Two weeks ago, I took my VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Data Center Virtualization (VCAP6-DCV) and can happily say I passed!
Though I have taken and blogged about several of my VCP experiences, VCAP has always been a very elusive goal. While chatting with the vExpert and newly minted VCDX Paul Meehan, he convinced me to go take my VCAP certification in what now feels like a lifetime ago. While I was at VMWorld Europe, I took my first attempt at the VCAP certification and narrowly missed out on a passing score. As that version of the exam was being retired, I took a break from taking the advanced level exams (Much to the relief of my wife).
Meanwhile, I focused on getting my VCP-Cloud, VCP6-DCV, VCP6-NV, VCP-DTM. I did always have this nagging desire to get my VCAP though. Another vExpert and friend, Ross Wynne then reengaged me into going for it again.
There are many reasons to get certified, and there will always be people that say experience is far better than a certification. I have always felt that it’s not one or the other but a combination of both. Experience without certification leads to a narrow viewpoint and can lead to bad habits. While certification without experience, doesn’t offer the real world issues and caveats that you learn from personal experience over time.
I have found a huge benefit in the completion of both doing other tracks of a certification (DCV, CMA, DTM & NV) or doing the more advanced exams. I have found certifications a great framework for learning new skills and gaining the knowledge to help me, help my clients. I have also found that the advanced exams have stretched my knowledge into areas of the VMware product set that have made my working life easier but also enhanced the VMware environments that I have been charged with enriching.
There are plenty of excellent blogs on preparing for VCAPs in general and specifically the VCAP6-DCV Deploy and I don’t think I can add much to their excellent words. I would suggest one thing… Relax! Yes, you need to know the blueprint backwards. Yes, you need the skills to complete the exam but the biggest thing in the exam is battling time. It’s not good enough to say “I can configure item x as it says in the blueprint”, you need to be able to add to that “quickly”. Can you backup a configuration in the shortest time possible or will you need to click around a bit to get to it? You’ll know when you are ready. I have found in my experience and after speaking with others, battling the pressure of time being the biggest source of failure. So be confident in your skills (If you are doing your VCAP this is likely to be your day job) and when the panic kicks, take a deep breath and move forward.
So what is next? I want to update my VCP-Cloud to VCP6-CMA (Which will give me all the VCP version 6 exams) and then either the VCAP-DCV Design or the VCAP-NV Deploy exam…. No decision yet, but as I have learned from studying for my previous exams it is the process of learning that has made me a better consultant.
I look forward to the next learning adventure.