VMware Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

VMware Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

VMware offers certifications in cloud, data center and network virtualization, end user computing and the cloud application platform. 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. Another popular product is its vCloud suite, which encompasses many different elements, such as vCloud Director (for self-service access to compute, network and storage resources), vCloud Networking and Security (for applications and data center edge security) and vCenter Operations Management (for management of physical and virtual machines), among others. Accounting for over half of the company's sales are VMware professional services, including technical support, consulting, training and an extensive 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. Check out: Best Virtualization Certifications

VMware certifications fall into five categories:

  • Cloud,
  • Data Center Virtualization,
  • End User Computing,
  • Network Virtualization,
  • Cloud Application Platform.

Each category offers various certification levels, such as:

  • VMware Certified Associate (VCA),
  • VMware Certified Professional (VCP),
  • VMware Certified Advanced Professional (VCAP),
  • 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). VCDX certifications require multiple prerequisite certs, and candidates must create a production-ready VMware solution and defend it before a panel of VCDX-holders.

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: mylearn.vmware.com.

VMware Cloud Certifications

VMware Cloud Certification LadderVMware Cloud Certification LadderThere are currently five VMware Cloud certifications, with a VCAP Cloud Governance certification scheduled to debut in mid- to late 2014. Cloud certifications recognize a candidate's skills working with the vCloud Suite as well as general and advanced cloud computing knowledge. The VCA-Cloud cert is geared toward IT professionals who are familiar with vCloud Suite products and technologies, as well as the technical requirements for cloud infrastructure virtualization. See: Best Cloud Certifications

Next up is the VCP-Cloud. This certification is ideal for candidates who have worked with vCloud Director implementations for at least six months. If you are new to vCloud Director, you must take a required training course and pass the VCPC550 exam. If you already hold a VCP5-DCV or VCP5-DT certification, you can simply take the VCPC550 exam (training is recommended but not required).

There are two VCAP certifications available in the Cloud category: VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Cloud Infrastructure Design (VCAP-CID) and VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Cloud Infrastructure Administration (VCAP-CIA). Both certs require the VCP-Cloud, VCP5-DCV or VCP5-DT certs as prerequisites.

The VCAP-CID identifies those who plan and design a cloud infrastructure architecture. Candidates should have two years’ virtual environment experience with vCloud technologies. VCAP-CIA credential holders are adept at installing, configuring and administering single and multi-tenant public, private and hybrid vCloud environments.

The VMware Certified Design Expert – Cloud (VCDX-Cloud) is the pinnacle of VMware Cloud certifications. This certification recognizes people who can design and build software-defined data centers and implement Infrastructure-as-a-Service using the vCloud Suite. Candidates must have both the VCAP-CIA and VCAP-CID certifications before submitting and defending a solution design.

VMware Data Center Virtualization Certifications

VMware Data Center Virtualization Certification LadderVMware Data Center Virtualization Certification LadderData Center Virtualization certifications revolve around skills with VMware vSphere. The VMware Certified Associate - Data Center Virtualization (VCA-DCV) is an entry-level certification geared toward individuals who are familiar with vSphere and other VMware solutions and technologies.

The VMware Certified Professional 5 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP5-DCV) is a highly popular certification aimed toward candidates with at least six months’ experience with VMware infrastructure technologies. A VCP5-DCV is proficient in installing, implementing and managing VMware vSphere environments.

Candidates with a current VCP5-DT or VCP-Cloud certification simply have to pass an exam to achieve their VCP5-DCV. Otherwise a training course is required before taking the exam.

There are two Advanced Professional certifications in the Data Center Virtualization category. First up is the VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 - Data Center Administration (VCAP5-DCA). This certification is for individuals with at least two years of VMware virtual environment administration experience and one of the following certifications: VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, VCP-Cloud or VCAP4-DCA.

The VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 - Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD) certification is geared toward candidates who work with vSphere technologies in a virtual environment and have the VCP5-DCV, VCP5-DT, VCP-Cloud or VCAP4-DCD certification.

Data center design architects with expertise in VMware enterprise deployments should consider the VMware Certified Design Expert 5 - Data Center Virtualization (VCDX5-DCV) certification, which requires the VCAP5-DCD and VCAP5-DCA certifications as prerequisites.

VMware End User Computing Certifications

VMware End User Computing Certification LadderVMware End User Computing Certification LadderThe End User Computing certifications focus mainly on enterprise desktop virtualization, although VMware also includes a workforce mobility credential in this category. The VMware Certified Associate - Workforce Mobility (VCA-WM) cert identifies individuals who apply VMware Horizon Suite solutions to resolve business and technical challenges around workforce mobility and end-user computing.

Individuals who install and configure VMware View and View Client, and design data center methodologies, should look to the VMware Certified Professional 5 - Desktop (VCP5-DT) certification. If you already have the VCP5-Data Center Virtualization or VCP-Cloud certification, you must pass the VMware View exam to achieve certification. Otherwise, you must take one of three required training courses and pass the VCP-Desktop exam.

VMware View exam candidates should have 6-12 months’ experience installing, configuring and troubleshooting VMware View. VCP-Desktop certification candidates should have vSphere implementation and administration experience, as well as experience implementing, installing and configuring VMware View.

VMware End User Desktop Certifications

The VMware Certified Advanced Professional - Desktop Administration (VCAP-DTA) certification is for IT professionals who install, administer and configure VMware View and related components. To achieve this cert, you must have the VCP5-DT, VCP-Cloud or VCP5-DCV certification.

The VMware Certified Advanced Professional - Desktop Design (VCAP-DTD) certification requires at least two years’ experience using VMware View to design, plan and implement a virtual environment, candidates must have the VCP5-DT, VCP5-DCV and VCP-Cloud certifications.

The VMware Certified Design Expert-Desktop (VCDX-DT) expert requires the candidate to have or earn the VCAP-DTD and VCAP-DTA certifications and submit an application that includes a production-ready VMware View-based desktop virtualization solution. If you have a current VCDX certification, you don’t have to defend your design to become VCDX-DT certified.

VMware Network Virtualization Certification

The VMware Certified Associate – Network Virtualization (VCA-NV) certification is geared toward candidates who are familiar with the cost and operational benefits of VMware network virtualization and how it’s used to address business challenges. The certification is expected to be available in mid- to late 2014. See: 40+ Certifications to Help Advance Your Networking Career

VMware Cloud Application Platform Certifications

VMware Cloud Application Platform certifications are also known as SpringSource certifications. Spring is a Java application framework, and Spring developer skills are currently in high demand. VMware offers three SpringSource certifications: Spring Professional, Web Application Developer and Enterprise Integration Specialist.

The Spring Professional cert is geared toward Java developers who are familiar with Spring, Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP), container basics, data access and transactions, and Spring model-view-controller (MVC). To obtain the Spring Professional certification, you’re required to take the Core Spring course and pass the exam.

The SpringSource Certified Spring Web Application Developer certification is one of the most valuable Enterprise Java credentials available. You must be familiar with developing real-world Java Web applications using Spring's Web projects. To achieve this certification, you must attend the Spring Web training, which costs about $2,700. The price includes an exam voucher for the Certified Spring Web Application Developer exam.

To earn the Certified Spring Enterprise Integration Specialist certification, you should know how to use Spring to perform batch processing with Spring Batch, understand remoting, and be familiar with transactions, RESTful services with Spring-MVC, Web services, JMS with Spring and Spring integration. To earn this cert, you must attend the Enterprise Integration with Spring course.

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 average between $2,000 and $3,000; however, VMware often offers discounts on trainings and exams. Visit the VMware Training & Certification Special Offers and Beta Classes page on the VMware Certification Web site for more information: mylearn.vmware.com.