What is the value of a certification?

Interesting question, as the true value of a certification differs depending on how you present.

For me the true value of being certified has realised itself in two ways:
  1. Got me a second interview with the company a work for.
  2. Improved my Skills.
A few years ago I was looking for a new job and had taken just taken the first of two netapp exams required to get NCDA certified (now I believe one is required). 
I had submitted my CV and managed to get a first interview. On my CV I had stated that I had passed the first exam and intended the second to get the certification. By the time the interview rolled around I had taken and passed the second exam. During the interview I mentioned that I had passed the second exam and had the cert.
This went down well and they felt it showed that I was committed.
Other job interviews granted have been, usually, down to the fact that I have had certifications in the relevant areas as well as experience. In other words it often helps get a foot in the door. Once you are sitting in front of the interview panel it’s up to you to show you know your stuff.
But mostly I do it now to improve my skills.
The VCP certification is VMware’s entry level certification. To get VCP certified you need to attend an official VMware course and then sit the exam. This for me is quite interesting as VMware are trying to ensure that all VCP’s have had exposure to the same or similar material but if your company wont sponsor you it can be quite expensive. It’s also fairly easy and quite common these days but many jobs require you to at least have this cert before you even apply. (Foot in the door!).
The VCAP Exams are much more difficult and, I would expect, don’t have a high first time pass rate. I have taken the VCAP-DCD exam once and missed out by 18 points. Very frustrating.
I took the VCAP4-DCA exam twice before I passed and more recently I took the VCAP5-DCA beta and passed. I guess practice makes perfect. I felt that the DCA exams were similar in format to Red Hats’ exams which give an objective and let the candidate get on with the LAB.
The DCD exams are really about understanding designs. It is important to note, that while reading the recommended white papers and books will help, you really do need to understand how to make decisions required for those designs. Anybody can get a basic VMware setup up and running in next to no time but does it meet the requirements? That’s what you need to get for this exam.
Now studying for these two exams has helped me as a VMware admin more than the cert has helped my career. People who have taken the exams are very cagey about giving out any info about the questions asked, and for good reason. Apart from the fact that VMware will find you and remove your certification and possibly ban you from taking VMware exams in the future, they require a fair degree of study, which means a not insignificant time sacrifice.
VCDX? Well I haven’t done that…. Yet.
But it’s all about what you want from your studies. Can it open doors? Yes, but then it’s up to you to prove yourself. Can it help you improve you skills? Yes, but the higher you aim and the more time you invest.
When all’s said and done, for me it’s been worth it.

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