Taking the VCAP-DCD Exam….

In this post, I wanted to post about my experiences of taking the VCAP-DCD exam.

Simply – like the VCAP-DCA exam, there are 3 given certainties for this exam:

  1. You will need to have taken and passed the VCP4 exam, in order to qualify for this exam.
  2. You will need to study the VMware VCAP-DCD exam blueprint (published by VMware here: Exam Blueprint).
  3. You will run out of time when taking this exam!

So, what is the exam?

It’s a 4-hour design exam, not a hands-on exam with real servers in a remote environment as with the VCAP-DCA exam (see my experience of that exam here. In the process of taking the exam, you have have a mix of straight answers and a visio-type tool to complete multi-facet questions.

Who is it aimed at?

This certification is one of VMware’s new mid-level ‘Advanced Professional’ exams, as a stepping stone to the VCDX qualification. VCP is a pre-requisite for VCAP exams, and completion of both VCAP exams is a pre-requisite for VCDX.

How do I take the exam?

You need to register with Pearson Vue via their VMware Exam website, and request authorization to take the exam. Only some Pearson testing centers offer these exams (“official” centers only will deliver this exam) – search for them here. Note: Pearson are notified by VMware about candidate eleigability for taking the exam. With this in mind, you will have a different “VMware Advanced” testing ID which will be seperate from other – VCP et al – certifications held with Pearson. The UK exam fee is £300 per exam.

Preparation?

There are lots of resources available online that list resources you should study, but always start with the official exam blueprint. Unlike VCP certification, there are no pre-requisite courses for taking the VCAP exams. VMware list the suggested courses on their certification page here. I will add resources to my ‘Interesting Links’ page over time, as I come across more interesting resources.

Taking the exam

Both the VCAP exams are similar in this respect…. Arriving on the day, you need photo ID, and a photo is taken of you before you enter the test room. You aren’t allowed to take anything into the test room with you – no coffee, water, watch, chewing gum, not even tissues! This is a very strict policy, so if you take the test when you have a cold – don’t expect to be allowed any leeway with taking medicine in – because it won’t happen!

The exam itself is a mix of direct questions and a visio-drag and drop tool for moving and placing design / infrastructure objects. Usefully, this actually works well and is not at all like the times of old. The questions relate closely to the coverage as described in the Blueprint, and relate to real-world design scenarios. If you haven’t any practical design experience, you will struggle with this as here is where on-the-job design experience will benefit you. Another thing to bear in mind is there is some calculation required for some design decisions, but no calculator is supplied (either in the exam or by the testing centre), and you can’t take one in with you. There are some ways of helping yourself to do calculations manually – you should practice this as part of your revision.

Premium Tip: Time! Whilst not as pressing as in the VCAP-DCA exam (not for me at least), time will still be a factor for you in this exam. Even running through all the questions there was little time left to complete a review run-through as I try to do with all my exams.

Results

Bumper result for this exam – you get a score instantly as the exam is not based on a live system that has to be marked by a human.

Lastly – Good Luck! If you are taking this exam, I wish you all the best.

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About Jeremy Bowman
VMware-certified Solutions Architect, Virtual Systems Designer / Administrator, Mac-Enthusiast.

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