Navigating the VMware certification path
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At VMworld 2013, VMware announced a new certification track: the VMware Certified Associate, which is an entry-level certification that allows virtualization professionals to prove their basic understanding of VMware technology.
There are VCA certification exams for four product areas: Cloud, Data Center Virtualization, End-User Computing and Network Virtualization. (The last exam had not yet been released as of the publication date of this article.)
Don't take the VCA exam if you're looking for a certification to prove your technical skills; VMware Certified Professional (VCP) is the only useful certificate for that. But if you want show your aptitude for implementing the right VMware technology, VCA is just the certificate you need.
What the VCA exam emphasizes
The goal of the VCA program is to provide an entry-level certification that candidates can use to prove they understand some of the basic concepts of VMware technologies. For someone who already holds a VCP certificate, it is very simple to obtain.
The VCA exams don't focus on configuration but, rather, on understanding which technology to use in certain cases. Because of its nontechnical nature, the certification would be of interest for target audiences, such as a salesperson, the head of an IT department and others who just need to understand various VMware technologies.
Where to take the VCA exam
On various sites, such as mylearn.vmware.com, the VCA courses are free, after which a moderately priced exam can be scheduled.
The duration of each VCA course is 2.5 hours, and attending a course is not mandatory. The exam itself has 50 multiple-choice questions that need to be completed in 75 minutes.
After requesting an authorization for the exam, the candidate is invited to schedule the exam from the Vue/Pearson website.
To enroll for the exam, you need to get authorization from VMware by filling out a form. Next, go to the pearsonvue.com website to schedule the exam you want. After filling in the credit card details, you can start the exam.
Taking the exam
I took the VCA Data Center Virtualization exam. Most questions were about which technology to use in which situation.
For a consultant who works with VMware technologies on a daily basis, it shouldn't be hard to provide the correct answers, though in some cases, the answer is not obvious. This makes the exam easy, but not so easy that the certificate has no real value.
The exam is taken online on your own computer, so you can look up the right answers in case you're not sure. The time allocated for the exam is long enough to give you time to check your answers.
After completing the exam, the results are displayed. If you fail, no details are given on which topics you've failed.