The other day I realized that I never blogged about my exam experience and more importantly, study experience in regards to the VCP exam. Actually some of you probably know the story behind me trying to obtain this cert for the past two years!!! That’s right, it’s been long in the making. However not because I studied for two years! Come on!! 🙂 but because I needed to complete the prerequisite course before I can qualify for VCP.
Just like everyone who starts in IT, at some point, starts thinking about certifications, and back when I started with vSphere, there were very few VMware certifications if I recall correctly. Of course now, VMware released a whole slew of certifications, targeting different tracks, including the entry level associate certifications, such as the VCA for Cloud, Datacenter, Workforce Mobility, and Desktop.
Couple of years back, I was really keen on obtaining certifications around technologies that I worked with. I remember when I passed the 70-291 exam (called the beast at the time) to earn the MCSA, I thought I was the man! In fact, I passed that exam on the first try with a 701, I’ll never forget that number because I honestly thought I failed it right up until I saw the score! Now fast forward 6 months and that’s when I became really interested in the VMware Certified Professional certification. I remember people started to slowly get certified and so I asked the company I worked for at the time for training, and unfortunately, that never happened. But regardless, I continued learning and working with vSphere for years to come. At some point, I almost forked out the full $3800 price for the 5 day course, but at the last minute changed my mind and I am glad I did! To make a long story short, I ended up self financing the course, but at a much lower cost by doing it at a local college that is certified to teach the official vSphere ICM course over a period of a few weeks. By the time I started the course, I was really comfortable with all of the topics and labs that were covered.
In regards to the course topics, like many people who did the course before me stated, it’s definitely not enough to pass the exam, you need to know more, have experience, try things outside the scope of the course, just to strengthen the foundation. VCP is not an easy exam, I had trouble with some questions simply because I’ve never done some of the tasks that I was tested on, and that was my fault, I should of practiced in the lab, lesson learned!
This brings me to the second point, lab’ing for this exam in my opinion is a must, especially if you’re considering the VCAP-DCA. You see, some topics are hard to understand, even for those who are experienced. There’s no way that you can know everything, however the blueprint does a great job at outlining the exam! Honestly, I hear this from people all the time “read the blue print” “make sure you cover all the topics in the blueprint” It’s true, that’s the key to success with this exam and all the other VMware exams.
At the end of the day, what makes it all worth it, is the knowledge that you obtain. Sure, having a certificate to prove one’s skill is definitely rewarding, but to understand these concepts and then apply them in real world scenarios, makes this whole experience invaluable…
Next up for me are the two datacenter VCAP exams, VCAP-DCA/DCD. These exams will be somewhat challenging and yet I am sure very rewarding when I pass them! My job these days is not all vSphere so preparing for these exams will definitely give me a boost. I will say that from a design perspective, I feel more comfortable then from an administrator perspective, simply because these days, I am not much hands on… However, this is also what makes this journey interesting, because I’ll get to do things that otherwise I might not do at work. As someone who’s interested in the Architecture side of IT, passing these exams are definitely helpful for the future, especially WHEN I decide to pursue VCDX one day!
As Albert Einstein once said – Any fool can know. The point is to understand