Positively Impact Customers with Certifications: Spotlight on Drew LaBonne

VMware Certifications aren’t just about testing learning from a text book. The VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) certifications validate deep understanding of design and deployment principles, often through performance-based testing. This important way to measure learning is the truest test of real-life capabilities. This month we’re spotlighting Drew LaBonne for his critical role in designing and building the Data Center Virtualization Deploy exam. While continuing to show excellence in his day job at VMware, Drew demonstrated commitment and collaboration beyond compare. If not for Drew’s willingness to work for many months to build more than 90% of the VCAP6.5-DCV Deploy exam by himself, we may not have had this exam at all! Thank you, Drew!


What is your background and how did you start in the IT industry? 

I’ve worked in IT for 18 years. I started my IT career in the ISP world as a network support engineer and eventually moved to systems administration and recently to technical management. I have been with VMware for just about 6 years. I started as a TSE on the sys ops team and quickly moved in to the premier services team as a generalist. I helped to establish a team of backline engineers that work directly with engineering and development to advocate for customers and resolve technical issues for some of VMware’s largest users. I moved into management about 2 years ago in the education organization where I manage the team that delivers instructor led training labs.


What do you think makes for a great testing experience?

I think a great testing experience is created when the material is relevant to real-life. I think people like to be tested on real-world material and getting it done, not just marketing material and the shiny new things. I am a huge fan of hands-on testing and have been really fortunate to be able to be involved in the design and building of some of our VCAP labs!


Why did you get involved in the Education Contributor program?

When I started with VMware as a TSE I talked to a lot of customers that had tons of feedback on the material that was being tested. I saw it as an opportunity to take that real-world direct feedback and help to improve in an area where we could drive higher customer satisfaction as well as advocate for our product suite. I saw certification work as a really great way to positively impact customers and help to grow the business.


What is the most desirable facet of the Education Contributor program?

For me, it’s been the connections that I’ve made with other contributors and exam developers. I’ve worked with SMEs and managers from all areas which really helped to grow my understanding of our product suite and how people really use our software.


How have you benefited from the program?

I’ve received multiple certifications and contributor badges for the exams that I have helped to develop. I have gotten insight into the testing process to help me better prepare for other exams and eventually my VCDX! I’ve also made some great connections both inside and outside of VMware.


Fun Fact

When I’m not doing technical stuff, I like to play saxophone with a local community group and sit in as an understudy/sub for a professional swing band here in Denver!



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