I’ve completed about 2/3 of the Stanly.edu class, so it’s time for an update on my progress. Here are 4 takeaway lessons from my VCP certification program.
Hello, and thanks for joining me on this (unorthodox) VMware certification journey! I’m trying to get the vCenter Professional Certification for as little money and as creatively as possible. If you’re just joining us, please visit the first post in this series to get caught up, then enjoy these takeaway lessons.
As of this post, I’ve got 2 weeks until the end of the class. I’ve been working with VMware for almost 2 years now, but there are still many concepts to learn.
I’m learning! It takes work, and I’ve definitely learned a few things I’m happy to pass along to make your process a little smoother.
It has gone well, but I think I underestimated the time requirement. This course is set up as continuing education, so it’s based on completion and isn’t graded like a standard college class. That’s a good thing.
Couple my learning curve with the Thanksgiving holiday, and I got a little behind (just a couple of days). There’re no due dates, you just need to be done with the course by the final date. So no sweat. I spent last evening getting caught up.
First takeaway: Not during the holidays!
If you can avoid taking this (or any self-paced training) during the holidays, avoid it. For me, the holidays are a time to get together with loved ones and celebrate faith, family, and traditions. I find that as a family man, the various celebrations (and their preparations) quietly crept in and took over my study times!
I took this course now because I wanted to get VCP certified by the end of 2015 and I’d been on the waiting list since June. Not desperate, but motivated. If I hadn’t set the year end goal, I would have probably postponed until after the first of the year. If you get super-busy and don’t have a tight time table, don’t be afraid to do that.
Second Takeaway: Carve out protected study time
Being a busy husband and father had me occupied at times I thought I would be able to study. I’m good at studying, so no big deal, but I did lose some sleep to get it learned and get the work done. I planned on spending Tuesday nights working on this certification, but when you don’t get the buy in from those you love, it’s easy for things to get scheduled during your study time.
Put in on your calendar so you can say no when things pop up.
The Stanly labs are bunched together a little weird. Some weeks you have 2 simple labs equaling about 30 minutes of work, and others are 5 or more hours to complete. I’m sure there’s a good reason for this, but I’d like to see them spread out a bit more evenly.
For the next 2 weeks while I complete this course, my wife has graciously agreed to give me from about 9:30 to 11:30 to devote to the class every night, so that will help a bunch. I can do better when it comes to my 6 rules of getting a certification while having a life.
Make sure you carve the time out. Put in on your calendar so you can say no when things pop up. Also, make sure you get family buy-in if needed.
Third Takeaway: Stanly.edu’s course is not enough
We all knew this. Ok, maybe not everyone, but I knew, having experienced other certification classes. No certification class, except one that is very lengthy and in-depth, can take you from limited knowledge to being competent enough to pass.
You end up having to create your own course of study. Did I mention that this is not a bad thing? Creating your own plan allows you to set it up the way you work best. This is a win.
One important note: Make sure you devote extra time to deep-dive on the subjects that you’re not as comfortable on. For me, it’s iSCSI and Virtual Switch concepts.
Stanley’s course is just a piece of the puzzle. Be prepared to map your own course, combining courses like these, video from Pluralsight or CBT Nuggets, YouTube, practice exams, and maybe even a cram book or two. I happened to be upgrading our environment from vSphere 5.5 to 6.0 during this process. Luuuucky me. Get out there and build a winning plan (here’s mine).
No certification class, except one that is very lengthy and in-depth, can take you from limited knowledge to being competent enough to pass.
Fourth Takeaway: Remember the “Why?”
Why are you trying to get this certification? I know why I am- I want to learn a lot more about VMware, which I find interesting, improve my career prospects and mobility, and of course, bump up my earnings potential. Sometimes, in the middle of hard studying and sleepless nights, it’s easy to forget why you’re doing this. Make sure you have a strong reason why you want to make this certification happen.
Do you have a family depending on you? Will this help you support them better?
Do you want to prove a naysayer wrong?
Are you just super-interested in VMware?
These are all great reasons. Stop and take a minute to remember why you are working on this. Visualize the results- you passing the test, the logo going on your resume. Getting the paper in your hands. Getting a job offer for more pay, and seeing the higher paycheck, and the things that check will help you do.
I hope these takeaway lessons help guide you through this process and avoid the pitfalls.
And no, this VCP certification is not all I talk about! If you’re just getting started, making a later transition into IT, or if your IT career needs a kick in the butt, I can help! Make sure you subscribe at the top of the page to get notified for the weekly post, and make sure you let others know about the blog! Thanks for joining me!
See the other posts in this series: