrastructure, and a  PCI environment at a gaming company.

I had many roles in IT over the years, from sales to tech support to IT manager. Virtualization with VMware products was always among my duties and interests. I decided to focus my career on virtualization and particularly on VMware products. I also decided it was time to start certifying my VMware virtualization knowledge and filling the gaps.

The VMware Certified Associate is an excellent starting point. I found the training for cloud very useful to see how VMware cloud-oriented products help solve business problems.

How has being VMware certified benefited you or your company?

For me and my company, the VCA certification gives a third-party validation to the knowledge I have of VMware products. It gives value to our customers, validating that I know how VMware products can help fulfill their infrastructure needs.

Are you planning for other VMware Certification this year?

Next year I want to focus on VCP5-DCV for the first months of the year, and then prepare for VCAP5-DCA. I am currently enrolled in an online course  for the VCP5-DCV and I plan to take my exam in February.


PVarun headshotVarun Peddavengari, 35, is a desktop support officer at Viterra Ltd in Adelaide, Australia, and is a VCA-Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM).

Why did you decide to become a VMware Certified Associate?

My company is moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 using VMware Horizon Mirage, and we also use vSphere in our organization. I like virtualization technology and VMware products, so I thought getting certified is the right opportunity to show my interest in VMware.

How has being VMware certified benefited you or your company?

I got a chance to work in the Windows 7 roll-out project using VMware Horizon Mirage because of my VCA-WM certification. It was very exciting and a good learning experience for me. I am very proud of it.

Are you planning for other VMware Certification this year?

I love to study and learn virtualization technologies and want to design my career in that path. Next year I would like to do the next-level VMware certifications.


Have you passed any (or all!) of the VMware Certified Associate exams? We’d love to hear your story. Sharing your experiences and tips helps the whole community. Leave a comment or email certifications@vmware.com if you’re interested.

Make your 2014 Certification Plan Today

By Erik Ullanderson

IT professionals need to spend around 10 hours per week educating themselves in order to stay relevant in today’s fast-changing technology landscape, David Day noted in his October blog post.

As you look back on 2013 and think about making the most of 2014, I’ve got a couple questions for you: Did you stay on top of current trends and add new skills that will help you solve problems faster and better? If you wanted to get a new certification, did you achieve your goal?

A goal is a dream with a deadline.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline,” according to Napoleon Hill, the original success guru. And now is the perfect time to give yourself a deadline for a new certification, and to make a plan to help you meet it. Below you’ll find advice on achieving your certification goals from IT pros who have received advanced VMware certifications.

Strike while the iron is hot

If your goal to become a VMware Certified Professional (VCP), your plans will necessarily start with a VMware certified class. When the class finishes, “don’t let that knowledge sit stale,” advises Shawn Bolan, a certified VMware instructor and VCAP-DCA.

“While it’s fresh in your mind, go back to work and set a study plan for yourself; work with the practice tests; build your own lab environment.” Especially for the advanced certifications, Bolan stresses how important it is to prepare by both studying the material and building hands-on experience—it’s not enough to simply do one or the other.

Assess your own abilities

Where should you begin when you’re creating a study plan for yourself? VCDX #97, Travis Wood, outlines a helpful strategy that starts with understanding your current strengths and weaknesses.

Starting with the exam blueprint, he creates a spreadsheet that lists every element of the exam and then ranks himself one-to-three of whether he knows it, whether he needs to develop it, or whether he doesn’t know it. “Once I’ve developed that, I can target the areas I need to develop better, then I go through and research those areas, then go back and reassess myself until I get green down the whole spreadsheet,” he explains.

Engage with the community

One thing that VMware certification holders consistently point to is the size and strength of VMware’s certification community. An easy place to start is with the VMware Certification community forum or by joining your local VMUG chapter. It’s also a good idea to put together a study group, where you can share tips and hold each other to deadlines. Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to current certification holders for advice. Magnus Andersson, one of the first “double” VCDXs, said he has helped several colleagues prepare for their VCDX defence by reviewing their designs and even hopping on calls to walk through questions.

