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Making Sense of VMware Certification: What You Need to Know Now


As with any IT certification, VMware certifications are an important part of moving forward with your career and reaching your full earning potential. However, some recent changes to the VMware certification program have made the process of selecting a certification and determining what you need to do in order to keep your certifications up-to-date slightly more challenging.

While it's best to confirm the details for your individual situation directly with VMware before you select a path and invest time and money into a program of study, here are some important things you should know before you embark on a certification path.

Upgrading an Existing Certification

In the past, once you earned a VMWare certification, that certification was valid for life, and there was no need to re-certify or upgrade your certifications. However, as of 2013, all VMWare certified professionals (VCP) are required to recertify every two years. There are three ways to accomplish this:

  • Upgrading your current certification. The most current VMware certification is Version 6; however, there are still some Version 5 and 5.5 credentials that are still viable.
  • Earning a new certification in a different solution track. The tracks available in Version 6 include cloud management and automation, data center virtualization, desktop and mobility, and network virtualization.
  • Upgrading your certification level, and moving from the VCP level to the VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP) or VMware Certified Implementation Expert (VCIX) certification.

Regardless of the path you choose, it's important that you meet the requirements well before your certification expires. There is no grace period for expired certification, and should time run out, you could be putting your employer into a tough spot. You will no longer have access to the VCP portal, and you could be putting your employer out of compliance if there are not enough VCP professionals on staff. Therefore, it's important to remain on top of your certification deadlines and make sure that you re-certify when it's time to do so.

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Earning a New Certification

If you do not yet hold a VMware certification, you have to make a few important decisions. While in the past, the VCP option was the only certification option, and only required completing a class and passing an exam, now there are several more types of certification to choose from, including specializations and advanced credentials. Under the new pathway, you still need to complete a VMware course and take the exam, but as previously mentioned, you will have to recertify every other year and you can choose from a number of specializations.

The most current version of VMware certification is Version 6. Again, the specialization tracks include cloud management and automation, data center virtualization, desktop and mobility, and network virtualization. Within those specializations, you can progress through five levels of certification:  VMware Certified Associate (VCA), VMware Certified Professional (VCP), VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP), VMware Certified Implementation Expert (VCIX), and VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX.)

To earn the VCA level certification, you only need to pass an exam, while the VCP and VCAP levels require completion of both courses (VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage; VMware vSphere: Fast Track and VMware vSphere: Troubleshooting) and an exam, which is designed for those who work within vSphere and covers general information about VMware.

As you work your way through the VMware certifications, the requirements become more stringent and challenging. That being said, if you plan to work within the realm of VMware at all, VCP is a requirement, not only because it's the foundation for other certifications, but also because it indicates that you have the basic skills and knowledge necessary to work within vSphere. This includes anyone in any position related to vSphere, including administrators, technicians, sales staff, and support personnel.

However, to really stand out among candidates with VMware certifications - and to earn a high salary -- seeking the higher levels of certification is vital. Earning both VCAP certifications is a prerequisite to earning the VCDX credential, the highest level possible, but even if you don't go that far, it's still impressive to have both VCAP certifications and shows that you are a true VMware expert. To earn the VCDX, in addition to earning all of the lower level certifications, you must create a VMware project to be evaluated by industry experts. As you move toward that level, though, each successive certification will create more opportunities and allow you to improve upon your skills.

The VMware certification process is, like all certification programs, in a constant state of flux. However, with the commitment and understanding of the process, you can ensure that you earn the right credentials and keep them up to date to benefit both your career and your employer.  

Published Wednesday, August 31, 2016 6:31 AM by David Marshall
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