You might have noticed that the VMware Certified Professional certification now has a number appended to it. The name has been changed to reflect your areas of skill – VCP2 for those who have been around the longest and took the VCP test when it revolved around version 2, VCP3 for those of you who studied and mastered version 3 of ESX, and now VCP4 for those who chose to remain in the forefront of the virtualization craze.
The good news is that your certifications now have no end date. Once you have earned your VCP3, you are always a VCP3! Earn the VCP4 certificate and it will always be valid. Just as with prior versions, acquiring your VCP4 involves taking a course to gain important understanding of the features and capabilities of the new version, taking the time to gain some hands-on experience in your workplace, and then passing the certification test.
If you are already on the road to becoming a VCP3 (or better yet you've already earned that title) then you're in luck when it comes to achieving your VCP4. A special path has been created to reflect your efforts thus far; a path that can greatly reduce the amount of time and money you'll need to spend to achieve your goal – becoming a VCP4. To qualify for this offer you must already have earned your VCP3 or have already attended one of the official VMware qualifying courses for the VCP3 – either the "Install and Configure" course, the "Deploy, Secure, and Analyze" course, or our "v3 Fast Track" class.
Basically, the paths to VCP4 revolve around you – your current position within the hierarchy of the VCP realm and your comfort with the VMware products. There are four kinds of people in the VCP system; professionals who earned their VCPs in the old days (on ESX 2.x), people who have met the course requirements for VCP3 but haven't taken the test, professionals that have earned their VCP3, and people who are new to the whole idea of earning a VCP. There are paths available for each, some of which are only available until the stroke of midnight on December 31st, 2009.
VCPs on ESX 2.x
Let's start with the old timers. You earned your VCP on ESX 2.x – or to use the current terminology you are a VCP2. First of all – thanks! You were an early adopter, and much of our current success can be attributed to your use and promotion of our virtualization infrastructure! You've probably been thinking about taking the VCP3 test for awhile, and there's never been a better time for you to do so. The biggest benefit you get for the length of time you've been working with VMware products is that until December 31st, you can take the VCP3 exam without having to take one of the VI3 courses.
Once you've earned that VCP3 your options continue – you can either self-study or attend the 2-day What's New course and then take the VCP4 exam, earning two certifications in very little time and with very little effort on your part (let's face it, you've been working with our products long enough to have a very good feel for what they do, how they work, and why they're so critical in today's data centers.)
Taken the VCP3 course, but haven't taken the test
If you have already taken one of the qualifying VCP3 courses (again, the "Install and Configure" course, the "Deploy, Secure, and Analyze" course, or our "v3 Fast Track") but have yet to take that exam, you have a couple of options as long as you act before the December 31st deadline. You could take the VCP3 test and then the VCP4 test, earning both certificates before the end of the year. Of course, this would imply that you are very comfortable with the new features available in vSphere 4.
If you, like me, need a little kick start, you can sit in the two-day "What's New" course, get a little hands-on time, and then take the test. Either way, just like the old timers (the VCP2s) you have a "twofer" option – earn both certificates by the end of the year with relatively little time and money!
As a current VCP3 you have proven your abilities – you are a knowledgeable VMware professional able to create and maintain a virtual infrastructure with ease. As with the VCP2s, first let me say thanks! You are the VMware army – out there installing and maintaining our products in the field. Without you our success story might have a very different ending. You also have a couple of paths available for earning the title of VCP4. You could download a demo version of vSphere4, spend some time learning the ins and outs, and then schedule the test and earn your VCP4. If you feel the need for some class time, VMware has the "What's New" course – two days dedicated to just the changes between ESX 3 and vSphere 4. So another option would be to attend the "What's New" class, get a little keyboard time with the new product, and then take your VCP4 exam. Just remember, we all turn into pumpkins on December 31st – so don't wait too long before making your move!
New to the whole VCP thing?
If you are just starting the VCP process, either as a seasoned professional who wants to finally earn that coveted title or a complete virtualization newbie, you are also in luck! While there are no short cuts for you (like anything worth having, the VCP certification requires a certain amount of effort) the VCP4 courses are available, the product is out there so you can gain some experience with it, and the test is ready. Your next steps are easy; just register for one of the VCP qualifying courses, get some stick-time, study a bit, and then take the test.
If you are interested in getting a certification or updating your current version and joining our community of over 16,000 Certified Partners, log into Partner University through the Partner Central Portal to get started in course and certification registration.
Maureen Lonergan is the Director of Global Channel Enablement. She has responsibility for building training programs to enable all Channel Partners; Solution Providers, Corporate Resellers, Technology Providers, Alliance Partners, System Integrators and System Outsourcers, and Hosting. She has been leading the Channel Enablement Team since August 2008.