VCAP exams on vSphere 5 – worth waiting for?

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At the London VMUG yesterday there was a presentation about VMware certification by Scott Vessey, a well known VMware trainer (@vmtraining or After his presentation one question raised was whether it’s worth taking the vSphere 4 track or maybe delaying a while and jumping straight to the upcoming vSphere 5 track. Scott said this was a common question so I thought I’d add my thoughts on why I wouldn’t wait;

  • vSphere 5 (as it’s commonly known but not it’s final name) is slated for release around July/August this year (according to this article from the recent VMware Partner Exchange).ย  Even assuming they hit this deadline that means waiting another six months. Once the next version is released it’ll take a while for the exams to be updated, especially in the case of the VCAP-DCA track which requires live labs. vSphere 4 was released in May 2009 but the VCP exams took another 3 months to be released after that. Allowing a bit longer for the VCAP tracks, let’s say 4 months. That makes it a ten month wait from today.
  • Are you prepared to take the exams without help or study guides from the blogosphere, Twitter, and the experience of those who’ve gone before? If you know your stuff and are happy to be among the first then you’ve probably already taken the VCAP exams so waiting isn’t an option! If you find other’s experiences and suggestions helpful then you’re talking an extra three to six months for that to filter down.
  • If you’re not on the vSphere 5 beta you can’t start learning the new features until July/August at the earliest, compared to vSphere 4 which is available today, is widely adopted and documented.
  • Traction/demand from employers. This argument depends on why you ‘re after certification – if it’s to progress your career then bear in mind that while recruiters will add any new certification to their wanted (or mandatory) list almost immediately it takes longer for the value of a given certification to be respected (or not) in the marketplace. Back in the day the Microsoft MCSE had a good reputation to start with which quickly became tarnished. The RHCE took a few years to establish itself as a tough certification worth asking for and the VCAP-DCA may be the same. If you’re doing it for the technical challenge then this is obviously irrelevant.
  • How different will the VCAP-DCA on vSphere 5 really be? I know of many IT pros who skipped the MCSE 2003 track because if you already had the MCSE2000 that was fine – having the 2003 wasn’t really going to open up new jobs to you. You could wait for the VCAP-DCA on vSphere 5 to find that the two are treated interchangeably in the market and you simply waited longer to qualify.

For all these reasons I’m not going to wait. Whether I actually find time to take the exams before they release v5 is another question but my intention is clear!

There are plenty of people planning on taking the VCAP exams – what do you all think?

4 thoughts on “VCAP exams on vSphere 5 – worth waiting for?

  1. Hi Ed, I am in complete agreement with you – if I’d have had an extra 10 minutes yesterday we would have had a discussion very much like that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the mention and links too, you’ve made me feel more guilty for not including your site in the presentation! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. I think it really depends on what you focus on. If your main strengths lie with VMware virtualisation and you do this day and daily then you should absolutely sit this exam asap, 10 months is like a lifetime in this industry.

    If you’re like me and work for an integrator who does VCE technologies then you need to balance your available time to do the certifications most relevant to you. I really want to do this exam asap but I have been working my way through other exams I agreed to complete for my company to ensure we meet certain partner levels. This is probably another reason to sit the VCAP exams asap though, I believe you need it for VMware partner accreditation.

  3. Ed, I’m with your opinion that if you are thinking about going for it now is as good of a time as any. The how will still be roughly the same, there just may be some more things to configure. It takes VMware a long time to get things released to ‘production’ like the VCAP exam so it will be quite a while, and likely more then a year from now, IMO.

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