What is the value of a technical certification? How do you make the time to get one? We talk with Gregg Robertson, who recently earned the prestigious VCDX certification. This podcast was recorded live at VMworld 2016 in Las Vegas.
VCDX stands for VMware Certified Design Expert, and is VMware’s highest-level certification. There are at the time of publications only 231 VCDXes worldwide; Gregg is VCDX #205. Gregg gained the cert only on his second attempt, and he estimates he spent about 300 hours on each attempt.
Gregg says he uses certifications to motivate him to learn new technology and get familiar with new areas. He took advantage of many online resources and an only study group – the VMware community is particularly known for its helpfulness for people preparing for certs.
- Consult with your significant other and get their buy-in! Gregg is married, has 2 young kids, and travels for work – a decision to study for a certificate is a significant commitment.
- Be honest with yourself and your significant other how much time and effort it will take. Ask yourself: how badly do you want it? More than going out with your friends? More than watching TV? More than breathing?
- Book time when and where you can. Gregg studied on planes and trains while traveling for his job. Everyone else was sleeping on the plane and he was studying. Everyone else was going out for
- Regarding imposter syndrome. Especially for VCDX, the oral exam can be intimidating. Treat the panelists as your peers being briefed on a project, not as people trying to trip you up.
- Gregg studied, did not succeed his exam, and then studied again in public. The accountability worked for Gregg – it won’t work for everybody.
- Earning certificates is about the journey and the experience you gain, not the money.
- For Gregg, the VCDX exposed Gregg to deeper knowledge in many areas and helped him realize how much he knew, but more importantly how much he didn’t know in each of these areas.
- His best don’t-do-this: Don’t Do Too Many Things At Once!