Tag Archives: Certification

Attention IT Recruiters – VCDX | VCIX | VCAP | VCP – Letters That Add Value!

There has been some discussion in the vExpert Slack channel over the last couple of days discussing how the vExpert Program which is an advocacy program that VMware awards to engaged members of the community was more recognized than actual VMware based certifications including the coveted VCDX. Without diminishing the value of the vExpert Program, this has been discussed in many circles for a while now and generally revolves around the fact the the VCAP exams are almost non existent when it comes to desirable certifications on resumes. Even the VCDX seems to be generally relegated to a “Explain what a VCDX is and aren’t vExperts the Virtulization Experts of choice?” conversation.

Within the VMware community we know and understand exactly when it means to achieve a VCP. We know the step up and the experience required to achieve VCAPs and VCIXs and many know the absolute effort and commitment it takes to persue and gain a VCDX. While the VCP can be achieved via braindumps the consensus is that the VCP 5 and 6 versions are no walk in the park. VCAPs and VCIX administration and design exams can’t be braindumped and to pass those exams shows advanced skills with VMware products. The VCDX is a whole different level and in addition to having to pass VCPs, at least two VCAPs/VCIXs successful candidates go through hundreds of hours of design documentation before sitting a defence in which candidates are put under immense pressure to be able to get enough points to become a VCDX…a master of architectural design and thinking.

So whats the problem here and why are these certifications not as well known and recognized as they should be? It’s apparent that there needs to be more education in the Tech HR and Recruitment space that goes some way to having these certs (and other industry certs) recognized more and have their true value understood. In addition to that IT managers who do the employing need to understand what each exam gets you in terms of the candidate filling a role.

How this is achieved I am not sure but maybe IT recruiters will stumble across this post and use it as a springboard to better understand the certifications listed above. It’s also up to the hiring manager to start understanding the value by adding them to job descriptions as desired certifications. These exams are not cheap and they represent significant investment in time and effort to pass and as the numbers around the globe show below…these certifications are not gained without effort.

Looking at data below it’s clear to see that with only 220 odd VCDXs, 4000 odd VCAPs and with the number of VCPs similar to the CCIE’s rough 50,000 you can start to see the uniqueness of the VMware certifications. Weather that translates to better skilled employees I can’t answer that and I’m certainly not advocating increased dollar values of potential candidates just because they hold these certifications but the aim here is to increase the understanding of the value that each certification brings.

I’d be interested to hear is this sentiment if felt in other certification areas such as Microsoft, Citrix and in newer areas like AWS and other vendor certifications…feel free to comment below.

VCDX Links:

http://vcdx.vmware.com/

VCAP/VCIX Links:

http://blogs.vmware.com/education/2016/04/where-in-the-world-are-vcaps-infographic.html

VCP Links:

http://blogs.vmware.com/education/2015/12/where-in-the-world-are-vcps-infographic.html

Example Certification Path:

https://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=88888&ui=www_cert

References:

http://www.bradreese.com/worldwide-ccie-count.htm

VCIX-NV Follow-up: Wearable Heart Rates and VCP Inheritance

Last week I sat and passed the VCIX-NV (VCXN610) exam and I thought I would follow-up last weeks Review Post with some interesting…well I think interesting observations I picked up from my JawBone device during the course of the exam as well as give an update on some questions around what passing the VCIX-NV in it’s current form gives you in terms of VCP inheritance and extension.

Exam Heart Rate Measurements:

During my first attempt I was asked to remove the JawBone as the testing center apparently thinks they can conceal answers even though the JawBone Up3 doesn’t have any sort of display except for come indicator lights. Last week, during my second attempt they didn’t notice it on me and I had it on during the course of the exam.

When I checked the Up App later the evening the heart rate pattern closely matched the ebs and flows I felt during the 4.5 hour exam. If you look at the image above I have numbered key moments based on the time the reading was taken and made notes below on what part of the exam they correspond to.

  1. 69bpm – Taken on the journey from home to the testing center…feeling nervous about taking the test. Who doesn’t get nervous before tests?
  2. 69bpm – After going in confident, things started going pear shaped as explained in the recap.
  3. 59bpm – After getting the time extension and getting through first couple of questions
  4. 56bpm – During this part of the exam I settled into a groove and was powering through questions feeling more and more relaxed.
  5. 73bpm – Nearing the end of the exam and trying to rush through last few questions and going back through answers.
  6. 80bpm – Waiting for exam results after walk back to office from test center
  7. 55bpm – About an hour after getting results and finally able to relax

It’s pretty cool to see what your heart (and body) goes through during the course of an exam and with a wearable like the JawBone it’s possible track back and find out exactly what was happening during that period.

VCIX-NV Inheritance:

Over the past couple of months I’ve seen some conversation on Twitter and Slack around what passing the VCIX-NV gives you from a VCP point of view. We know from the VMware Education site that passing the current VCIX-NV means that when the new NSX Based Design and Administration exams come out, current VCIX-NV holders will be automatically upgraded.

As shown above, what also happens is that you are awarded the VCP-NV certification as well as have your existing VCPs expiration dates extended. It seems like VMware are giving away a lot with the successful passing of this exam however it probably speaks more to the fact that NSX is core to VMware future and it wants people to certify against it…however that is not to say that it’s given away for free and as I talked about in the recap the VCIX-NV isn’t a cakewalk and everything mentioned above is definitely well earn’t.

The current VCIX-NV gets retired on the 2nd of June.

VCIX-NV Exam Recap

What a effort that was! Today I sat and passed the VCIX-NV (VCXN610) exam and I can say that this exam has taken a fair bit out of me over the last month or so. I had been aiming to take this exam late last year but other commitments got in the way and I took my first shot at the am a couple of weeks ago…more on that first attempt below. Back to todays attempt, no more than 45 minutes after walking out of the local testing center here in Perth I had the Score Report email in my inbox with a Pass score.

As mentioned above this was my second attempt at the exam as I failed my first try falling just short of the 300 pass mark. I’ll be honest and say that the fail was mostly on me and as I walked out of that first attempt I knew that I had screwed things up and that a pass wasn’t likely.

As people know with the VCAP/VCIX lab based exams, some questions are linked and you need to be careful to not screw up or incorrectly complete a question as it may impact you further down the track. This happened early on in my first attempt and I knew that I would scramble to make the pass mark however I did have some legit issues with a couple of the questions which has become almost par for the course for people taking this exam. The issues where related to the Web Client and a service account which impacted my ability to attempt a couple of questions. I raised a ticket with VMware Education and managed to get a resit voucher which was pleasing as I wanted to tackle it again as soon as possible and the price of the exam had risen from $485AUD to $618AUD in the space of 3 months between bookings.

With that behind me I went into today’s attempt a little more confident but that confidence quickly evaporated as I ran into an issue with a core piece of NSX infrastructure about 20 minutes into the exam. I knew what I needed to do to fix the issue but I had lost time and remembered a conversation in the vExpert Slack VCIX Channel around the fact that you can ask for a time extension from VUE if you run into unexpected technical issues…which I did and after a bit of going around in circles with the local DDLS team I was granted some extra time to complete the exam. I was able to power on from that point and exited the exam room after about 4.5 hours after I had initially started…as someone mentioned in a previous post…this exam is like being in a time vortex.

Exam Thoughts and Tips:

I won’t sugar coat this exam…it’s tough! I have been working with NSX day and and day our for almost two years but found that the actual exam questions where not aligned to my day to day work on the NSX platform. The fact that it’s based on NSX-v 6.0.2 also poses a challenge for those of us lucky enough to have worked through 6.1.x and now 6.2.x NSX-v updates…all I can say is the Web Client experience should be much better for the new VCIX-NV exam thats coming in June.

My tip for those who are yet to take this test or future lab based VCAPs/VCIXs is to try and not use the Web Client if you can help it. I spent a lot of time in the VI client which meant less browser redraw times leading to quicker task completion. I would also suggest using ssh over the VM console as the redraw of the SUSE linux background is also a pain. Obviously for NSX you need the Web Client so to save time have multiple browser tabs open for quicker transition and load times.

A quick word on the latency…it wasn’t too bad even though I am located on the West Coast of Australia with an approximate 600-700ms RTT back to the Pacific coast US.

I’m not going to go through the exam preparation resources as many guys have blogged about what to use to help you pass the exam in addition to knowing the Blue Print off by heart…but the one thing I will say is the the VMware HOL are like gold…specially if you don’t have the resources or entitlement to run up NSX in a home or office lab. A final word of advice is that you do need to get up to speed on networking basics to pass this exam…just knowing how to administer NSX in a vSphere environment won’t be enough.

All in all I’m pretty happy to have this notch on my belt as I felt it was a long time coming, thanks to all that helped in my preparation and good luck to all those taking the VCIX in the future. To be sure it was a tough, brute of an exam…I still had fun getting through it.

#RUNNSX