New Year, New Certifications

Posted by James Tiffany on 11 Jan 2024

December is normally a quieter time at work with customers change freezes kicking in and I like to use this time to get in the training I don’t find time to do the rest of the year. We are extremely lucky at work and are allowed to take some exams as well and I use this time to either try to get some new ones or refresh those I might already have.

This year of course did not go to plan. With the changes that happen with a new owner and some customers migrations to the cloud December ended up being one of the busiest months of the year. It took some doing but I managed to squeeze some exams in, although taking exams so close to Christmas adds the extra stress of kids being at home and the worry of them bursting in during the exam asking for snacks :-)

Below are some thoughts on what I was able to cover during December and early January.

VMware Cloud Infrastructure Administrator (6V1-11.23) Beta

This was publicly available at a very low price so I thought I would give it a go. Work was so busy at the time I did not get time to even read the exam guide I just gave it a go. I cant say to much about it but it was certainly an eye opener. It felt like a combination of about three other exams but with some real wildcard questions thrown in that if you have not had experience with partner clouds the questions are very hard to answer. As of the time of writing I have not been notified of my result, but with the lack of preparation I am not overly confident.

This beta exam when it does become available, will be tied to the new VMware Certified – Cloud Infrastructure Administrator certification.

VMware Certified Specialist - vSAN 2023

So I have been in and around vSAN for 5 years now, working with VCF thats a no brainer. As most of the time I was designing or deploying VCF I did not have much experience of troubleshooting and some of the finer details of what the product can do. This being the first time of doing any training on the product I chose to take the VMware vSAN: Install, Configure, Manage [V8] – On Demand course and I cant recommend it enough. They say a lot of the time the trainer can make the course and that was certainly the case here. It was a very detailed course covering OSA and ESA, RAID differences, the whole lot. I learnt so much from this training on top of what I already know.

The exam was difficult but taking it straight after the training defiantly helped with it all being fresh in my head. If you get a chance the training and exam is something I would recommend.

VMware Certified Specialist - Cloud Foundation 2024

When this certification first came out it was my white whale. I had been working day in and day out on the product for three years and I was desperate to prove I knew what I was doing. But It was a double edged sword as what would happen if I failed? Did I know my stuff? So I was over the moon when I did pass and it was always good going to a new job having passed a certificate that had only just been released on a product that was only just getting mainstream traction.

Fast forward three years and to update the qualification I needed to attend the latest version of the course which in this case was VMware Cloud Foundation: Deploy, Configure, Manage [V5.0] - On Demand. Again this is a great course covering so much, so many products and the VCF construct as well. The great thing about the on demand courses is having access for 30 days but also being able to replay the parts you don’t understand or need to get right in your head. Yes this adds time to the already long course but i find it invaluable to make sure things stick. At my age it tends to be one thing in and another out so I have to make sure it sticks :-) At the end of the course you have an exam made up of multiple choice questions and you need to get a certain percentage to pass. You get a couple of goes at it and everything is covered in the course thoroughly so that helps. As I already had the cert, once completed it was updated to the new version without having to take the exam, which is great.

Next Steps

I have decided this year to space things out and not try to shoe horn them all in at the end of the year. It wont be easy with customer commitments and will defiantly have to include late nights and weekends to fit it in.

When I first started using VMware Cloud Foundation back in the 2.x days, it was only for Service Providers and had no training and certainly no certification. Even three years later, just before I joined VMware, they had only just released the Specialist certification and now with new owners and an emphasis on VCF, more and more certifications are being released.

The latest being VMware Certified Specialist - Cloud Foundation Deployment 2024 I am liking the format of the new exams, as it might just be me but I can see the conscious effort to move some of them away from knowing supported maximums, to questions that you will struggle to answer unless you have had real hands on time with the products. The description of the exam seems to cover everything from plan, deploy, manage, and operate and its the final bit I think that adds the extra part to the exams.

I am not sure when I will get round to this but I will post again with my experience.

Thanks for reading!