Update! VMware has removed the mandatory re-certification requirement from all current certifications! Read More about what this means here.
The concept of certification expiration is irksome to many in the IT industry. I remember when my MCSE timed out way back in the day – and later when I did the PMP i was very disheartened to learn after 2 years I could no longer put it down on my CV any more unless I logged 40 hours of volunteering to attend various lectures on Project Management.
Keeping up with certifications in the technology world can be a daunting task. Even with the best of intentions to stay up to date, the day job can get in the way. If your role changes, sometimes so does your focus on keeping up with your training. The next thing you know you are officially expired! Does this mean your past knowledge vanishes as well?
I suppose a more balanced view would be its always good to be contiously learning. Arent we all doing that though? Last week I signed up for the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.7] course through my employer. The is part of the Data Center Virtualization (DCV) track. There is only a current exam for certification for VCP 6.5 as the 6.7 course is not yet ready.
The course I joined was delivered online with an Instructor (ILT) and the class had about a dozen students. My old VCP certification was… well it was well expired at this stage! VCP 3 and 4 seems so long ago now. I was a little daunted joining a course thinking I might be out of place. The first day our instructor had everyone give a short intro and I was surprised to discover most people were in the same boat as me!
A few people had actually already passed the VCP 6.5 this year, but needed to attend the course in order to officially earn the VCP certification. It must be a challenge for any instructor, knowing that some students might lack the motivation to pay attention. I must say our instructor was excellent. If you ever get a chance to take a course led by Rita Thaker, do not hesitate! What I liked most was how she frequently used the whiteboard instead of the lecture slides. She has an excellent ability to explain a topic using a story and her pen and builds it up slowly over time. Many students commented that they preferred her drawings and were busily taking screen grabs for later study.
The course included two EBooks (Lecture and Lab manuals) delivered online through Evantage by Gilmore Global. You sign up for an account and can access the content on any device. The classes were hosted through the Adobe Connect platform, which allows the instructor to control the learning environment completely. Participation was encouraged but controlled, the mics were muted unless a hand was raised, and normally the chat window was where we interacted. This has a huge benefit in preventing the classroom Know-It-All or that one painful student that disrupts every lesson with an off-topic question/rant/story (there is ALWAYS one!).
Since my VCP was well and truly out of date, I needed to do a bit more to get back on track. I needed to attend the course, complete the course eval (to get course credit) and then I need to pass the vSphere 6.5 Foundations exam before I can finally try for the VMware Certified Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (VCP 6.5 DCV ) .
I know a few people have expressed their annoyance with certification expiration and dismissed the trend as a money racket, but to be fair the VMware training is really top notch and in my case I really did need to dust off the brain cells and get back into it. Hopefully I will get a chance to take the exam in December (this year) and then I will hopefully do better at renewing within the 2 year time-frame, as you only need to pass the latest exam at that point.
Some of the helpful links and content for the VCP DCV track: