My VCAP-DCD Experience at #VMworld–Take #1

I’m studying for VCAP-DCD (VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Datacenter Design) en route to hopefully achieving VCDX (VMware Certified Design Expert). The DCD exam is the final pre-requisite step for application and submission into the VCDX process. That is a personal goal of mine I plan to achieve next year.

I did the DCD exam last Wednesday at VMworld in Barcelona, but I wasn’t actually planning on taking the exam for another 4 weeks or so. Due to the very generous 75% off the exam price, if taken at VMworld, I decided to try it there.This makes a big difference – from over €370 to less than €100.

Unfortunately I came up just short with 255 and needed 300 to pass.

I felt I knew exactly what I had left to do (from gut feeling) to pass the exam. Guess What – Due to nocturnal activities  at VMworld – parties, get together’s and other – I didn’t have the chance to “brush up” on areas I knew would be important. I knew this would be the case i.e. that the conference would be a haze, and assumed that were I to fail, I could use the experience to understand the exam environment and pass later.

When it gets closer though the feeling of unease about NOT passing started to kick in. That little gut feeling was calling out. Normally when you’re very well prepped, you’re nervous, but not uneasy. After all, nobody wants to fail when taking on ANY challenge.

There’s no harm done but I learned a valuable lesson. When you have a plan – stick to it !. Saving a couple of hundred bucks and generating some bad feeling about an experience is not worth it.

On the exam itself – yes it is insane the amount you have to do. I expected a much more “business” focused exam but it in fact tests how deep your vSphere technical knowledge goes, much more so IMO than the DCA which I passed a while back.

And it finds your weaknesses in areas where you just fall a bit short.

On the environment itself, the bug where you cannot go back to previous questions was supposed to be fixed, but it wasn’t – I couldn’t go back. It only affected me in terms of the larger design activities – it would have been great to review one design question in particular which I know I messed up, partly due to not being used to the design tool.

Also, when you’re performing design tool activities and you drop objects onto other objects, you need to make sure they “stick” i.e. when you move the combined set of objects that they move as a group. Otherwise I’m guessing that “drag and drop” has not completed and doesn’t register our work.

Overall it’s not a complaint really – it’s an extremely tough exam but in many ways is a fantastic test of your ability to think on your feet. I did actually enjoy the exam (much more so than a VCP).

I’m working on a vSphere design today and found it easier to think fast. thanks to the exam and study I had done prior to it.

I can also see how it will help with the VCDX defence which requires the same speed of thought and thinking on your feet.

So ……. back to re-reading Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman 5.1 HA and DRS deep dive, followed by best practice compilations and performance white papers, plus some vBrownbags I think….and next time I’m going to ace it Winking smile

3 thoughts on “My VCAP-DCD Experience at #VMworld–Take #1

  1. I also have failed the VCAP5-DCD at my first attempt (during the beta period) and of course you can learn a lot (and probably more) from a failure rathen than a success (maybe with a minimal score).
    I also suggest the VCAP Bootcamp that seems really useful to fix some ideas and concept.

  2. Thanks for your honest feedback too Andrew/Andrea – I never know which you prefer – probably Andrea ;-). What you say is certainly true and for me it’s a reminder of the level you need to be at to even attempt VCDX. I heard great things about the VCAP bootcamp of course but missed the two sittings at VMworld – the second one was during the exam period. When you get to the advanced level you want to make sure you are “at the right level” so yes – failure means you up your game a lot to the level you need to be at. Either way a great experience and something else to share with the community.

    Paul

  3. Paul, I’ve also failed the exam at my first attempt during VMworld Europe 2012, that’s why I do not recommend attempting it during this event; as you wrote, the parties, get together’s and other will not leave you the chance to “brush up” on important areas, plus they will make you very tired and a clear, rested mind is key for this exam.

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