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December 12th, 2010

I’ve been meaning to post something regarding the VCAP-DCD beta since I took it last month, but time has eluded me!

 I am a design architect as my day job, so this exam should be pretty complimentary to what I do. Going through the study material in the blueprint was an experience all by itself. I downloaded around 130 papers, probably over 5000 pages in total. I don’t believe there is any easy way to study for this exam if you are not already doing this role. From the experience of doing the exam, 95% of the questions I answered based on experience (or guessing), and 5% was thanks to studying before the exam. I have to say the VMworld 2010 material has been very useful, and the session by Chad Sakac and Vaughn Stewart helped me through at least 1 question!

If you want to transition into a design role, then the blueprint is essential reading to get you focused and get an idea of what you’ll be doing. I think a lot of people would benefit from the study material of this exam. A course that covers all the topics would be essential (the current Design Workshop course is not quite detailed enough).

So my experiences of the actual exam, I actually think it is a huge improvement on the previous Design exam I sat last year. The interface is much more slick and most things are quite easy to understand. The “Visio” type interfaces are actually pretty neat, and although I highly recommend VMware introduce an “Are you sure” button on “Reset”, I think the interface works quite well. Some questions lack space to put detail in them, but I think they accommodate by putting less detail in the questions, and simply asking more questions to get more detail! I think this works quite well. A couple of drag-and-drop style questions had snap issues where numbers and items would simply disappear or snap to the wrong section, but reset fixed the missing items, and repeated dragging fixed the others. This was only really frustrating due to the number of questions and the time limit. I did manage to finish all the questions, but I did rush and it was down to the wire on the last question. Usually I finish exams with plenty to spare (simply because I’m terrible at checking my answers). The one point is that I hope in the final exam VMware introduce the ability to review questions and go back!

Overall I think this exam is really good. It tested my knowledge a lot, and I definitely relied on experience more than anything, and I think that’s really what this exam is all about. A good design architect is someone with knowledge and experience (in my humble opinion). I definitely see this in the day job too as customers like to test you and ask very obscure and awkward questions, these stick in your head and help you learn more than any study guide.

A few people have started putting together study guides, and I can’t fault the content of these at all. For the less experienced these are vital, and I would also highly recommend the Design Workshop (almost essential I’d say). If you are a VMware Partner, I’d also check the “Plan & Design” Services Kits that are available (go to content, search for “Plan & Design”, specifically the vSphere one). For people planning to go through to the VCDX, I think the study material for this exam is absolutely essential, and the Design Workshop will help you put together a framework for your documentation for the design submission.

Exam results take 6-8 weeks, so I reckon I have another 1-3 weeks to wait, and I will update when I know. If I fail I’m really not sure what I’ll do as I have no idea how to study properly for this exam! It’s like the Chinese proverb, you can’t fill a full cup. I already know this stuff, so I’m not sure how I can study for it again as I don’t know which areas I’m weak on! Fingers crossed then! :)

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  1. Prashant
    | #1

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Are you still waiting on the results?
    I am an architect too as my day job and am working on design details the documentations on the website. You are right there is plenty of information available on the website. To start with one that I am following for now is vcap-dcd.exe

  2. | #2

    Hi Prashant,

    Yup, still waiting for results, fingers crossed these will come through today. The full exam is released now and people have said you get your results straight away for that, which is good.

    Good luck with your training, take your time as there’s a lot of content and try apply it to projects you are working on. This has helped me develop as you get to see how it directly applies to real life scenarios.

  3. | #3

    Results came in last night! After VMware solved a slight administrative issue, my results came through in the small hours (GMT).

    I’m glad to say that I passed the VCAP-DCD! This also serves to update my VCDX to vSphere 4 also! Great news and many thanks to colleagues and industry peers for the help in reaching this stage :)

  4. | #4

    Congratulations on passing the exam!

  5. | #5

    Cheers Jas!

  1. | #1

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