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VMware Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths

VMware Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths
By , Mary Kyle

VMware offers certifications in cloud management and automation, data center and network virtualization, and desktop and mobility. This certification guide will help you get started with VMware's certs and develop your career path.

VMware creates server and desktop virtualization software that streamlines IT operations across the general IT infrastructure, in data centers, throughout the cloud and on mobile devices. VMware's flagship data center platform is vSphere, which is also part of its VMware vCloud Suite. Other major VMware products include Fusion, Workstation Pro, Horizon 7 and the vRealize Suite. VMware professional services account for over half of the company's sales, and include technical support, consulting, training and a wide-ranging certification program.

VMware was founded in 1998 and became a subsidiary of EMC Corporation in 2004. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It has over 500,000 customers, including every one of the Fortune 100 companies.

VMware Certification Program Overview

As a leader in the virtualization space, VMware certifications are a must-have for many IT professionals, especially those who work in data centers and/or support virtual environments. VMware began a major overhaul of its certification program in 2013, restructuring for better organization and refreshing certifications to match new technologies. They've continued to roll out new certifications ever since.

The current release for VMware products is Version 6. Certifications for VMware 5/5.5 are phasing out as new exams for Version 6 are released. Upon request, VMware may allow qualifying V6 courses to count toward certification on level 5/5.5 credentials that remain available. For the purposes of this article, though, we concentrate on requirements for Version 6.

VMware Version 6 certifications fall into four categories:

  • Cloud Management and Automation
  • Data Center Virtualization
  • Desktop and Mobility
  • Network Virtualization

Each category offers various certification levels, such as:

  • VMware Certified Associate (VCA)
  • VMware Certified Professional (VCP)
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP)
  • VMware Certified Implementation Expert (VCIX)
  • VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX)

Associate certifications typically require passing a single exam to achieve certification. Candidates for Professional and Advanced Professional certifications must either take a training course or earn a prerequisite certification and pass an exam (a few certifications require two exams). Two Advanced Professional credentials are offered: Deploy and Design. To obtain the VCIX, candidates must earn both the VCAP Deploy and Design credentials.

No VCDX6 certifications were released as of February 2016. Based on prior releases, candidates can expect to obtain multiple prerequisite certs, and create a production-ready VMware solution and defend it before a panel of VCDX-holders to earn the VCDX6 credential. While a release date hasn't been announced for VCDX6, candidates should expect that certification to roll out within the 12 months. Those interested in the VCDX6 credential may want to attend one of VMware's VCDX6 Workshops.

In March 2014, VMware implemented a recertification policy for professional-level certifications, making VCP credentials valid for two years. You can find more info on VMware certifications at: http://mylearn.vmware.com/portals/certification/

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VMware Cloud Management And Automation (CMA) Certifications

There are currently six VMware Cloud Management and Automation (CMA) certifications available. CMA certifications recognize a candidate's skills working with the vCloud Suite (including vRealize) as well as general and advanced cloud computing knowledge.

There are two VCA6 certs available in the Cloud Management and Automation category: 

  • VCA6-Cloud Management and Automation (VCA6-CMA) -- geared toward IT professionals familiar with vCloud Suite products and technologies, as well as the technical requirements for cloud infrastructure virtualization.
  • VCA6-Hybrid Cloud (VCA6-HC) -- targets IT professionals working with vCloud Air, hybrid cloud platforms and related technologies.

Next up is the VCP6-Cloud Management and Automation (VCP6-CMA) credential. This certification is ideal for candidates who have worked with vRealize Automation implementations for at least six months. If you are new to vRealize, you must take a mandatory training course and pass the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam (2V0-620) and the VMware certified Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Exam (2V0-631). If you already hold a VCP certification for any unexpired solution track, you can simply take the VCP6-CMA exam. The VCP6-CMA credential is granted automatically to candidates who already possess the VCP6-Cloud credential.

There are two VCAP certifications available in the Cloud Management and Automation category:

  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Design (VCAP6-CMA Design) -- candidates must pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Design Exam (3V0-632).
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment (VCAP6-CMA Deployment) -- candidates must pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Cloud Management and Automation Deployment Exam (3V0-633).

Two years of experience is recommended for each credential, and both credentials require the VCP6-CMA as a prerequisite. Candidates who possess other VCP credentials or who are seeking to upgrade should check the certification Web page for current requirements.

The next step in the Cloud Management and Automation certification ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Cloud Management and Automation (VCIX6-CMA). This credential targets IT professionals capable of both designing and deploying enterprise level solutions using vRealize Automation. To obtain this credential, candidates must possess both the VCAP6-Design and VCAP6-Deployment credentials.

VMware Data Center Virtualization (DCV) Certifications

VMware's Data Center Virtualization certifications revolve around skills on vSphere 6. The VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCA6-DCV) is an entry-level certification geared toward individuals familiar with vSphere and other VMware solutions and technologies. To earn the credential, candidates need to pass the VMware Certified Associate 6 – Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals exam (1V0-601).

The VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6-DCV) is a highly popular certification aimed toward candidates with at least six months' experience with VMware infrastructure technologies. A VCP6-DCV is proficient in installing, implementing and managing VMware vSphere environments. Candidates who are new to VMware need to pass two exams, the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam (2V0-620) and the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (2V0-621). Additional prerequisites may apply to candidates with vSphere 5.x training or seeking to upgrade.

There are two Advanced Professional certifications in the Data Center Virtualization category:

  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Deployment (VCAP6-DCV Deploy) -- for individuals with at least two years of VMware virtual environment administration experience and who possess any VCP6-DCV certification. 
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Design (VCAP6-DCV Design) -- geared toward candidates who work with vSphere 6 technologies in a virtual environment and possess any VCP6 level certification.

The next step in the Data Center Virtualization ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Data Center Virtualization (VCIX6-DCV). This credential is geared to IT professionals who can design and deploy enterprise level virtual infrastructure solutions based VMware V6. Candidates must earn both the VCAP6-DCV Design and VCAP6-DCV Deploy credentials to obtain the VCIX6-DCV.

VMware Desktop And Mobility (DTM) Certifications

VMware's Desktop and Mobility certifications are designed for IT professionals who deploy and manage VMware Horizon with View environments. There are five credentials available in this category.

The VMware Certified Associate 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCA6-DTM) is an entry-level credential for IT professionals working with mobile devices and desktops in virtual environments. There are no prerequisites, and candidates can take a free eLearning course by way of training.

The VMware Certified Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCP6-DTM) is for candidates with at least six months of experience working with environments using VSphere 6 and Horizon 6 with View. Candidates must attend a training course plus pass two exams to earn this credential.

Two advanced credentials are offered in the Desktop and Mobility category:

  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility Design (VCA6-DTM Design) -- targets IT professionals who design and integrate Horizon 6 environments.
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Desktop and Mobility Deployment (VCAP6-DTM Deploy) -- geared towards individuals who deploy and optimize Horizon 6 environments. 

Two years of professional experience is required for each and both take the VCP6-DTM as a prerequisite.

The final rung of the Desktop and Mobility certification ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Desktop and Mobility (VCIX6-DTM). Candidates who earn this credential are able to both design and deploy solutions working with Horizon 6 with View. To obtain this designation, candidates must earn both the VCAP6-DTM Design and VCAP6-DTM Deploy credentials.

VMware Network Virtualization (NV) Certifications

The VMware Network Virtualization certification portfolio contains four credentials targeting IT professionals who design, manage, and implement VMware NSX environments.

The VMware Certified Associate 6 – Network Virtualization (VCA6-NV) certification is geared toward candidates who are familiar with the cost and operational benefits of VMware NSX network virtualization and how it's used to address business challenges. There are no prerequisites and a free eLearning course is provided. Candidates must pass a single exam, VMware Certified Associate 6 – Network Virtualization Fundamentals Exam (1V0-604) to obtain the credential.

Next is the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Network Virtualization (VCP6-NV) credential. This credential is geared to professionals with at least six months' experience who administer, configure, and install NSX implementations. Candidates must attend a required training course plus pass two exams to earn the credential. The training course prerequisite is waived for candidates who possess a valid Cisco Routing and Switching (CCIE, CCNP, or CCNA) or Data Center (CCIE, CCNP, or CCNA) credential.

Currently, there is only one advanced credential available in the Network Virtualization category: the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment (VCAP6-NV Deploy). To obtain the credential, candidates must possess the VCP6-NV certification and pass the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment exam. Two years' experience in deploying VMware NSX environments is recommended as well as general IT experience. Candidates who possess Cisco's CCIE Data Center or CCIE Routing and Switching certifications need only take the exam to obtain the credential. A second advanced credential -- VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Design (VCAP6-NV Design) -- is planned but not yet available.

The next credential in the Network Virtualization certification ladder is the VMware Certified Implementation Expert 6 – Network Virtualization (VCIX6-NV). Normally, candidates are required to obtain both the VCAP6 Design and Deploy credentials to obtain the VCIX6 designation. However, VMware is waiving the VCAP6-NV Design requirement until that certification becomes available.

VMware Training And Resources

Once you register with the VMware Education site, you have access to a wide variety of high-quality training resources. You can search for courses (online and classroom), browse the eLearning and Instructional Video libraries and more. Training courses can be expensive, though. For example, training courses for VCP6 range from $3,995 to $7,145 USD, depending on the delivery format. VMware often offers discounts on trainings and exams, which puts the cost of training within reach of a wider audience. Visit the VMware Training & Certification Special Offers and Beta Classes page on the VMware Certification Web site for more information.

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