How a certification changed my life

Around this time last year I believe there was a question either on this community or on the VMware forums about how the VCAP program certifications are received in the work place and if they are worth it.

Seeing as my blog portion of my website is still under construction to add new sections like my blog, and the new DCD6 simulator.  I really have no better place to post this then vMusketeers.

How a certification changed my life:

The last year and half has been a whirl wind to say the least, I guess going on 2 years now.  Two springs ago around May I decided to start my VCDX track and achieve my DCA.  After a few months of studying I successfully passed my DCA and moved quickly on to the DCD track.

After a few months of studying and preparing for the DCD I decided to challenge it at VMware world 2014 in San Francisco.  Now my first attempt I just missed by a few marks with a score of 282, however this failure lead me down a path I never could of imagined.

After the sting of defeat washed off I quickly went back to my studies and started creating a new study pack for myself and others to help pass the DCD.  This is where the simulator started.  I had used Joshua’s Andrews DCA lab / simulation with my DCA and found it a priceless source of study material when prepping for the DCA.  I wanted to create something similar for the DCD while creating additional study materials to help myself and others pass this exam.

In doing so I learned a lot and managed to pass DCD on the 3rd attempt.  (To make a long story short I missed the 2nd attempt on 5.1 with a 292 score :P)  However through my studies and evangelist efforts with the simulator I was offered a chance to do some contract work for VMware on the education team which I jumped in full force with.

Fast forward almost a year after my successful DCD I have continued my mission to help others pass the DCD while striving towards my VCDX with my partner Shady which I met through this community.  I am happy to announce that I have successfully passed my VCDX 🙂 with my VCDX number being 206!  I can’t express in words the gratitude and respect I have for Shady.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner and if it was not for him I don’t know if things would of turned out the same way.  Thanks again buddy! Your one of the most professional hard working people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
Getting back on topic looking back at it, I never would have imagined where the VCAP program would take me in a year and half.   Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought things would turn into what they have.  The amount of growth I have had throughout the program and the learning experience can’t be measured with arbitrary things that we are so typically distracted with.  The experience has been a lot of hard work but overall has been a priceless experience.  I owe a lot to VMware for both my career and personal growth over the years and I fully support and encourage you to test yourself and put yourself in uncomfortable challenges which will force you to grow.

In conclusion to answer the question that was once asked:  Is the advanced certifications worth it as they might not have the press that some of the other world certifications have yet.  The answer is YES, 110%.  Yes the certification’s will help you grow professionally and could lead to raises, promotions, or job offers, but the personal growth, experiences, and information learned along the journey goes much further, it will make you a better IT professional and help grow a skill set that will follow you no matter where your travels may take you.

So I encourage you to put yourself out there and challenge yourself.  Do not fear the failure screen, as it is in failure where we learn some of the best lessons.  You will either win or learn something as there is no loosing when it comes to self-improvement.

Stay sharp, stay happy, and stay studying 🙂

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