How to Work Around VMware Classroom Requirements
Many VMware certifications have a classroom requirement that can cost thousands of dollars. That may be daunting or cost prohibitive for some, but don't dismiss those certs out of hand. There are other ways you can fulfill these requirements without the class.
In this post, we'll explore the benefits of VMware's classes, review what else satisfies VMware classroom requirements, and explain how Cisco certs can be a way to skip the classes entirely.
Understanding the VMware Classroom Requirements
To put the situation in perspective, say you're starting an entry-level IT position. After a few months, you decide you're ready to expand your knowledge and further your career. You're interested in virtualization and decide VMware is the way to go. After reviewing this Complete VMware Certification Guide, you decide The VMware Certified Associate (VCA) is right for you.
So, you begin working toward the VCA-DBT (Digital Business Transformation) certification. After roughly 10 weeks of using online training and home labs, you pass the exam. Now you are VCA-DBT certified!
You then spend a few months gaining hands-on experience and decided you're ready to take the next step — VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification. You set your sights on the VCP-NV certification. However, the classroom requirement sticks out to you. Drilling down a bit further, you see these courses carry large price tags.
It seems like there might be alternatives, but information on these can be hard to sort through. Before you fork over the cash, you need to weigh all your options and make the decision that works for you. In the next few sections, we'll help you do just that.
The key takeaways here are:
VMware VCA certification does NOT have a classroom requirement.
VMware VCP certification does have a classroom requirement.
VMware classes can cost thousands of dollars.
There are alternatives to taking the VMware Education courses.
Why Classroom Training?
Given that there are alternatives, why would you go the classroom route? In short: Convenience & quality. Classroom training is the fastest and most direct option available.
Some people value time differently. if you don't have a lot of time, you might be looking for the quickest option available. Not only will this provide you with valuable information and experience, it will do so in only a 5-day course. If you're working towards your VCP-DCV certification, you can enroll in these courses to effectively build an understanding on the ESXi and vSphere.
While these courses can cost several thousands of dollars, they have some real value. They provide a reliable and effective structure to help not only pass these exams, but also properly support, configure and manage vSphere. You can also rest assured of the quality and relevance, as the training is coming directly from VMware certified instructors. At some point, you have to consider the convenience when it comes to the cost of something, it could be worth it in the long run.
Even if you can afford classroom training, there are a few things to consider before diving in. First, you'll likely have to travel in order to attend one of these classes. Second, VMware trainings will often lead to time away from work and family. For many, the latter is a deal-breaker.
For those that can spare the time and expense, VMware classroom training is a great option. For those that can't, there are other options available. In addition to "Live Classroom" trainings, VMware offers "Live Online" and "vFlex ILT" delivery of many of the required courses. "Live Online" is just what the name implies, an online course conducted in real-time. "vFlex ILT" courses are conducted both in-person and via HD video conferencing.
However, the "live" component of "Live Online" and "vFlex ILT" can still make it hard to attend the classes. Fortunately, VMware offers an alternative. VMware's on demand training options allow you to go over the material at your own pace. This allows you to purchase a course and go over the material in 30 days. On demand training gives you the flexibility to study after work and without completely pulling you away from home. You can learn more about VMware's different training delivery options here. While the different delivery options add flexibility, VMware's costs aren't cheap and some may be priced out as a result. Fortunately, there are some cost-effective alternatives that may provide a viable alternative to taking the VMware classes.
The key takeaways here are:
VMware classes are costly but thorough and effective.
VMware offers 3 "live" delivery formats: Live Classroom, Live Online and VFlex ILT.
VMware offers on-demand classes that give you 30 days to study at your own pace.
What about Community College?
Some community colleges offer classes that satisfy the VMware classroom requirement. This option comes at a much more affordable rate, but space is limited.
Here's a short list of community colleges that offer these courses:
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
Stanly Community College
You can find more information/locations on the VMware IT Academy page.
Generally, community college is a much more affordable option. While the VMware classroom option can go for a few thousand, this will only run you a few hundred dollars. This huge difference makes this a very nice option. You'll still have the classroom experience without having to completely commit a full week out of your daily life. Some locations will even offer online options (depending on your area) which can make things even easier to work around your schedule. However, since space is limited, there's usually a waitlist for these courses. In some cases, this can lead to wait times reaching 4-6 months or longer.
For those who just cannot afford the cost of the classroom course this is a very reasonable option. Along with the time to complete the course, this is a very large time commitment. For those who have the time, this would likely be the better option.
The key takeaways here are:
Select community colleges offer an affordable alternative to meet the VMware classroom requirements.
These community college courses in high-demand and waitlists can be long.
Are You Cisco-Certified? Skip the Class
If you currently hold an active Cisco CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE cert you can completely bypass the class requirements for your VCP-NV cert. Once you have the VCP-NV this will allow you to meet the course requirements for the other VCP certs without having to take the required courses.
It's pretty straight forward, on the VCP-NV page, you'll see a drop down saying "Certification Path if you Hold…", select Cisco Certification and the requirement will be replaced with an option to submit proof of your Cisco cert. While not the most direct path, it is definitely a very good option for someone holding non-expired Cisco certifications.
The key takeaway here is:
An active CCNA, CCNP, or CCIE certification enables you to bypass the VMware classroom requirement for VCP-NV.
There's Other Virtualization Certs
If you're interested in virtualization but not locked into VMware, there are other paths available to you. CompTIA's Server+, Red Hat Certified Specialist in Virtualization, and Nutanix Certified Professional (NCP) are alternative certification options for aspiring virtualization pros. None of these certifications carry a classroom requirement.
The takeaway here is: VMware isn't the only game in town. Hyper-V in particular can be a very attractive alternative. While it doesn't have the same level of Linux support as vSphere, it's getting better in this regard. For example, 2018's release of HyperV Quick Create and Microsoft's Ubuntu partnership made spinning up Linux virtual machines in HyperV much easier. You'll also find Hyper-V on 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Enterprise, and Education. This makes it easier to access for those of you working in Windows environments today.
The key takeaways here are:
There are other certification paths for virtualization pros.
Microsoft HyperV is a popular alternative.
What Should You Do?
There's no wrong choice when it comes to obtaining your VCP cert. It really comes down to what best makes sense for you.
VMware classroom training is costly, but can also be timesaving. VMware on demand training offers more flexibility if you can't afford to take days off for classroom training. The community college option is great if you're looking for a more affordable alternative to VMware classroom training. An active Cisco certification enables you to skip the course requirement for the VCP6-NV altogether. Whatever the case, understanding all of your options will help you make an informed decision.
Furthermore, after you earn your first VCP cert and the rest becomes much easier. After this, the required training turns into recommended training. This will save you time and money for any other VCP certification you go for in the future. For example, if you currently hold a VCP6-NV and you're looking into VCP-DCV 2019, you won't need to take any additional training courses. All you need to do is pass one of the Professional Data Center Virtualization Exams. At that point, you can use more flexible learning options like online training courses for VMware and self-study.
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