End of VCP class requirement? VMware may authorize self-paced training

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In two recent TrainSignal blog posts, authors Matt Vandenbeld and Marco Shaw debated about whether or not VMware should keep its official VMware Education class requirement in order to obtain the much-desired VMware Certified Professional (VCP) designation. For background, see the following posts:

Proponents of the class say that it ensures the certification stays respected, valued and differentiated because it's known that, at minimum, VCP holders have attended a quality week-long training course. Opponents of the course say that it's costly, unnecessary, that it reduces the number of VMware evangelists, and that other quality certs don't require it.

I do see the pros and cons of each stance. Personally, my camp is with the people who want to abolish the VCP course requirement. It is a huge cost barrier to entry for junior admins around the world who want to prove their vSphere knowledge, it pushes people to Microsoft virtualization because they have no course requirement, and every company should have an entry-level certification where all you have to do is take a test. VMware came out with the VMware Certified Associate (VCA), and I thought that would be the perfect entry-level certification (the "MCP of VMware"). However, VMware soon abandoned it.

Is self-study a middle ground?

Recently, I spoke at a conference for one of VMware's leading partners - Varrow - in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the annual Varrow Madness conference for Varrow customers, one of the coolest things available (among some really amazing things) was a lab room featuring VMware's Hands On Labs (HoL). Note: Earlier this year, here on the TrainSignal blog, Ashraf Al-Dabbas did a thorough review of VMware's hands on labs (HoL). One of the labs was from VMware Education and it caught my eye. In the lab description it said that this "self-paced course sample will be VCP qualifying and it is completely online."

Of course, this is not an official announcement from VMware, but it could be a hint as to what it's about to announce. Is it possible that you will no longer have to take a class and could just complete a self-paced VMware training course to be authorized to obtain a VCP (after you pass the test)? Will this be an expensive course like the current classroom course or will it be free? Would VMware allow partners (like TrainSignal) to create authorized training materials for the VCP (like CompTIA and Cisco do)?

What do you think about this idea? I'd love to hear from Matt and Marco, the authors of the competing posts, above.

What do you think about a required self-paced training course being an authorized course to sit the VCP exam? Sound off in our comments section below!

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David Davis

David has authored over 50 courses for Pluralsight around enterprise data center technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization, and (especially) VMware vSphere. He is a partner at ActualTechMedia.com where he creates compelling enterprise technology content, moderates online events, and helps to connect some of the best-known technology companies in the industry with the end user community. With over 20 years in enterprise technology, he has served as an IT Manager, administrator, and instructor. David is an 11x VMWare vExpert, VCP, VCAP, & CCIE# 9369.