Certification is not just for Christmas ;-)

Having completed both VMware Advanced VCAP Certifications this year, it’s time for a little bit of reflection on what getting these certifications actually means, whether they’re worthwhile, and if so why. I obviously wouldn’t have done them if I didn’t believe in them, but still…. it’s worth exploring the benefits…and hopefully this might generate some discussion in the Community.

We all know the phrase “A Puppy is not just for Christmas”. so I am (rather facetiously and ridiculously) applying the same logic to IT Certifications, to question their relevance to your bottom line, and longer term value.

I’m working on my #VCDX application now, but I have been considering trying to squeeze another one in, maybe in January. I’m thinking Cisco UCS which is an area I’ve worked on a couple of times this year already, with Netapp platforms.

However, can collecting letters after your name, and trying to squeeze something in, be kind of pointless ?.

Is there a point at which your CV (resumé) doesn’t actually become any more convincing ?. Maybe people don’t believe you could be an expert in too many different areas ?. Maybe you’re just a Certification “Junkie” ?. I would admit that once you start, you do want to keep pushing yourself and getting more – so I’m certainly not immune to it either, which is why I’m asking the question.

Let’s assume that it makes you far far better at your job which I believe to be the case. That’s a given in my view.

It reminds me of the old joke about a guy in Ireland who had LHLAHN in the Phone Book, after his name. When the Phone Co started checking people’s qualifications for validity, it turned out to be “Likes Having Letters After His Name” 😉

In terms of job opportunities, it’s hasn’t led to creation of too many concrete opportunities, not so far. Being on Twitter and setting up my website and Blog, and putting myself “Out there” have probably been more rewarding, and actually led to some opportunities.

That’s partly down to the current climate in Ireland, but there are other reasons which can be a bit frustrating.

One problem with VCAP certifications in particular is the lack of awareness within the HR community of hiring organisations, and especially within the recruitment industry. Most of these people haven’t a clue whats involved in attaining a VCAP.

So remember, if they’re representing you, how can they sell something they don’t understand ?

It’s frustrating, as the VCAPs are so worth doing, require a major commitment, yet they don’t (yet) get the recognition they deserve.

This is an opportunity for education of customers, CIOs, CTOs, and other senior IT figures, to make sure they deploy suitably trained people, wherever possible. Why would you look for a VCP-qualified person for a project, when you could/should use a VCAP-certified person. There is a big gap in technical depth between these, but that’s not always recognised.

I think achieving both VCAP certifications does seem to carry a lot of respect within the VMware community, and that is definitely a great thing. Also VCAP is a relatively new certification compared to Cisco, for example, so this should change in the future.

However, if you put mercenary reasons aside, it is absolutely 100% rewarding to take on the VCAP certifications. Personally speaking, it has connected me with lots of people of similar mindset following the same route.

For my part, I hope to become more involved with the VMUG in Ireland promoting the VCAPs and VCDX to customers.

So I suggest you pick your certifications wisely. Go for ones that are personally challenging and will improve your technical ability in the right areas, but don’t expect it to raise your salary, and don’t expect the world to know what they are.

But assume that pushing yourself shows your personal drive, and that is something that I think differentiates anyone from the next guy when going for the same role.

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Certification is not just for Christmas 😉

2 thoughts on “Certification is not just for Christmas ;-)

  1. I went through this as well and I would also add….. a self satisfaction. Because working with vSphere infrastructure is one thing, but knowing that you have truly a VCAP level is better… -:). And that’s only possible by passing those exams. They are difficult, true. But passable.

    All the best Paul, and Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Vladan ;-),

      Of course everything you say is 100% correct and the level of self-satisfaction you achieve is very high when you complete them.
      Thanks for your comment and all your great content throughput 2013, and Best Wishes for the New Year to you as well.

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