So finally, after 5 months tortuous wait, I found out I passed the VCAP-DTD the other day. Well done to everyone else who’s got it, I don’t know how many there are, but I’m guessing not that many. There are a few out there in Twitterland who tweeted their success the other day, so I’m going to enjoy it’s exclusivity for now, until more certified folks come along.
As regards the exam itself, it was a tough old boot. I sat it early January, in fact the first week back after Christmas when my brain was even more Swiss cheese than normal. Owing to Pearson Vue chopping down the number of exam centres near where I live in north west England, I had to travel across the Pennines to Leeds to sit it.
The exam itself is listed as 195 minutes. I think I came in around 10 minutes under that, but as I was so far behind time wise, I just ended up going with my gut feeling on a lot of the answers. It was physically and mentally one of the most demanding exams I’ve ever done. I wasn’t permitted to take any water into the test room, which had no natural light and was very stuffy (even in January!). I also didn’t find the exam centre staff all that welcoming, so I was glad when it was all over.
Advice? Well firstly, you need to already be a VCP-DT to sit this exam. Also, it’s not an exam you can wing. I’ve been consulting for around 3 1/2 years, and that sort of experience is priceless for this sort of exam, as there are a lot of scenario based questions you need to answer. If you’ve done this for real with living, breathing customers, you’ve already got an advantage.
You also need to know View inside out. What it can do, what it can’t do. How it integrates with other products. Some may disagree, but I think View is pretty unique in a VMware product as it has so many dependencies with other third party products such as RSA, load balancers and anti-virus. You need to know how to weave those into the solution, and not just at a superficial level. I’d say you need around 1/2 years of experience administering View, especially in an enterprise environment. The exam covers a very broad spectrum.
One more tip is to watch the sample video on the VMware Education website on the drag and drop “Visio style” design tool. The blueprint states there are six of these in the exam, and they do take a big chunk of time. Don’t get waylaid here and keep an eye on the time. The demo can be obtained from http://mylearn.vmware.com/register.cfm?course=149330 and I think the video is around 10 minutes long.
So finally I hammered together some study notes in a couple of days (I didn’t get chance to do any study over Christmas. Well, too pissed most of the time anyway!). The notes were constructed around the beta exam blueprint, so may not perfectly match the final release. That being said, I will publish them to the community, feel free to get in touch and let me know if you spot any errors or omissions. You may also distribute it, please just provide an acknowledgement if you re-publish any aspect of them. They’re not perfect, but hopefully they’ll aid your preparation.
I submitted a session on the VCAP-DTD for VMworld Barcelona, so if you haven’t voted yet, please do and hopefully I can put together a decent presentation on this there.