This is a post I was about to write already 2 months ago as a summary of 2020 as it’s imporant to wrap-up a long time I spent preparing for VCDX and also say Thank You. However, due to other tasks, engagements, etc. I just managed to complete it right now!
So first things first – finally, after a very long and extremely informative journey at 15 Dec 2020, I finally received probably the best e-mail ever.
Congratulations! You passed! It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the VMware Certified Design Expert community.
Your VCDX number is 291.
Initially I was about to write a long story here about my VCDX journey, but then I decided to just make a few points that can be treated as advice, that hopefully might help someone.
- Don’t blindly trust everything you read on the internet about the VCDX process -> it’s like an assumption and if you already started the process already then you know what’s wrong with assumptions 😉
-> E.g. for me back in 2017 after passing both VCAPs when I decided to set the next goal to be a VCDX.
Along with my colleague we just completed a very good project which at that time seemed to be a perfect fit for the VCDX. I’ve read also some stories about VCDX jurneys taking 150-200 hours in total to prepare for that exam. That was almost like nothing after dozens of overhours spent with the project we just completed to get it on time. So the decision was made 200 hours is not much after all. So we took the docs we prepared for the Customer, translated them into english, submitted and apparently we were invited for the defense during which we immediatelly and brutally realized we are not even close to make the cut.
- Don’t try to be a hidden hero and brute-force doesn’t work here.
-> At the beggining I completely ignored the community aspect. I wanted to make it on my own and then just shine with the number. I didn’t participate even a single mock session, didn’t have a mentor, nothing. I’ve read lots of blog posts stressing the importance of it, but I just ignored it. Everything I knew about the defence was from blogs without the real experience with any mocks. I did work with customers at that time so I belived it’s enough. It was wrong, though. If you plan to go that way – just don’t. VCDX community is amazing, you don’t need to be an expert in each area. The community can help you – same with peers at work. If there is someone who can explain you some networking, storage, backup or other aspects – just take that ask for help. There is no need to re-invent the wheel! And this is still an exam which has a formula, that you must be aware of.
- Be realistic and honest with yourself about the time and schedule.
-> The truth is that along with my peer we went for the first defence completely not prepared. It was back in 2017 and our defence was scheduled just 2 days after my own weeding. It was definitely wrong. Consequently, we started working on our slide deck for the defense in the evening before the defense in the hotel room after landing in UK. It was just unnecessary waste of money, our time as well as panelist time, not good for life balance too!
It was a long jurney and I could find much more examples like those but in my opinion that were the key mistakes I did.
However, there is always a positive side. In reality thanks to those failures ( I know it’s a cliche 🙂 ) it was a huge learning curve for me, that help me not only to pass the exam eventually but most importantly learn the methodology and how to be methodological, soft skills and be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. That’s something I can use right now on the daily basis while working with customers.
I also owe a public kudos to everyone who I met and who directly or indirectly helped me during this long jurney! (Following list is in alphabetical order based on the first name :)).
Fouad El Akkad
Paul McSharry (before becoming a panelist)
Rene van den Bedem
Everone who attended my mocks to provide feedback and I forgot to mention above!
+ All panelist of course 🙂
Hope I didn’t miss anyone! If I did – sorry it wasn’t intentional I do appreciated all help and hints that helped be expand the knowledge and develop.