For several years, I had heard from VMware friends about a course that was by invitation only and was the Top Gun for VMware senior consultants and architects. The Advanced Architecture Course hosted by VMware’s Center for Advanced Learning was THE course I wanted to attend.
“The Advanced Architecture Course is a very comprehensive program covering not just technical content across solutions; but it also includes presentation and business skills, our VMware Outcome Focused Approach, solution design best practices, and internal and industry-standard architectural methodologies.”
At the end of 2020, I got an email accepting my place in January 2021’s class! I was very excited about the opportunity but soon realized this was a course like no other.
The email was followed up with several prerequisite courses.
- Enterprise Architecture Foundations (1h)
- Outcome-Focused Delivery Foundation (4h)
- 10 Hands-on Labs (16.5h)
…and then a request for a recorded 1-minute video describing “Why you want to attend?” and then a live Zoom interview.
To successfully complete the course, attendees must meet the following to pass:
- Attend all eight days of training
- Attendees are required to have an overall passing score of 70% or above.
- 60% Pre-Work, Daily Knowledge Checks, Class Participation & Individual Assignment
- 40% Solution Design and Presentation
The entire course led to the final day’s presentation that we had to present to a role played executive board made up of real VMware executives and architects.
Unlike many of my previous CAL Alumni, due to COVID-19, the class was completed virtually via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Completing the course virtually presented its own challenges, including collaborating on our presentation over three continents and four time zones! But we improvised, Adapted, and Overcame!
The course was aimed at putting the people at the focus of the technology. By bridging the gap between business outcomes and technology, we get to deliver tangible benefits to our organizations, clients, and the people that make them up.
We were made up of very talented pre-sales and post-sales architects, senior consultants, and technical account managers. We were located in three continents and multiple cultures. We were all though bound by the love of technology. Meeting and working with this great and diverse group of people was by far the best part.
On Day four, CAL brought in Mandel executive coaching team for a full day of improving our presentation skills. Though we had a week of NDA presentations on:
- Digital Foundation & Transformation
- Modern Apps & Intrinsic Security
- Multi-Cloud and Virtual Cloud Network
- Digital Workspace
…I found improvements in my executive presentation skills the biggest takeaway.
Would I do it again?
Oh Yes! Though I missed the intangible benefits of an in-class, all-in-one-location event, the Advanced Architecture Course was a fantastic opportunity I was genuinely grateful to attend. If you get the chance to attend either physically or virtually, take it, you will not regret it! Just accept that your caffeine bill will be high and your sleep low.