Is the VCAP-DTM Deploy Worth It?
| technology | system admin - Josh Burnett

Is the VCAP-DTM Deploy Worth It?

If you've spent any time in the virtualization space, you're familiar with VMware. Although not the dominant force in any particular arena, VMware is a well-established company with products that are prevalent with enterprise organizations. Recent trends indicate that VMware is becoming more popular, and correspondingly, so are their proprietary certifications.

The downside is that the VMware certification process can be complicated, confusing, and expensive. The upside is that this is a testament to how valuable VMware certs are; if they didn't add a substantial amount to an IT professional's career, the pathways and certification process is so difficult to navigate that they'd likely go the way of the dinosaur pretty quickly. This article will dig into VMware’s Desktop Management certification path, specifically looking at the VCAP-DTM Deploy certification.

What Is the VCAP-DTM Deploy?

VMware's Desktop Management certification path begins with the VMware Certified Professional – Desktop and Mobility 2021 (VCP-DTM 2021). Earning the VCP-DTM 2021 is a prerequisite before moving onto the Advanced Professional (VCAP) level.

There are two VCAP-DTM certifications: the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop and Mobility Design 2021 and the VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop and Mobility Deploy 2021. The VCAP-DTM Design exam focuses on design concepts and is more heavily knowledge-based, while the VCAP-DTM Deploy exam emphasizes skills and is very hands-on.

Obtaining both the VCAP-DTM Deploy and VCAP-DTM Design certifications will earn you the VMware Certified Implementation Expert Badge. If you want to move on to the capstone of the Digital Workspace track—the VMware Certified Design Expert – Desktop and Mobility 2021 (VCDX-DTM 2021)—you'll need to have the VMware Certified Implementation Expert Badge under your belt.

What Does the VCAP-DTM Deploy Test?

The VCAP-DTM Deploy 2021 cert "validates that you know how to deploy and optimize VMware Horizon (with View) environments." The overall goal of the Advanced Deploy VMware Horizon 7.X (3V0-51.20) exam is to confirm that a candidate has "the knowledge and skills necessary to leverage best practices to provide a scalable and reliable Business Mobility platform."

VMware has made an effort to standardize its exam blueprints across certification levels, which simplifies navigation. However, it also means that not every certification track will have content in each domain across a particular cert level. In the case of the VCAP-DTM Deploy, the complete blueprint consists of the following seven sections:

  • Section 1: Architecture and Technologies
  • Section 2: Products and Solutions
  • Section 3: Planning and Designing
  • Section 4: Installing, Configuring, and Setup
  • Section 5: Performance-tuning, Optimization, and Upgrades
  • Section 6: Troubleshooting and Repairing
  • Section 7: Administrative and Operational Tasks

However, when you look at the VCAP-DTM Deploy exam guide, you'll find that Sections 1, 2, 3, and 5 don't have any testable objectives. The Advanced Deploy VMware Horizon 7.X (3V0-51.20) exam focuses exclusively on objectives found in Sections 4, 6, and 7.

Unlike the VCAP-DTM Design exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions, the VCAP-DTM Deploy evaluation occurs exclusively in a lab-based environment. There are five products in the VMware Horizon 7.x portfolio that form the core of the VCAP-DTM Deploy exam:

  • VMware Horizon 7.X
  • VMware App Volumes 2.X
  • VMware Dynamic Environment Manager (User Environment Manager)
  • VMware Identity Manager (Workspace ONE Access) 3.3
  • VMware vSphere as it relates to supporting Horizon components. 6.7

You’ll also find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the following topics; these occur outside of Horizon but are central to what you’ll see on the 3V0-51.20 exam:

  • Know how Active Directory User and Machine management relates to Horizon and Group Policy Objects (GPO) for Horizon.
  • Understand Windows 10 administration as it relates to a Horizon deployment, focusing specifically on optimization and troubleshooting.
  • Be proficient with Windows Server administration for RDSH via Horizon.

One handy test tip is to practice taking the exam with a single-monitor setup since most testing environments will consist of this. Taking a live exam under pressure from a time limit becomes an entirely different animal when you eliminate the second monitor most of us are used to, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with that approach from the start. Flipping back and forth between the GUI and question text can add confusion, and you want to be prepared for this.

How Much Does the VCAP-DTM Deploy Exam Cost?

The Advanced Deploy VMware Horizon 7.X (3V0-51.20) exam, which you’ll need to pass to earn the VCAP-DTM Deploy, costs $450 per attempt. The test itself consists of 28 questions with a 205-minute time limit.

To prepare for this test, VMware recommends taking at least one of the following training courses:

Each of these will run you $4,250, so don't expect to come by this knowledge cheaply. These aren't required courses, and it's possible to pass the 3V0-51.20 exam without it. However, be aware that much of the testable material is pulled directly from these training courses, so if you can get your employer to pay for you to take one, it's well worth it.

As I mentioned previously, earning a VCP-DTM is required before you can sit for the VCAP-DTM Deploy exam. You’ll need to pass two tests to obtain the VCP-DTM 2021:

The 2V0-01.19 test involves answering 65 questions in 105 minutes and costs $125. The 2V0-51.19 evaluation also has 65 questions in 105 minutes but costs $250. Unfortunately, the training courses for VCP-DTM are required, not recommended, and they cost $4,250 apiece. All told, you’ll spend a minimum of $5,075 to take the training course for VCP-DTM, pass both VCP-DTM exams, and sit for the VCAP-DTM Deploy test. If you take another training course for the VCAP level, that total cost increases to $9,325.

What Experience Do You Need for the VCAP-DTM Deploy?

VMware states that a minimally qualified candidate (MQC) should have at least a year of "hands-on experience installing, configuring, managing and troubleshooting Horizon 7.X solutions" and "advanced knowledge of vSphere and virtual machine environments, as well as network and storage technologies." In addition to this specific experience, VMware wants to see a more general exposure to IT, with "one to two years of experience in information technology with hands-on experience with Microsoft Windows OS."

Who Should Take the VCAP-DTM Deploy?

Anyone who works extensively with VMware infrastructure should consider obtaining a VCAP-DTM Deploy certification. However, because of the cost and effort involved with achieving this level of expertise, you should be sure that this is where you want your career to go before jumping into the process.

There's both an upside and a downside to this career path. The upside is that you're highly competitive for jobs requiring VMware infrastructure deployment; the downside is that this tends to be a niche market where you won't find an overabundance of job opportunities. However, if you're looking for stability, earning a VCAP-DTM Deploy cert might be the right choice for you.

VCAP-DTM Deploy for Infrastructure Architect

If you're an infrastructure architect who works with VMware products, the VCAP-DTM Deploy certification is a must-have. Because an architect's job revolves around design, you might want to earn the VCAP-DTM Design cert first, then the VCAP-DTM Deploy. Obtaining both will result in the VMware Certified Implementation Expert Badge and prepare you to move on to the final level of the Desktop Management cert track: the VMware Certified Design Expert – Desktop and Mobility 2021 (VCDX-DTM 2021). Architects who work with VMware should heavily consider earning the VCDX-DTM 2021.

VCAP-DTM Deploy for Infrastructure Engineer

Infrastructure engineers will be more involved with hands-on deployment than architects, so the VCAP-DTM Deploy cert makes even more sense here. If you're in an engineering role with an enterprise organization that utilizes VMware, the VCAP-DTM Deploy is a wise choice.

VCAP-DTM Deploy for VMware Administrator

VMware administrators might not utilize every corner of knowledge that the 3V0-51.20 exam evaluates, but you'll certainly deal with most of them. Earning the VCAP-DTM Deploy certification will set you up for career progression as you move higher in the VMware world, making it a solid choice as you have the time and resources to commit toward earning it.

Is the VCAP-DTM Deploy Worth It?

The answer to whether the VCAP-DTM Deploy certification is worth it really depends on your career goals. It is a highly specific certification that involves a lot of time, energy, and resources to earn. If you want a career working with VMware infrastructure, pursuing the VCAP-DTM Deploy cert is absolutely worth it. If your job simply touches on it, a lower-level VMware certification is likely a better fit.

Using the VCAP-DTM Deploy to Learn Skills

Since the VCAP-DTM Deploy exam is exclusively lab-based, there's no doubt that you'll sharpen your hands-on skills as you prepare for it. Unless you have a decade of experience in VMware infrastructure deployment, there will probably be troubleshooting scenarios you haven't yet encountered. You'll almost certainly learn a few new things, and possibly quite a bit.

Using the VCAP-DTM Deploy to Validate Skills

The VCAP-DTM Deploy certification is highly targeted at a very specific set of skills. The 3V0-51.20 exam is designed to evaluate the depth of your knowledge, abilities, and experience with VMware infrastructure. Earning a VCAP-DTM Deploy cert is a clear signal to employers that you know what you're talking about in the VMware world and will add a substantial amount of value to your resume.

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