VMware certification framework, long walks on the beach, teddy bears…

I am not a VMware administrator. I know this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I occasionally have to look things up in the docs, or hunt in the GUI for where some alert may be burried. I spend a fair amount of time in the labs, honing my skills, but it is generally for the purpose of understanding more about the products I represent, and being able to speak intelligently about them. I have been a VCP-DV since 2010, but I have worked on VMware ESX since 2006. I consulted on and wrote a great deal of documentation and many designs prior to becoming a VCP. I have the utmost respect for the certification, knowing how challanging it was for me, and how I continue to struggle with the exam itself, largely because I need to be better disciplined about sitting down and studying for it, and because I am not dealing with it as an administrator.

That being said, I am not a fan of the current certification process for VMware. I have brought this up to the education services team as well as those in the community, and we have seen some changes, but I think we need to see more. Looking at other vendors, EMC or HP for example, certifications are geared at career paths. As a consultant I obtained the EMC Technical Architect certificaiton on the VNX products. It was challanging, and required three exams, but it was very focused on design with some interface and hands on knowledge required, but for the most part, it was around design principals which are specific to the product with some general design principals. HP’s storage architecture certification was similar, very focused on good design and solid product knowledge.

The main thing that differentiated these from the VMware certification process was the seperation of an architect track from the implimentation and engineering tracks. It is important for a architect to be able to understand the admin and engineering functions, VMware’s entry point with a very specific administration exam is counter intuitive. Continuing on with the new VCIX certification, formerly VCAP, requiring an implimentaiton exam again seems to be a bit off.

In my opinion, VMware Education should look at seperating out the tracks, and changing some of the course work to reflect this. By forcing everyone up a single path the value of the lower certifications are diluted, as it becomes a core requirement for many companies. That being said, I think that there should be some cross over one each exam and in each course. We need to drive more people to a higher level. I will also say that the addition of the Network Virtualization track to the others is refreshing, I am excited to see that we are growing the education and certification tracks, but there needs to be more clarity and better paths to get more advanced certifications.

One final thought I would leave you with, certifications are not the end all be all, much like education. I hold a BS and an MBA. The first thing I learned when I finished those is that my learning had just begun. As IT professionals it is incumbent upon us to continuously learn, grow, and improve. Versioning certifications is a necessary evil to make sure we are keeping up with our learning, but it falls to each of us to make sure we are pushing ourselves to learn, to seek out mentors, and to grow our own career.

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VMware certification framework, long walks on the beach, teddy bears…

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