The VMware Certified Professional is a well-known metric of the technology industry. That being recognized, I want it. There are some specific reasons that make right now the time to bust out the exam, and Sean Thulin outlined them well on his blog:
With the recent announcement of the VCP5, the time to take the VCP4 is running out. On top of that, VMware is currently running a promotion that allows for a free retake if you schedule and take the exam in the month of July (promo codes “VCPTAKE1″ and “VCPTAKE2″). This renewed sense of urgency has motivated me to get my certification now. I took the required course back in in December, but without having a home lab until a few months ago, I barely had any exposure to VMware products. By taking the VCP4, I will be eligible to take the VCP5 without having to take a training course as long as I complete the exam by February of 2012.
My day-to-day exposure to VMware is minimal in EMC’s USD Architecture team, but past experience told me that my veracious studying will do the trick. So why not? I signed up with just a couple weeks to study.
Not so. Veracity had nothing to do with it.
You could literally hear the thud of disappointment when I saw my final score. Technical documents were read, great books digested, flashcards were made – what went wrong? It is at this point that I find a conclusion to share: the VCP exam is more about experience than brute force studying. Right now I can list out partition sizes and feature summaries, but I have done close to nothing when it comes to managing a multifeature, highly available vCenter infrastructure.
In a humbling way, I’m glad I just failed the test. (1) It confirms that VMware takes the quality of their certification seriously – it’s not just a numbers game that any schmuck (read here: me) can study up for and add to the resume. (2) It pushes me to keep finding ways to get real-world VMware experience in my day-to-day life.
There is one thing I can do differently today and another I can hope to get going tomorrow. Today I need to give myself a break – go for a run, get a good night sleep, accept that all the quotes are true: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Or as Aldous Huxley said so well, “rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”
Tomorrow, I can prepare myself better for the next take. Find VMware-related questions within my organization and offer to solve them. Less talk and more action should be done on spec-ing out a home lab. I want to take all the different approaches that will get my hands dirty, not just my brain packed with numbers.
The goal is clear. Everything in my mind is saying it: next time the VCP certification is mine.