Why VMware Certs No Longer Expire
Recent changes in IT certification realm have really stirred things up — from AWS doing away with exam prerequisites to Microsoft retiring brand-new certs. Just last week, Cisco restructured their entirely certification program.
VMware also had some big news recently when then changed their recertification policy for the VCP. VMware is now giving you the choice on when to recertify by removing the mandatory recertification requirement.
In this piece, we'll dive into why these changes occurred, what they mean, and how they might affect you.
What Is VCP?
VMware offers several different certifications that validate experience with VMware technologies. VCP (VMware Certified Professional) is a certification program that highlights an individual's ability to use, maintain, and troubleshoot VMware vSphere.
Because VMware is the major player in the virtualization space, the VCP has become an extremely valuable IT certification in recent years. According to PayScale, the average salary for a VCP cert-holder is $88,000 USD.
Why the Change?
Originally, the two-year recertification policy was put in place to ensure certification holders maintain their skills and have up-to-date knowledge. This sort of policy seems to be more or less par for the course for IT certifications. For example, many of CompTIA's certs and Cisco's CCNA (Certified Cisco Network Associate) expire after three years
However, earlier this year VMware announced changes to the VCP recertification process that buck this trend: They removed the two-year mandatory renewal requirement. As such, your VCP certification will not expire if you decide to hold off on upgrading to a more recent cert.
There are a number of reasons for this change. In many situations, renewal wasn't always needed. For example, many organizations tend to hold off on upgrading their virtualization infrastructure. As a result, there's no need for their IT pros to upgrade their certifications.
With the previous recertification process, you were required to retake the vSphere Foundations exam, as well as any relevant elective exams every two years. When you factor in the time needed to prepare for these exams, it became very stressful around the two-year mark for many learners. By removing this requirement, individuals have the freedom to decide when they want to update their certification.
Ideally, this should make the VMware certification process better for certification holders and employers by empowering them to decide what is relevant. This makes a lot of sense when you consider employers and employees are effectively "the market" for IT certs.
While it may cost VMware some short-term revenue due to fewer recertification fees, it may offer upside for them, too. If certification seekers know VMware maximizes their ROI (return on investment), VMware becomes the popular choice. In turn, more IT pros will be comfortable with VMware, allowing it to maintain its stronghold on the virtualization market.
What Does This Mean for Current VCP Holders?
These changes have been in effect since February, and VMware officially reflected the changes in CertManager and on candidate transcripts in April. As a result, many previously expired certs will now appear active.
In some cases, this will limit the need for someone to have to start the process all over again. Now you can decide when to recertify or upgrade. If you have let your VCP expire, you can follow an update path instead of starting over as a new candidate. This will, in most cases, be a much easier method. If you hold any of the following expired VCP certifications, they should appear active on your transcript again.
Data Center Virtualization:
VCP5-DCV or VCP6-DCV
VCP-NV or VCP6-NV
Cloud Management & Automation:
VCP-Cloud, VCP6-CMA or VCM7-CMA
Desktop & Mobility:
VCP6-DTM or VCP7-DTM
For versions not shown, they will remain inactive and you will need to start the process from the beginning. This news might seem a little frustrating to someone who recently followed the Expired Certificate path. However, according to these FAQs, there is a silver lining.
VMware is giving anyone who followed an "Expired Certification Path" within the last six months a free one-year premium license to the VMware Learning Zone. The VMware Learning Zone, coupled with our VMware training, can be a great way to prep for VCP exams.
What About Upgrades to the VCP?
Along with the changes to recertification, VMware has extended cert-holders ability to upgrade as well. Now any of the 3 most recent certifications in a given track may be upgraded. For example, the VCP6.5-DCV, VCP6-DCV, and VCP5-DCV can all be upgraded to VCP-DCV 2019. In the past, only the two most recent certifications could have been upgraded, leaving VCP5-DCV cert-holders out of luck.
This change gives more learners the opportunity to upgrade, which means fewer are stuck starting over from scratch. Keep in mind that this extension only applies to the same VCP track. If you are looking to upgrade to a different track, you still need to be within two versions from the most current version. Otherwise, you'll need to start from the beginning of the track.
VMware is Simplifying the Certification Process
The changes in recertification policy are part of VMware's larger efforts to simplify its certification process. These efforts started in August 2018 with the announcement of changes to the way VMware names certifications, which made it possible to quickly identify when the VCP was earned. Potential employers can easily reference this in order to keep track of your level of experience. This also makes it possible for someone at a glance to identify how current the cert actually is.
Now, as we have seen, they're dropping the recertification requirement for their VCP certs. This will allow cert-seekers and employers to determine when further certification is needed. As opposed to forcing a recertification process on to cert-holders, If employers continue to require VMware certifications, professionals with those credentials will remain in demand. If professionals know VMware certifications are in demand and won't expire, they may choose a VMware cert over an alternative. In this case, everyone wins: VMware, employers, and certification holders. In essence, VMware is letting the market decide what value a certification has. If this approach is successful, we may see other certifying bodies adopt similar approaches going forward.
This changes give you better control over your certification path and allow you to grow at your pace. They do so while still leaving those who wish to the ability to upgrade and stay current. As a result, employees and employers decide when gaining more relevant experience makes more sense than more formal certification.
While on the surface these changes seem like a positive, it is important not to become complacent. Even with the removal of the recertification requirement, it is still good practice to keep your skills sharp and up to date. The real benefit here is not "no more learning", rather now you can decide when updating works best for you.
If after reading this article, you're looking to get started on your path to VCP certification, check out our Complete VMware Certification Guide.
Should You Recertify?
You should probably recertify If:
You want to ensure your knowledge and skills are up to date
Your employer or potential employers place a premium on a newer certification.
Otherwise, you may not need to invest the time and effort in recertifying. Remember, an IT certification is a means to demonstrate your aptitude and test your knowledge. If you have a day-to-day role that keeps you up to date, recertification may be unnecessary.
For the rest of us, recertifying at a regular cadence is an excellent way to ensure our skills remain in demand. The beauty of VMware's recent recertification changes is that empower us to decide what best suits our needs.