The VCAP5-DCA exam is a tough nut to crack and will probably consume quite a bit of your time in study and practice (unless you’re a VMware PSO in which case you probably do this stuff all day every day!). Before you get stuck into the blueprint objectives there are some things you should do to prepare;
- Get access to a lab. There are numerous options;
- Build your own whitebox lab at home
- Use spare equipment at your work.
- Rent VCAP-DCA specific lab space on a weekly basis. There are a few of these popping up although I’ve not tried them myself – Optism Training, YourLabTime. You get enterprise grade equipment but at £120p/w upwards a home lab might be the more affordable option….
- Once you’ve got your lab, have a look at AutoLab by @demitassenz. It helps you quickly build a base lab.
- Download the official vSphere5 documentation (there’s a link at the bottom of the page to download a .ZIP of all docs combined). I’d recommend using the Xtravirt documentation downloader as it simplifies the process. Make sure you have the docs to hand as you’ll want to refer to them often.
- Gather additional study materials. This will depend on your budget but I’d recommend;
- Plan your study time. There are 26 objectives so work out how much time you have until you want to sit the exam and work backwards. Be aware of your strengths – some sections you’ll cruise through while you may need to spend longer on the topics you’re less familiar with.
- Book the exam (through Pearson Vue). This may not work for everyone but many people work better with a deadline to adhere to. You can always move the booking provided you do so at least 24 hours before the day. Pick a date which gives you a suitable time to prepare.
- Get involved in social media – the VMTN community forums, Twitter, read and comment on blogs etc. As you’ll see from my study notes a good chunk of the material comes from these sources and having people to answer questions is one of the best ways to confirm your understanding.
Now dive into your studies and good luck!