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VMware Reorganizes Certification Program

August 28, 2012

The first full day of VMworld 2012 in San Francisco is over and we’re all digesting the news and information that came out throughout the day, starting with the keynote this morning.  Perhaps the most exciting thing for us in the education and training ecosystem was the changes to the VMware certification program. Most of  our VMware students plan to become VMware-certified. I’ve introduced the certification program and some of the specific certifications in previous posts. In this post, I’ll summarize the new certs and explain the rationale behind the major realignment that VMware announced today.

Form No Longer Follows Function

Up until today, VMware certifications essentially mapped to products. If you worked with vSphere, you obtained your VCP5, followed by one or both of the VCAPs (either Datacenter Administrator or Datacenter Designer). And if you wanted to go all the way, you had the option of attempting the VCDX panel-based defense. Likewise, if you worked with View, you could get your VCP5-DT. And for cloud administrators, VMware came out with the VCP-IaaS certification.

In other words, the certifications mapped to the products that you used, but that’s not really how IT departments are organized. As an IT staff member, you typically work in a specific area such as infrastructure, desktop or cloud. So VMware has expanded the certification program to directly map the certifications to four distinct virtualization-related areas of expertise:

  • Datacenter Virtualization – vSphere and the infrastructure
  • End-User Computing – Desktop and VMware View
  • Cloud – vCloud Director and all of the components in the vCD suite
  • Cloud Application Platform – Spring, web application developers, and so on

What’s Your Role?

Subject area is only part of the realignment equation, however. IT projects typically consist of three phases: Design –> Build –> Run. You can map specific job roles to these three phases: Architect –> Engineer –> Administrator. As before, your particular job role, and your level of experience, dictate how high up the certification stack ,within your subject area, you need to go:

  • VCP – The professional level, intended for administrators
  • VCAP – The advanced level, intended for engineers and advanced administrators
  • VCDX – The expert level, intended for architects

However, rather than the piecemeal availability of certs that we’ve had so far, VMware has expanded the certification program to include all three certification levels, in all four subject areas. Not all of the certifications are available as of today, but they’re all on the roadmap, and it’s now consistent and easily understandable.

Here is a VMware-provided diagram that encapsulates the new certification structure:

Notice there’s some overlap between engineer and administrator, and also that there’s a governance category that we haven’t mentioned. The governance category and the corresponding certifications are still in development, so we’ll hear more about those later. Notice also that not all of the certifications are available today. VMware announced three new certification exams that are available immediately (they’re shown in yellow in the graphic):

The other new certifications are coming soon, but it’s never too soon to start planning your own personal certification roadmap. Click on the links above to see which VMware authorized training classes we recommend that you take to help you prepare for the specified certification exam.

In subsequent posts, after VMWorld is over, I’ll go into more detail about the new certifications, so check back soon. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one other incredibly useful VMware resource, the VMware Learning Paths website:

This new resource, which also went live today, is a clickable interface that you can use to explore the different learning paths, based on your job role. Remember, VMware certifications now map to job role, so the site above is a great place to start your planning. Then be sure to book your VMware training with Fast Lane once you know the track and level that makes the most sense for you and for your career.

If you’re at VMworld right now, be sure also to stop by our booth (2514, on the right side of the exhibit floor) to say hi and for a chance to win a free Apple TV. See you there!


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