Use all available resources

When we ask certification holders to tell us how they prepared for their exams (their answers can be found on our Certification Pros page), the list of resources seems to lengthen every time. There are hundreds of blogs, plus webinars, accelerated training bootcamps, books from VMware Press, and a bevy of free instructional videos. In fact, if you’re looking for the perfect place to start your VMware certifications, the new VMware Certified Associate does not require a VMware-approved class at all; training is done entirely through free online videos.

I hope these tips have gotten you excited about achieving your certification goals this year. We’ll be sure to have a glass of champagne ready on New Year’s Day 2015 to toast your accomplishments!

Driving Excellence with Education and Certification

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.

Testing Centers

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:

  1. 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.
  2. BooksVMware 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.
  3. Boot CampsVMware 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.

Conclusion

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.

John

Are you a VCA? Your community needs you!

We’ve heard over and over again how people are helped by the stories we share on our Certification Pros page. This is a place for VCPs, VCAPs, and VCDXs to share their experiences with and advice preparing for VMware certifications. It’s one of the many ways the VMware certification community comes together to share the wealth of its knowledge.

With the launch of the VMware Certified Associate certification this summer, we are eager to gather stories about VCAs to add to the Certification Pros page and to feature on this blog. Have you passed a VCA exam or know someone who has? Please contact us at certificationpros@vmware.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Just Released! Fast, Free Prep for Your VCA Exam

We recently released three new practice exams to help you prepare for the new  VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exams. Each practice exam includes 15 questions written by the same team that wrote the actual certification exams, ensuring that they match the exam objectives. After the 30-minute practice exam, you’ll immediately receive your score to help you gauge how prepared you are for the official certification exam.

Get started on your VCA exam prep today.

Say Hello to the World’s Youngest VMware Certified Associate

The photo Christian tweeted of a happy Fredrik after passing his VMware Certified Associate exam.

When we saw Christian Mohn’s tweet about his 16-year-old son passing the VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exam after VMworld Barcelona, we had to find out more.

The VCA is designed to offer a more affordable entry point for VMware certifications, but it’s by no means a cakewalk. Christian found that out when he took the exams for VCA–Data Center Virtualization and VCA–Workforce Mobility himself before challenging his son, Fredrik, to do the same.

Notes from one of Fredrik’s study sessions.

“I was impressed with the level of questions on the VCA exam; a lot are similar to the VCP exam,” observed Christian, who is a VCP5-DCV, a vExpert, and a member of the Norwegian VMUG leadership team. “That made me happy because I didn’t want it to be some sort of paper certification where you could pass the exams without having to work in the product.”

So how does a high-school student pass a VCA exam? Well, it helps to have a dad who is the server virtualization “tech champion” at a consulting firm in Bergen, Norway (where Christian, Fredrik, and their family live). And it doesn’t hurt when dad also has a VMware home lab to help you understand the details of a VMware installation.

“I always thought it was fascinating what he does at his job,” Fredrik said. “After explaining to me how virtualization works, I had an interest in it myself.” But when his dad challenged him to pass the VCA exam, he thought, “Oh no, now I really have to figure out how this works!”

Fredrik in the lab.

Fredrik relied on VMware’s free training videos to study for the VCA exam—his dad only gave him two weeks to prepare.

“I wasn’t sure how many questions there would be or what they would be like; plus it was in English, so I was nervous,” Fredrik recalls. But like any good test taker, he first focused on the questions he knew well, then went back to work on the harder ones. “It turned out it was actually quite fun,” he said. He passed with a 420/500, and proudly tweeted a photo of his certificate.

What’s next for the world’s youngest VCA (that we know of, anyway)? Fredrik says he is interested in working in IT and currently has his eyes on becoming a VCP. “Hopefully he won’t finish his VCDX before I do!” says Christian, who plans to defend next year.


