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Should you get your VCP?

June 15, 2012

This is a question I get asked often.  Sometimes I get asked “Should I get it?”, sometimes I get asked “Do I need it?” and sometimes I get asked “How do I get it?”.

Here are my opinions…

Do I Need a VCP? – That’s an interesting question.  By asking this question I presume you actually already know VMware vSphere/ESXi and are working with it.  If this is the case my advise is it is a nice thing to have but you won’t learn anything you don’t already know (or cannot learn from some excellent books out there in the market).  However, I do see VCP stated as a MUST HAVE on a lot of contracts (though to be fair you can probably blag your way out of this requirement).  So the upshot is not having it may prevent you from getting some contracts (but not all).  Personally I think my investment in getting VCP has been worth it and it has given my career a bit of a boost…your own mileage on this will vary depending on where you are in your career.

Should I get a VCP? – If you are asking this question you probably don’t have much exposure to VMware.  The answer then is to think about what skill sets you currently have..if you are experienced/certified in Microsoft server products (Windows/Exchange etc etc) and are looking to broaden your skills a little then yes, I think it is worth it.  If you are a desktop support engineer my advise would be to get your Microsoft server certs (MCITP) first; I would also advise a Cisco CCNA if you can as your networking skills need to be up to scratch for VCP!

How do I get a VCP?  Unlike Microsoft/Cisco/Citrix and just about every vendor out there you HAVE to go on an officially accredited course to attain VCP certification.  Once you have completed the course you can take the exam and once passed, congratulations you are a VCP!  The bad news is the course can cost up to £2000 so it isn’t cheap.

My advice if you are interested…check out some of the great VMware books out there and set up a test lab (I will post some more on this later on); get hold of an eval copy of the software and give it a go..note there is lots of information out there on the Internet on doing this.  By following this advise you can get a feel for the product and whether you feel you could pass the VCP exam (it is not easy!) and this way you won’t be wasting a lot of money on a course for something you may not be interested in!

If you live in London you can check out these guys for a course..

http://www.fivee.co.uk/

I paid £1,200 for my VCP4 course which got me my original certification.  They are a cheap and cheerful outfit (don’t expect something like QED!) but they get the job done!  I did a course on Saturdays for something like 14 weeks, it was a long haul but I think it was worth it!

Warning!  A VCP is for life, not just for Christmas.  Once you have attained the certification you HAVE TO keep it up to date and the timeline for doing this is pretty short (when a new version of the product ships you have a few months to do the new version of the exam,  if you miss the deadline you have to pay for and take another course).

If you are thinking about taking your VCP I hope this has helped you in a small way and good luck in your studues!

Tip – if you have worked extensively with VMware and are wondering if you have what it takes to pass the exam there is nothing to stop you booking and taking it!  You just can’t call yourself VCP until you have taken an authorised course.  Why not schedule it with Pearson VUE (it isn’t available by Prometric) and give it a go!

Let me know about your experiences in attaining or trying to attain the VCP, I would love to hear them!

C

(VCP4, VCP5)

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