The number of VMware certifications being released and updated has both increased in width and depth. This means that VMware has not only added new levels to existing certification paths, but they’ve also released new paths for their more recent product offerings. I’ll break down the different levels of VMware certifications and give my thoughts on how they apply and their value.
Currently VMware is offering certifications in the following paths that closely align with their major product offerings:
- Cloud – Certifications that include the vCloud Suite of products.
- Data Center Virtualization – Traditional vSphere- and vCenter-focused certifications.
- End User Computing – VMware is working on bring in all Horizon Suite products; currently heavily focused on VMware View.
- Network Virtualization – This is brand new and will most likely focus heavily on VMware NSX product.
- Cloud Application Platform – Application-focused path based on the spring product offerings.
Basic info about these paths and the available certifications available within each can be found on the VMware Education site.
VMware Certification Levels
VMware Certified Associate (VCA)
“A candidate for the VCA certification is familiar with VMware products and technologies and the business needs that can be met by those technologies. The candidate may be in any number of job roles that interact with VMware Data Center Virtualization technologies.” – from the VCAD510 VMware Certified Associate – Data Center Virtualization exam.
My take on the VCA is that it was offered in the past and was recently brought back. This certification, in my view, is targeted towards people who are pretty new to VMware products. It could be a good avenue for nontechnical people to showcase their basic knowledge of the VMware product or for those technical people to show they are focused on learning VMware products but have not had the opportunity to gain the more advanced skills yet. For more information, check out my other post about VMware bringing back VCA certifications.
VMware Certified Profession (VCP)
This certification is the most common and been around the longest. The VCP was the go-to way to prove that you were on your VMware game. There are VCP certifications for most of the main product offerings today from VMware. These are geared towards people who have been working with VMware for a couple of years. The VCP is a multiple choice test, much like other industry certifications.
My take on the VCP program is that it’s really a necessary step in the VMware journey. It personally does not hold as much value as it used to, but since it is a requirement for the higher level certifications you need to take it seriously. I have met people with their VCP who were either a rock star or they had no clue. So the test by itself is not a great indication of the skill level; other discovery would be needed if you are vetting someone.
VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP)
The VCAP level is for people that have been using VMware for more than a few years and are using the products at a higher level. There are two types of VCAP certifications. Today there is a Design based (DCD) or Hands on based (DCA) certification.
My take on the VCAP is I love them. I believe that when someone reaches the VCAP level they have really separated themselves from the pack. Especially if they took the DCA the hands on test. There is no cheating or faking your way through the VCAP-DCA. If someone has the DCA I feel much more comfortable with the level of experience the person possesses. This is very helpful as an employee of a VMware partner that is often included in the interview process.
VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX)
The VCDX is the crown jewel of VMware certifications. Achieving this level is a result of years of hard work and commitment. To achieve VCDX you will need to demonstrate a mastery of VMware architecture. This program requires passing several of the lower certifications and it does not stop there. The candidate must fully document a VMware design in the path that he is submitting for this. This includes the design itself but also all the supporting information including build guides, run books, project plans and test plans.
I think you can guess my view on this one by now. If someone has reached the VCDX level there is little doubt in their skills. He or she has already proved that he/she understands the product and is capable of discussing architecture alternatives and risks with customers. There are currently only 119 VCDXs in the world, so if you have any doubt of someone’s credentials, simply look it up in the VCDX directory.
VMware Certification: The Big Picture
So what does the big picture look like? I’ve included the roadmap diagram that VMware has published that illustrates how each level of certification fits within each of the paths. Not all certifications are currently available, but they are clearly marked. The availability of new certifications has been happening on a regular basis seemingly on a quarterly basis.