As you know I did the final part of the VCDX certification in San Francisco during the VMware Technical Services vSummit. I wanted to share my experience with you so you know what to expect to a certain degree and more importantly get the word out in general.
The last part of the VCDX certification is the defense. In short: you will need to write a design, fill out the application and defend your design during a two to three hour session.
Although I can describe it in 30 words it is not as simple as it may sound. First of all your design needs to meet specific requirements. I can’t go in to the details unfortunately but when you receive an invitation you will receive all the prerequisites. Like me, most of you done numerous designs, but keep in mind it needs to be in English and so will your defense need to be. This is an extra barrier for many of the non- native speakers; I know it was for me.
The defense part:
75 minutes – executive overview and an in-depth design defense
30 minutes – design workshop
15 minutes – problem analysis
For the first 15 minutes, the executive overview, you can use a couple of slides. Like I said it’s an executive overview and its only 15 minutes so don’t go into the technical details, there’s no need for that share your experience and maybe tell about political issues for instance. These 15 minutes gave me the opportunity to get rid of my nerves.
The in depth design defense is self-explanatory I think. Just be prepared to get questions on every single aspect of your design, know it inside out and not only “what” and “how”, but especially “why”.
Next two are role-play based. The panel is the customer and you are the architect. By asking questions, white boarding, discussions you will need to solve an issue or come to a specific solution for the customer. This is something you can not really prepare. Although you may think you will have more than enough time, you will not have time enough. Time flies when the pressure is on. Keep in mind that it’s not the end result that counts for these scenarios, it’s your thought process!
I’ve read comments on the written exams; some thought they were too easy. I can promise you this will not be easy this is not a test you can study for and pass if you crammed all the details. You will need specific soft skills and a wealth of knowledge.
Good luck and enjoy the ride,