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Answering Questions About Certification Inheritance

VCAPThere have been questions regarding our “inheritance” policy – if candidates who earn a second VCAP in a different technology track would “inherit” the VCP in that same track automatically. We wanted to explain our policy and how we arrived at it to give you some insight into the program.

We met with several groups, including our VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) Advisory Council, key stakeholders, and customers at our recent VMworld event, and discussed what had been done in the past, and what would be the best option for the program moving forward. A key outcome of these discussions is the understanding that each individual certification covers a unique set of knowledge and skills.

Even though a VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) is a higher level certification than VMware Certified Professional (VCP), you are tested on knowledge and skills in the VCP that you are not tested on at the VCAP level, and vice versa. In other words, the two certifications actually validate a different set of skills and knowledge, not simply a more advanced understanding of the same skills.

Based on this, we will not implement “inheritance” when crossing solution tracks. Or more plainly, earning VCAP6 will not automatically earn you a VCP6.

As you know, there are a lot of options to move up and across in our certification program. Here are some of the more common scenarios impacted by this policy.

Scenario #1 – If you are a VCAP5 and want to become a VCAP6 in a different track

  • You must first earn your VCP6 in the new track
  • Then you can earn the VCAP6

Scenario #2 – If you are a VCAP5 and want to become a VCAP6 in the same track

  • You must pass the VCAP6 exam
  • You will not inherit the VCP6 for that track

Scenario #3 – If you are a VCP5 and want to become a VCAP6 in a different track

  • You must earn VCP6 for that track first
  • Then you can go on to earn the VCAP6

In all cases above where a VCP is required first, you must follow the Current VCP or Expired VCP path listed on the certification program web page, depending on which one fits your situation.

We welcome your feedback and thoughts on this policy. Please comment below or email our team.

This entry was posted in VMware Certification on by .
Karl Childs

About Karl Childs

Karl Childs is a Senior Manager with VMware Education Services. He has 20+ years experience in IT Education and Certification, working with global companies such as HP, Novell, and MCI. While his background is in Instructional Technology and Training Development, he enjoys applying those skills within the IT and software industry.

29 thoughts on “Answering Questions About Certification Inheritance

  1. Pingback: Answering Questions About Certification Inheritance – Tovmug

    1. Karl ChildsKarl Childs Post author

      Thanks Marc. As you know, the VCIX is the designation awarded after earning both VCAPs (the Design and Deploy exams.) It’s a good suggestion. It was one of the options we were looking at. But as we looked at the competencies and objectives of the separate levels, it did become apparent they really test the different set of knowledge. Though it can be assumed the VCAP candidates have that knowledge, we’re unable to validate, and thus legally defend, they they do. Which is the substance of this policy.

      I’m glad you replied, I like the discussion and looking at it from any and all angles. Thanks!

      1. Kit

        Any VCIX6-DCV designation release schedule? Some buddies just fulfilled the requirements but no designation is obtained.

        1. Karl Childs

          Hi Kit, awesome! It was planned for November, it’s been shifted to December now. Thanks!

  2. Aaron Margeson

    I gotta be honest, these decisions just don’t make sense.

    Let me quote this line:

    “…Each individual certification covers a unique set of knowledge and skills.

    Even though a VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) is a higher level certification than VMware Certified Professional (VCP), you are tested on knowledge and skills in the VCP that you are not tested on at the VCAP level, and vice versa. In other words, the two certifications actually validate a different set of skills and knowledge, not simply a more advanced understanding of the same skills.”

    You know what else REALLY doesn’t test the same skillset? VCP certifications in different tracks. I think we’d all agree that’s pretty obvious. Yet what happens when you pass VCP exams in different tracks? It qualifies for recertification for previous VCPs you’ve achieved.

    But achieving a VCAP in the same track but a newer version doesn’t upgrade the underlying VCP certs… why exactly?

    I just passed my VCP6-NV exam, and there were plenty of design and deploy related objectives on it. If VCAP exams test different skillsets than VCP, then why are you including VCP exam objectives like, “Describe considerations for running VMware NSX on physical network fabrics”? That’s a design based objective if there ever was one. You can’t even pretend there isn’t MAJOR overlap on VCAP Deploy and VCP level objectives.

    And you cannot convince me that you can pass a VCAP exam without having almost all of the underlying VCP certification knowledge.

    And all the while, doing this kind of thing basically devalues the VCAP cert. VCAP is a higher cert. What you’re arguing is that actually they’re just different. I’ve taken numerous VCP exams. I’ve taken VCAP exams three times. Absolutely no, that isn’t true, but that’s effectively what you’re saying.

    So why even bother achieving VCAP or VCIX? What’s the value? What do you get by achieving VCAP?

    And one final point, these certs are most closely understood broadly in the IT community by IT pros first, and there’s a chasm between their understanding and recruiters, hiring managers, and the like. Most hiring managers and recruiters in my experience don’t even know the difference between a VCAP and a VCP certification. Most don’t even know there are different tracks for VCP and VCAP. This ignorance of precisely what these certs mean isn’t by any means limited to VMware. Hardly anyone outside of IT pros I met for example knew what MCITP was, that it replaced MCSE. And it’s understandable between linux certs, microsoft certs, cisco certs, everyone has a cert.

    So within this landscape, it’s barely realistic for recruiters and hiring managers to just be able to remember VCDX > VCIX > VCAP > VCP > VCA. What doesn’t help is muddying the waters by saying, “well, VCP is kinda not as high as VCAP, but actually they’re different things, and you can be a VCAP yet not be a VCP, and be VCP and not a VCAP.” So these kind of decisions devalue these certs even further because the people who most often make decisions that directly impact the cert holders (employers) are less likely to even understand them.

    Whatever problems you may think you’re fixing with this decision, you’re making a dozen more worse.

    1. Karl Childs

      Hi Aaron,

      Hopefully I can clarify a little bit more on your questions.

      Regarding the comment on recertification, whenever a candidate takes and passes a new certification, whether at the same level or upgraded to VCAP, it resets the expiration clock on all current certifications that candidate holds. It isn’t so much that you renew the previous VCPs, but it keeps them current in your transcript. You do not have to keep renewing each one individually, which would be tough for our multiple-certification holders. However, it does not upgrade any of them to the new version; only the one that was passed with the new exam.

      The reason we don’t award the new version at VCP when taking the newer VCAP is simply because they do cover different levels and areas of knowledge and skill. Yes, there is overlap. Yes, many objectives are worded similarly. But to use a very simple analogy, it’s similar to a driver getting their chauffeur permit – they are then allowed to drive passengers in a limousine, but it does not renew their original driver’s license. They still have to renew that when it comes due. I know it’s not a direct comparison, but helps to convey the idea that although there are related skills, they can differ in the level of expertise required to perform that skill at the different certification levels. For instance, the objective may be the same for both personal car and chauffeur drivers (e.g. properly steer the vehicle to avoid crashes), but they require a different level of skill to perform that with the different types of cars.

      To validate those assumptions, as stated in the blog, we requested feedback from several people, inside and outside VMware, to find the right answer for this. They all had earned multiple certifications at multiple levels, including up to VCDX, but the common feedback was still that each certification (in the current way they are developed) are separate enough to warrant this policy.

      The value of the VCAP and VCIX is that you can prove you can operate, design, manage, troubleshoot, etc at a more stringent level. You’re proving you have expertise when confronted with a tougher, more complex exam. And I agree whole-heartedly with you about creating understanding of that value to our communities and industry. That’s the goal, to create awareness of our certifications so that customers, decision-makers, hiring managers, prospective IT experts, and all our other influencers know, understand, and see the value of our program and certifications. In an industry with so many opportunities to certify, it’s a tough ask – but one I believe we can achieve. Especially with passionate, engaged professionals like you.

      I appreciate the thought and effort you put into your response. It shows just that passion and engagement I like to see, and that will help us get this program, and ultimately you, more recognized. Hopefully my explanations helped to clarify the reasons and perspective for this policy.


      1. Aaron Margeson

        I understood the thought process. You explained it crystal clearly. I just vehemently disagree with it, and I think what you’re going to see is a drop in interest in VCAP exam participation.

        Let’s take the chauffeur analogy as a perfect example. In that analogy a chauffeur basically needs a driver’s license and a chauffeur license, and they’re good to go for their job. There’s no new chauffeur licenses every two years that chauffeur’s need to take to maintain their competitiveness. And they sure as heck don’t cost $225 a pop when they take them.

        And there’s not different chauffeur licenses for different brands of cars.

        And on top of that, chauffeurs generally drive completely different automobiles. VCP and VCAP exams in the same track test your ability with the same exact product.

        I’m sorry, but the analogy just doesn’t hold water. It’s piling on more certs to be taken for no good reason.

        You said it yourself…

        “The value of the VCAP and VCIX is that you can prove you can operate, design, manage, troubleshoot, etc at a more stringent level. You’re proving you have expertise when confronted with a tougher, more complex exam.”

        Does VCP require you to operate the product? Yes.
        Does VCP require you to be able to make some design considerations? Yes.
        Manage? Yes.
        Troubleshoot? Yes.
        Deploy? Yes.

        You just said the VCAP exam is like the VCP exam, but it’s tougher and more stringent. IE, they’re testing the same things, but at a higher level. They’re not qualitatively assessing completely different skills than VCP. Yet you’re going to make VCAP holders go back and take VCP exams on the same version and track.

        I work for a VMware partner, and we are partners with other vendors as well, which often compliment VMware. In my practice, we also deploy EMC storage products, Cisco for networking, various backup products like Veeam and EMC, Cisco servers, VCE, etc. So there are a ton of certs we have to maintain. I’ve gone for VCAP certifications as a means to prove my skillset beyond VCP to differentiate myself from other VMware resources, and it upgraded my VCP along the way, as it should in my opinion. Now it doesn’t. When push comes to shove, people know VCP, and they don’t know VCAP as much. VMware partnership requirements center around VCP, not VCAP. Between all the vendor certs that I have to maintain, there’s only so many certification exams I can withstand taking.

        So, it looks like perhaps VCAP for me is on the chopping block because when it comes down to it, VCP is required and recognized, and VCAP isn’t. This policy is a natural consequence of this policy, like it or not.

  3. Benja

    Hi Karl,

    I think that the #1 & #3 can be right but 2# scenario should be modified like v5 path.

    Currently I hold VCAP5-DCD & VCAP5-DCA & VCAP6-DCV Deploy and with these certifications, I will gain VCIX6-DCV status but not VCP6-DCV.
    For my point of view, VCIX6 status should be granted only if both Advanced certs are achieved as recognition of high skills, instead VCP6 should be inherited due to the facts that an Advanced certification is gained.

    During my VCAP6-DCV Deploy journey, I’ve studied VCP6-DCV “Blue Print” as first step in order to have a deep knowledge, then I started to prepare the Deploy exam, but I never think to do VCP6-DCV nor VCP6-DCV Delta exams…

    Maybe a #4 Scenario is missing… If you are a VCP6 and want to become a VCAP6 in a different track

    You must earn VCP6 for that track first
    Then you can go on to earn the VCAP6

    This can be right too.

    Sorry, I go a little bit off topic, please fix the issue on VCIX-NV certification track….is not reasonable to not consider it an similar status like as VCAP6-NV Deploy…both are Advanced Certs, both are Lab exam certifications and both certs are gained on the same Major software release…the difference is only a name (and a minor software release)

    1. Karl Childs

      Hi Benja,

      See my earlier reply, that will help provide some rationale on the VCP inheritance. You are correct in your other assumptions. In your case, you will receive VCIX6-DCV.

      Your example of the #4 scenario is correct. That is exactly the path to take to earn the VCAP in another track. Earn the VCP first, and then the VCAP.

      For the NV track, the VCIX6-NV is equivalent to the VCAP6-NV Deploy. Since the technology is on v6 in both certifications, if you have earned the VCIX6-NV, you will automatically be granted the VCAP6-DCV Deploy.


      1. Benja

        Hi Karl,

        About Certification Inheritance, It seems more correct gain VCP6-DCV and not VCIX6-DCV status…currently I don’t hold both advanced cert on DCV v6 track, why I can show a status not really gained (VCIX6-DCV) and why I can’t show that i hold competency like a vcp?

        I hold also VCIX-NV (not VCIX6-NV) and on certification pages there are the following statement:

        Existing Candidate Requirements
        VCIX6-NV Requirements
        + Path 1: If you hold a VCIX-NV certification
        1: Earn either VCAP6-NV Design or VCAP6-NV Deploy certification

        Existing Candidate Requirements
        VCAP6-NV Deploy Certification Requirements
        + Path 1: If you hold VCIX-NV certification and a valid VCP
        1: Recommend attending the VMware NSX Troubleshooting and Operations [V6.2] or VMware NSX: Design and Deploy [v6.1]
        Note: This training is strongly recommended, though not required
        2: Pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment Exam

        Back in Febrary, I opened a ticket (16880698302) to certification@vmware.com to have some informations about the automatic upgrade from VCIX-NV to VCIX6-NV…the response received is very different compared to the actual VCIX6-NV/VCAP6-NV Deploy path…I’m starting to think about having done a certification exam that has no value, this is the issue*…

        Sometime too many rules (or certification names*) adversely affect quality


  4. Graham

    I’ve had to clarify something with VMware education in relation to this news.

    Basically if you already hold a VCAP and let your VCP expire, I wanted to know if you could gain VCAP in another track. According to this blog post you can’t directly and you need to take the course and VCP and VCAP in the new track.

    VMware Education have clarified this and told me that If you have a VCAP and expired VCP then you can gain VCAP in another track without taking the course or VCP for that track. It basically means that once you have a VCAP (which don’t expire) then you can let your VCPs expire as they are no longer a pre requisite for other tracks. The only issue is that you don’t inherit VCP in the new track but as you’d have VCAP it’s not a big deal.

    Please correct me if this is incorrect.

    1. Karl Childs

      Hi Graham,

      It isn’t quite accurate. To earn the VCAP in a different track, you must earn its prerequisite VCP as well.

      If you are upgrading the VCAP in the same track (for example, from VCAP5-DCA to VCAP6-DCV Deploy), then it won’t matter what your VCP status is. You can stay certified at the higher level and stay current there if you prefer. However, I always recommend staying current at the VCP level – you never know when it might hurt you. For example, if you want to move to another track, but your VCP has expired, you will to earn the new VCP, which is a longer path if your VCP has expired.


    1. Karl ChildsKarl Childs Post author

      Hi Graham, thanks for directing me to that site. Path 3 was meant to apply to those with a VCAP5 and an expired VCP in the same track.

      I have requested the pages to be updated to better reflect that, adding the words “in the same track”.

      You may update your VCAP by taking the new VCAP exam only, regardless of VCP status, but only in the same track. To cross to a new track, such as from VCAP5-DCV to VCAP6-CMA, you will need the prerequisite VCP6-CMA.


  5. Blake Gore

    So is the same true for VCDX’s in that if they obtain VCDX for a new version in the same track, do they also not obtain the new version’s VCP? Just wondering for consistency. Not that I’m a VCDX.

    1. Karl Childs

      Good question. That is correct. They can continue to upgrade at the VCDX level, but would need to upgrade the VCP if they want it to stay current.

  6. Md. Shahadat Hossain

    I have attend vSphere 6.0 ICM Training and i am holding now VCP-Foundation and VCP6-DCV Certification now, can i sit for exam of VCP6-NV direct?


    1. Karl ChildsKarl Childs Post author

      Shipon, yes, you only need to pass the VCP6-NV exam to earn that certification.

  7. Marc Stoffberg

    You guys are making a huge mistake here in my opinion, whilst some of your logic is sound, I get the impression that this is once again about making more money from training.

    Are you planning on going back to all the dual VCDX’s and telling them that they now have to go write their vcp and vcap exams for their second vcdx? I mean based on your logic, they have not fulfilled their requirements for the secondary vcdx.

    VMware is a forward thinking and cutting edge company and what you are doing here is plain backwards.

    Certification is at the heart of any company that is partner focused but most partners don’t pay for the training.

    In South Africa, the 2 VCAP certs and exams cost the same as a car, you are forcing us to look at alternate product qualifications.

    I might as well go write my CCIE, it works out being cheaper.

    It is shameful and truly shows how disconnected you have become from the people that do the day to day selling of your product.

    1. Karl Childs

      Hi Marc,

      The requirements for the dual VCDX remains the same. The requirement is the prerequisite VCAPs for that track, but you are correct, all prerequisites must be met to earn those. The policy is not money-driven, but based on the need to validate the specific skills at the right level throughout any individual track. That validation enables each certification to be legally defensible and keep its value individually. Which is the goal – as each certification grows in value in the industry, it increases the value of those who hold it.


  8. Timothy Zapetis

    So I am now in a situation where I took the beta for VCAP-CMA Design, and a special invite to the CMA Deploy beta while I was a VMware employee, before this policy was implemented. I do not have the VCP6 in cloud. Design went live before this decision, and I was granted the cert. I still haven’t heard anything about the Deploy results and now I’m seeing this post. What exactly does this mean for my situation? Will my design VCAP be revoked? Will I even get my results for deploy? If I’m forced to take the LOWER LEVEL cert will my VCAP results still count or am I now going to have to retake the test because of this policy change? I would appreciate some clarification here as I’m planning on submitting a VCDX-CMA defense in the future and need to know if I need to focus on the ENTRY level cert instead of the highest level.

    1. Karl Childs

      Hi Timothy,

      Nothing will be revoked. If you were awarded the VCAP6-CMA Design, then you got it! The VCAPs have always needed the prerequisite VCP, but if you were able to get it through an alternate path somehow, don’t look back! 🙂

      The VCAP6-CMA Deploy exam results will be out very soon. The certification logic will require the VCP6-CMA. You will be able to see the requirements and your statuses in CertManager here: https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/login.cfm?ui=www_cert&RedirectURL=https%3A%2F%2Fmylearn%2Evmware%2Ecom%2Fapi%2FmL%2Ecfm%3FmL%5Fmethod%3Dsso%26h%3D1625%26target%3DCertMetrics

      The order you earn the certifications is not mandated, so your exam results are still applicable.


  9. James


    So I am having a very hard time understanding this. So I passed my VCIX-NV in October this year, and basically now its worthless? I have to go sit another entire lab again and spend all that money over again?



    1. Karl ChildsKarl Childs Post author

      James, not at all. Your VCIX is still good – there is not currently any expiration to the VCAP and VCIX and VCDX level certifications. And when you passed it, it also renewed your NV VCP for two years from that point. So you have until October of 2018 before you need to do anything to have the VCP renew. That could be anything from taking a newer VCP exam, taking the newer VCAP6 Deploy exam, taking the VCAP NV Design exam (which should be available by then), or earn the VCDX. If you stay active in learning and validating on VMware technologies, your VCP should never expire.

  10. Benja

    Hi Karl,

    sorry but you miss James question…He ask the same thing that I wrote in the previous posts… All VCIX-NV holders are in the same situation and this is a big fault for Us
    I have an advanced certification (VCIX-NV) based on NSX 6.X, why I need to retake another lab Exam on the same track and the same NSX release (6.X) called VCAP6-NV Deploy?
    Currently I hold vcp6-nv & vcix-nv and based on your statement VCIX-NV are not automatically upgraded as VCAP6-NV Deploy/VCIX6-NV…this is equal to:

    my path = vcp6-nv –> vcix-nv –> VCAP6-NV Deploy = VCIX6-NV
    new path = vcp6-nv –> VCAP6-NV = VCIX6-NV

    Its very clear that all VCIX-NV holder have done an exam/certification without value if You don’t change your model.

    About a year ago VMware pubblished a post with a clear statement: “If you hold a VCIX-NV certification you will be automatically migrated to VCIX6-NV.”
    But this is not the actual path, changing this policy, VCIX-NV holders and VMware have a reputational damage, why this is not understood?

    All VCDX-NV holder must retake VCAP6-NV Deploy exam to gain VCDX6-NV status? it is not reasonable

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