Do you have your own story of becoming a VCA, VCP, VCAP, or VCDX? We’d love to hear it and consider it for a profile on this blog. Email certificationpros@vmware.com and tell us about your experience.

Networking Tips: Connect with Certifications – Stand Out with VCA

To complement our new certification, the VMware Certified Associate, we’ve examined the certifications value and ongoing professional education to help you do better work, advance your career, and stand out when applying and interviewing for new jobs.

There is one final benefit to certification that we want to be sure to highlight: community. Studying for and completing a certification exam constitutes a shared experience that we often find professionals bond over. And with that specific knowledge, you also gain a vocabulary and an understanding that forever makes you part of a group of colleagues who also speak that language and understand where you’re coming from.

Over the years, these cohorts have formed numerous groups. First and foremost, there are the VMware certification community forums. On LinkedIn you’ll find the VMware Training and Certification group, the VMware Certified Professional group (+37K members!), and an extensive list of groups dedicated to specific VMware products. These are a great way to connect with peers online; for real-world networking, it doesn’t get much better than the VMware User Group (VMUG), with more than 80,000 members and local events around the world.

Although these are technical groups designed to share knowledge, they also present a great opportunity to build relationships that could later help you build your career. As long as you are genuine and generous in the way you form these connections (i.e. “network”), there’s no reason that term has to carry the negative connotation it apparently does.

We say “apparently” because a quick search of “networking tips” returns an endless list of posts reassuring people—especially the introverts—that it’s not so bad. Rather than rehash what turns out to be some truly useful advice, we thought we’d point out some of our favorites and let you decide which works best for you.

24 Networking Tips that Actually Work

This post by James Clear is ridiculously comprehensive and drives home the best practice of giving first without expecting anything in return. If you read nothing else, we recommend this one.

Favorite Tip: Develop the habit of introducing people.
Connecting like-minded people is a powerful [way] to enhance your network. The idea of doing this seems foreign to many people, but it is actually quite easy. Do you know two people who enjoy reading the same type of books? Or like the same sports teams? Or love reading about history? Or work in the same industry? You get the point. Don’t make it hard, just introduce the two of them by sharing their common interest. They can decide if they want to pursue the relationship further.

How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People

Considering this piece is from CIO.com, we’re guessing that the tech audience is even less inclined to networking than the average person. If that’s you, these tips will be particularly helpful.

Favorite Tip: Stop Apologizing
Introverts and inexperienced networkers often apologize when asking for an individual’s help because they see networking as an imposition, not as an exercise in relationship building.

Networking Tips for Introverts: Visual Sketchnotes

If you’re more of a visual learner, this hand-illustrated SlideShare presentation has surprisingly specific suggestions (that just might work).

Favorite Tip: How can an introvert join a conversation already in progress?
Choose one cluster of people. Focus on one person. Ask, “Could I join you?”

10 Networking Tips for People Who Hate Networking

This is another comprehensive list, with some nice outside-the-box suggestions, like volunteering at events or organizing your own.

Favorite Tip: Arrive Early
As an early arriver, you have a chance to engage one-on-one with a few attendees before all of the noise and bustle sets in. You also have the luxury of making the first impression in people’s minds before they are drowning in business cards and handshakes. In fact, you might have so many fruitful conversations in the first half hour that you don’t have to stick around for the full networking event. Win-win!

12 Tips for Networking Like a Pro

TechCocktail, a startup event organizer, has collected advice from a dozen young entrepreneurs, including some that goes beyond the usual pabulum.

Favorite Tip: Find a Networking Wingman
For any networking event, it can be helpful to have a networking “wingman.” Together, you can naturally draw others into your conversation. This is particularly true if your networking wingman is knowledgeable about an industry you are unfamiliar with. If nothing else, the event will provide you with an opportunity to get to know your networking wingman better.

VMUG Conference Heading to Boston – Take VCA Exam for Free

The Chicago VMUG User Conference on Tuesday gave 785 VMware users the opportunity to meet face-to-face with VMware representatives, show their expertise through certification exams, learn about VMware offerings, and provide feedback on their experiences with VMware products.

VMUG members also had the opportunity to attend VMware Expert Technology Day on Monday. Covering the latest in VMware vSphere, vCloud, and VMware Horizon View, this exclusive pre-event generated great questions and conversation.

As part of the event, attendees could also take the VMware Certified Associate exam at no cost. Our congratulations go out to the 32 new VMware Certified Associates who passed the exam on site. Don’t forget! If you attended, you have until Friday evening to take the exam for free.

In Boston or Kansas City? Attend the VMware Expert Technology Session
The next VMUG User Conference takes place Tuesday, October 29, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Three VMware instructors will also be conducting a VMware Expert Technology Session the day before. VMUG members who attend will get a deep dive on VMware’s latest technology, as well as a discount code to take the VCA Exam for free.

For those of you in Kansas City, join us November 4 and 5 at the Overland Park Convention Center for your local VMware Expert Technology Session and VMUG User Conference.

Don’t miss out—register today for the VMware Expert Technology Session in Boston or Kansas City.

Find out more and register for the Boston event.

Find out more and register for the Kansas City event.

Find a VMUG event in your area.

Free eLearning Helps You Prep
To prepare for the exams, we invite you to take free online courses:

VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud)
VMware Certified Associate – Data Center Virtualization (VCA-DCV)
VMware Certified Associate – Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM)

Hope to see you in Boston or Kansas City!

Tips for Strong IT Resumes & Interviews – Stand out with VCA

We’ve been talking recently about the value of IT certifications (especially the new VMware Certified Associate track). They give you confidence, help you do your job better, and, in particular, make you an attractive candidate for jobs you’re looking to land.

But let’s take a step back. Once you’ve received your IT certification, you need to make sure the people doing the hiring realize you have it. You put a lot of time and effort into getting it—don’t waste that by burying it at the bottom of your resume. The IT recruiting firm Avid “makes it a priority to include every logo for every certification on every resume” so that it’s the first thing that hiring managers see.

But badges are not enough—your certifications need to be listed in the text of the resume also, since almost all resumes today are entered in a database and searched by keyword, points out Mirek Burnejko, a CCIE recruiter and creator of the Everything About IT Certifications blog.

For this reason, Burnejko also throws out the old advice to keep your resume to one or two pages. Instead, include all the information (especially details of your technical skills) that is necessary to tell your story.

This is not, however, an excuse to list everything you’ve ever done in an unreadable list. Focus on including just enough design and formatting to allow the eye to process the information easily. And don’t forget section headers to help readers find what they’re looking for.

If you only have a few certifications, it makes sense to include them in a section along with your education. For up to five or six certifications, list them together under “certifications” or something similar; for more, break them out into several categories of certifications.

If you follow these guidelines, and assuming you have the right skills for the position, your resume should rise to the top of the virtual pile. At which point you’ll be faced with the next important step: the interview.

Probably the most important advice when preparing for an interview is to do your research. Sounds simple, but it’s overlooked with surprising frequency. You should have already started researching the company before you sent them your resume, possibly with a search on a company culture review site like Glass Door.

Research the company, as well as the specific person you’ll be meeting with.

Once you land the interview, spend some time on the company’s website, blog, and other social sites to get a sense for their voice and style. Then research the specific person (or people) you’ll be meeting with. See if you have any common interests to help the conversation along. You’ll also want to read up on the latest industry news, especially anything that might have a major impact on the company’s business.

Finally, after all this research and preparation, it can be tempting to try to tell your interviewer what you think they want to hear. Avid warns against this. “IT professionals who give the perfect, cookie-cutter response to questions” are doing themselves a disservice, they point out. “IT managers know nothing about them at the end of the interview because the answers they’ve given don’t say much about them as employees.”

You’ve worked hard to gain the IT skills and certifications that make you a strong candidate. As long as you help those achievements stand out on your resume and you are honest about them, you’ll stand out during the interview process, too.