VCAP-DCA and my impressions

I was given an opportunity to sit for the Beta VMware Certified Advanced Professional Data Center Administrator exam, also known as the VCAP-DCA.  The VCAP program, which I posted about earlier, is meant to add an intermediate level to the overall VMware certification program.  Having the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) as the entry-level, the VCAP being intermediate with two certifications, the Data Center Administrator and Data Center Design, and with the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) being at the top.

I will say that the test did not disappoint, in terms of difficulty, or depth of knowledge required.  The exam blueprint is quite an interesting read, and will definitely stretch the limits of your administration skills.  With skills varying into several complementing products, which aren’t the normal bread and butter of typical VMware administrators.  It was definitely an “advanced” certification.  If you haven’t played with vCenter HeartBeat, or vShield Zones, or Orchestrator, I suggest you check them out now, if you are even considering the exam when it is finally release.

The closest I can compare this exam was to the Red Hat Certified Engineer exam I’ve sat for and passed.  It was 100% lab, and no multiple guess questions to play with.  This type of test leaves very little to the “exam cram” methodology which are used for other tests.  You either know it and know how to do it, or you don’t.  While I was impressed with the exam itself, I was not so much with the exam environment.  As posted by others who have taken this exam, Jason Boche, William Lam, Chris Dearden, there were numerous problems with the environment.  Problems with artifacts, refresh issues, added to the “new test smell”, caused me much frustration.  Being a “new test”, as I was told, it was over half an hour before I could even actually start due to problems with the equipment the exam was running on, even though I had officially started already.  I was asked to click on a button that wasn’t a button.  The “if I click it, it will work” did not work so well, and the clock continued to tick down.  Not a fun feeling.

I had to ultimately skip certain items, due to slowness among other things, and ended up not completing every part.  I suppose the “beta” part of this exam covers these type of initial issues, and I’m hoping these issues are resolved when the exam goes live.  Hopefully I won’t have to experience it again, but I’m not really sure how I did at the moment.

My advice, same as some of the others, make sure you are able to work through each objective posted in the blueprint.  Cramming will not work, and you need to know what you are doing.  The blueprint is a good start, yes, a “start”, but you need to know the technology around the objective, and how to apply it.  Download the products, and make sure you understand what they do, along with how they do it.


5 comments for “VCAP-DCA and my impressions

  1. June 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Good summary. Similar to my experience.

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