Virtualization Pro

Jan 8 2009   7:25PM GMT

The 9-year-old VCP?



Posted by: Eric Siebert
Tags:
Eric Siebert
VCP
VMware

In a recent blog post in response to my Open letter to VMware post that mentioned relaxing the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification, someone brought up the fact that a 9 year old was able to pass the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam and became a MCP. The blogger was arguing that the $3,000 cost of a VCP course, which is required to take the VCP exam, makes the certification more valuable (and deters 9 year olds from earning professional certifications).

I think some people are missing my point on why VMware should drop the requirement to take a class in order to take the VCP test, so let me explain.

My request was for VMware to drop this requirement as it discriminates against qualified people from taking the test unless they take VMware’s revenue-generating course. In my opinion, all that this class does is help those that are new to using VMware Infrastructure 3 get started with the product. The course may be good for that purpose, but taking a class does not necessarily mean a person is qualified to become a VMware Certified Professional.

If said 9 year old had rich parents, took the class and then took the test right after and passed it, would you want them working in your data center?

I don’t agree with those that argue that taking the class is vital to ensuring the integrity of the VCP. In my book, experience tops classroom learning; what you’ve done is more important than what you know.

I would prefer working with someone who has had years of experience working with VMware and was not a VCP rather then someone who has very limited experience and took a one week class and passed a test. Knowledge comes from experience, not vice-versa. Experienced veterans should not need to take a class to become certified. I’m all for having qualified professionals with VCP certifications, but there are other ways to do it rather than requiring that someone taking a class.

For those who are more then qualified to take the test: While $3,000 may not be a lot of money for some, it’s a waste of money if the person taking the class is not really going to gain anything from it. Also, in these times many companies are forced to cut their training budgets. Is it fair that someone who has worked hard and learned by methods other than a VCP class is excluded from becoming a VCP?

VMware: let me modify my request, drop the class requirement and make the test tough enough so only knowledgeable and experienced people can pass it. Doing this should help those that cannot afford to take your class and ensure that the integrity of the certification remains intact.

9  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Texmansru47
    At least allow us to take the test without requiring the class unless the test is not passed. Then I can see requiring the course.
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  • Sbeaver
    The real issue with that, from my understanding when I campaigned for this before I was able to take the class, was then how do you measure someone’s ability? I think that would be the question that VMware would want answer next.
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  • TheVMguy
    Eric, "VMware’s revenue-generating course"? Who pays for the materials, trainers, setup labs, etc? I can bet that VMware''s training revenue is not their largest source of income, if any at all. I understand your point about someone who knows the materials paying to take a basic class. For those people I suggest the Deploy Secure and Analyze (http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www&a=one&id_subject=3042)? That is a much more advanced class and you only need to take one of the two to take the exam. The prereqs state:"Completion of VMware Infrastructure 3: Install and Configure or equivalent experience with VMware Infrastructure 3." I've seen experienced admins like yourself who tell me that they get something out of that class. -Dave
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  • Eric Siebert
    @Ed - good idea @Steve - If they made the test challenging enough only people with ability could pass it. There are some things that you can only learn in the real-world hands-on environments. How about a dynamic test that is different for anyone that takes it with the questions coming from a large pool so each person would get different tests. Also maybe a interactive test with some hands on like the labs at VMworld. @Dave - I know it's not a big revenue generator but it's still a money maker for VMware. How about charging more to take the test if you have not taken the class, charge $350 instead of $175. I don't doubt an experienced admin could get something out of the class but definitely not $3,000 worth.
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  • Jsehlms
    I couldn't disagree more. If that 9 year old was able to take the class and pass the test, then said 9 year old is a genius and depending on child labor laws, I'd hire him. Now if it's someone who graduated from at least high school who took the course and passed the test, obviously they're motivated enough to have some sort of goals. Would I hire them? Maybe. It depends on the other accomplishments they have. Yes more companies are cutting back on their training budgets, but if you're looking to find another job and a $3k class is standing between you and jumping up $10k or more in salary, don't you think it's a good investment to take that course and pay for it on your own so you can get that other new job and make more money? Why does a company have to pay for an employee to get certified? Sure, if their line of work is virtualization, they should have a VCP. If the company feels a VCP is a necessity for that position then by all means they should pay for it, but if you're the one looking for that advancement to further your career, part of that responsibility of continuing education and certifications lies on you the responsible adult. You're argument for dropping the test requirement was valid 2 years ago when they only offered the one course, but you can take the advanced course and actually get something out of it. If you can't get anything out of either courses, then you've obviously been around the block and know your stuff and you need to make a decision. If the VCP is that valuable for you, the $3k to sleep through the class will be worth it to you. When I took the class I had already worked with ESX for about a year, so the class was boring and I didn't get much if anything out of it. Was it a waste? No. it was the stepping stone in my career to get the VCP. Would I rather have taken the advanced class? Absolutely, but it wasn't offered at that time. 'For those people who are more then qualified to take the test: while $3K may not be a lot of money for some it certainly is a waste of money if they are not really going to gain anything from the class' If obtaining the VCP is your goal, then I wouldn't see how taking a class to get you to that goal is a waste of money. If you're into virtualization, you've probably spent quite a bit of money on machines capable of running ESX. Cut back on that spending and come up with the $3k. Again, once you get the certification, it opens more doors in your career path; that alone is worth the $3k of the class. Also, did we not take the same test? I'm pretty sure the exam I took had questions which came from a large pool of questions; many I had not seen in any 'study guides' or online posts.
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  • Jsehlms
    Also, regarding companies cutting back on training.. The company may be cutting back across the board, but if departmentally, having certified employees is important; you as a budget maker will find places to squeeze out that extra money to allow your employees that opportunity. Jason
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  • Eric Siebert
    I still disagree, If I'm qualified to take the test and pass it I should be able to. Why is having certified employees so important? If I don't work for a consulting company then having certified IT employees adds little value to the company. My employer is sure not going to give me any more money just because I have a piece of paper saying I'm certified at doing my job. I might get a pat on the back and a congrats but thats about it. And no I haven't spent any money on machines to play with virtualization, I make do with what is available at my job. I can think of much better ways to spend 3K then on a class that I will get very little out of.
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  • Jsehlms
    And that's the point. You will get very little out of having the VCP, so why are you complaining about the cost of the class? You're employer won't give you a raise if you get certified. OK. Again, it's not worth it in your current situation. Don't worry about it then. From what it sounds like getting the VCP isn't for your career, rather for your self esteem/pride. And if it is, that's great, but is it worth spending $3k to boost your pride? That's up to you. Having the associated cost with the VCP makes it that much more 'difficult' to obtain. Not everyone will want to put up the $3k for the class. Are you just as qualified as someone who is certified? Absoutly and probably more qualified. But they decided taking that $3k class was worth the money and effort. Does that mean you don't deserve a job in virtualization? No, but it also means you could get overlooked in a job interview if you don't have that VCP on your resume. Again, it's up to you. Some organizations may feel certifications are worth their weight in gold, some could care less. If you want to work for one that relies on certifications, you better have that paper in your back pocket. If not, then prove to them you have the same skillset as someone who has that certification. As I see it, that $3k (for me), was well worth it. I can now put that on my resume and back it up with my skills. To each their own.
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  • Eric Siebert
    I agree that the industry puts way too much value into having certifications, some people collect them like merit badges and unfortunately many employers look for them when hiring people. I'd like to think my resume speaks for itself and having accomplishments like writing a book being just as valuable as being certified. If I was to look for another job having a VCP certification would be desirable as it opens more doors. As you said to each their own, certifications are good to have if you can afford them and are in a position where they would benefit you, your job and your career growth. Thanks for the counterpoints.
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