IT is a fast moving industry, and the current shift to cloud computing is accelerating the rate of change. With the forthcoming release of the vSphere5 VCAP exams (VCAP5-DCA and the VCAP5-DCD) I’ve been planning to study my socks off to get both exams under my belt. I’m sure I’m not alone in struggling to make study time, particularly as my day job doesn’t tend to cover all of the material either because we’re only Enterprise level licensing or because we don’t use all the features. On top of that I’d like to update my VCAP-DCA study guide which will consume a significant chunk of time.
This serious case of study contention has made me revisit my priorities. The VMware ecosystem has evolved considerably over the last few years and there’s considerable buzz around VMware View and vCloud Director (not to mention the whole Cloud Foundry and vFabric ecosystem). Maybe these would be better areas to focus on? As John Troyer said about certifications “You don’t have to collect them all!” but it does make me wonder – which VMware certs are most likely to benefit career progression?
VCP or VCAP?
First some facts. The VMware platform which evolved into vSphere was launched in 2001, the first VCP exam was available in June 2003 (@susangude is VCP#1), and the first VCAP exams were launched seven years later in August 2010. Nine years on and the statistics are well known – around 60,000 VCPs worldwide and approximately 600 certified in each of the two VCAP tracks (so 50 VCPs for every VCAP!).
Categories: VCAP, Virtualisation, VMware certification, desktop virtualisation, VCAP, VCAP-DCA, VCAP-DCD, vcdx, vcp-dt, vExpert, vsphere5
I’m chuffed to say VMware have awarded me vExpert status for 2012 (although it’s for my contribution to the virtualization community in 2011). In a similar fashion to Microsoft’s MVP this is awarded to people who have helped the VMware community through forums, blogs, conferences, podcasts etc but is NOT a certification based on technical ability. This is where VMware’s program differs from the MVP which also counts significant technical expertise as part of the selection criteria. I was included in the Evangelist path as a blogger and yes I know there’s an official vExpert logo but this one suits my mood better right now. I’m a vExperienced vExpert!
When I started my blog nearly two years ago I expected to be an occasional poster as I’m more of a lurker by nature but I’ve found it to be an addictive pastime.There are 436 vExpert’s worldwide this year (compared to over 4000 MVPs) and the vExpert directory (not yet updated for 2012) includes a brief description of everyone and their background.
I find that having someone say ‘thanks’, which is what I consider the vExpert to be, is disproportionately rewarding. I put a lot of effort into my certification last year (VCAP, RHCSA etc) but value the vExpert recognition more highly. I hope it rounds out my CV – when graduating from college employers were looking for ‘value added’ activities – team sports, running a club etc and this is how I view the vExpert.
One potential downside to the vExpert award could be perception – I suspect it’s all too easy for people to perceive vExpert’s as VMware ‘fanboi”s who simply tow the corporate line and are not objective about the technology. We’ve all encountered the open source zealot and the Apple enthusiast and it’s tempting to ignore advice for fear it’s one sided. It’s important to realise that the vExpert is a two way street between ourselves and VMware – let’s hope we do our job as Geek Herders!
So if this award is for last year, what will I do this coming year? I’m glad you asked! I’m planning to continue and hopefully increase my participation in the virtualization community;
- Regular blogposts on www.vExperienced.co.uk
- Update my VCAP-DCA guide to cover v5 of the exam
- Attend and report from VMworld Europe in Barcelona
- Attend vBeers and VMUG groups
- Contribute to online forums (the VMTN communities) and social networks – mainly Twitter (and Google+ if I can work out its value!)
- I’m planning to cover vSphere Orchestrator, vCloud Director and maybe some Hyper-V action later in the year along with the usual smattering of Netapp and alternative storage technologies.
If there’s anything you’d like me to cover, get in touch!
Firstly, this is not about the 1% associated with the Occupy WallSt campaign! As widely reported on Twitter and the blogosphere the 2012 vExpert program is up and running – I won’t go into the changes this year as there is plenty of coverage for that. In VMware’s own words;
The annual VMware vExpert title is given to individuals who have significantly contributed to the community of VMware users over the past year. The title is awarded to individuals (not employers) for their commitment to sharing their knowledge and passion for VMware technology above and beyond their job requirements.
Sounds great, let’s fill in that application form right? Before you apply have you ever paused to consider what is it you’re actually doing, and for whom? In an interesting article about ‘going social’ posted just a few weeks ago Dr Michael Hu talked about six myths companies believe are associated with a social strategy, one of which is the need to reach every customer to be effective. He refutes this, stating;
Instead, you need to discover the small number of “superfans” who want deeper engagement and then harness their enthusiasm to manage and strengthen other customer relationships on behalf of the brand. That’s the real power of community – you tend to the 1% who tend the other 99%.
That describes the vExpert in a nutshell - you are the 1%!
You could see this through cynical eyes as VMware using the community for their own benefit but like many of my peers I’ve been working in IT for well over a decade and virtualisation is the first time I’ve found a community that really benefits everyone involved. Maybe it’s the advent of social networking, maybe it’s the convergence of the various technologies or maybe it’s the time and effort expended by VMware (and geek herder extraordinaire @jtroyer) but for some reason it works where it never did before. I enjoy being part of the VMware community and I know it adds value for me (and therefore my employer) and many other people. While the 1% add great value on VMware’s behalf they also benefit greatly from the experience themselves. Just bear in mind that much as we’d all like VMware’s recognition, VMware need us too!
I’m already vExperienced and I’d love to be a vExpert. Fingers crossed!
ps. Apologies to Alex Maier who now runs the vExpert program – I’d already made up my ‘poster’ before I knew!
After being asked why I blog by a co-worker I’ve been thinking about what motivates me to blog. An inspirational blogpost by Mark Pollard on how to get into strategy identifies some traits which strike me as equally applicable to blogging;
- Curiosity. This is partly why I got into blogging as the techie in me wanted to know how it worked, which technologies were involved, what was that plugin that other bloggers were referring to? It’s the same instinct that makes good engineers – they want to know how something works so they take it apart!
- Action. Like most technologies the only way to really understand it is to get stuck in and do it. Until I started my blog I wasn’t sure what I’d blog about but I quickly found myself thinking ‘that might be interesting to others’ during my working day and I started turning thoughts into blogposts. I agree wholeheartedly with Seth Godin’s view that the process of distilling your thoughts into something readable for others is a very valuable process, and reason enough to blog – even if nobody reads it. Read more…