Working at Starbucks means the coffee is always within arm’s reach. But Jason Horn isn’t a barista. VCDX #113 and the company’s only VCDX, he serves as the company’s Principle Systems Engineer in the Compute and Platform Services Group. His role is a busy one involving interfacing with multiple infrastructure teams, as well as strategic and tactical delivery for the coffee giant.
VCDX certifications outside of VMware and its partner companies are as rare as the Kopi Luwak coffee bean, so we wanted to find out why Jason decided to pursue the most advanced level of VMware certification and the benefits he’s seen as a result.
Why Get Certified?
“The main reason why I decided to pursue [VCDX] is to prove that I could,” said Jason. “It definitely helped me go outside my comfort zone.”
If you’re ready to tackle VCDX, Jason’s main piece of advice is to get active in the thriving VCDX community as he did: interact on Twitter, set up groups, get the community’s advice, set up mock defense panels, join brown bags, and VCDX boot camps. “And, when you go down the path, don’t be discouraged when you fail,” he said. “It’s difficult, but learn from your mistakes and try again.”
Earning his VCDX has helped Jason focus and find gaps in his technical aptitude. He notes that even though he’s been working in a specific technology area for quite a while, he doesn’t necessarily work within every aspect of that technology in his day-to-day role. Going down the certification path opened the mind to other possibilities and provides business value because it helps him look at technology in a more holistic way.
Jason plans to keep current through recertification and agrees it’s important to stay current. “If I were interviewing a candidate, I’d want someone who stays current with technology,” he said.
Every Bit of Support Helps
As soon as he started down the path to earning his VCDX, Jason quickly encountered others in the community who were there to help while he studied and afterwards, too. The thriving community helps answer questions he may have in his day-to-day role. And he now helps mentor other VCDX hopefuls as they study for their exams. At his local VMUG (VMware User Group), he often serves on expert panels.
“[VCDX] is helping me grow as a professional. But I won’t lie, it does take a lot of work and it’s a multi-step process. If you have a family, you have to prepare them. And you still have to do your day job.”
But he says the hard work has all been worth it. Now that he’s earned his VCDX certification, it has opened quite a few doors. “When people find out you’re a VCDX, it’s instant credibility; they don’t question that you know what you’re doing.”
Your Certification (and Recertification) Journey
VCDX may be the highest level of VMware certification, but any level of certification is an achievement to be celebrated. Achieving one certification is often motivation to get to the next level and all the way to VCDX, as Jason’s journey can attest.
Recertifying is another way to earn the next level of certification, as we mentioned in the first post in this series. The recertification process not only motivates technical professionals to keep skills current, it means getting ahead of those whose certifications may have lapsed.
Recertifying also means getting the same benefits as new certificate holders receive, such as: access to the exclusive VCP portal and logo merchandise store, invitation to beta exams and classes, and use of the certification logo on personal websites and business cards.
For more information on the recertification policy, please visit http://www.vmwarerecertification.com/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more about Jason’s journey and get advice on his blog.
Let’s hear about your certification (or recertification) journey. Please send us tweets, post comments here on the blog, and share your thoughts.