VCDX Journey: Progress report

Today I want to share an update about my VCDX journey. In the past weeks I have intensified my efforts towards the goal of achieving the VCDX-DCV certification. Because I know myself to work best under pressure I set myself the next possible deadline: submission date on september 28th 2018. The defense would then be held mid december (assuming the submission would be accepted, which in itself is an achievement if you asked me).

I have been fortunate enough to meet Chris Porter at last year’s VMworld in barcelona. We had a wonderful time at VMware Code’s Hackathon (I highly recommend to participate if you can!) and we both talked about the dream of becoming a VCDX. He along with a few likeminded individuals from different countries and myself share a group chat in the “VCDX Prep” Slack channel which is managed by Gregg Robertson. If you follow the same dream, feel free to ask him to invite you to the channel.

The Slack channel has many current VCDXs and many aspiring candidates. There you will find individuals to help you in your mock defenses or just generally give you tips and help you get on the right track.

I cannot tell you how much work it is to get into the right mindset if you are not already designing infrastructures in you day-job. I come from a highly technical background and work with VMware products every day and the things I had struggled with the most are the “abstract” concepts of infrastructure design. Especially the differentiation between “Conceptual”, “Logical” and “Physical” Design. I have learned that in most cases I did “Physical designs” in my job, might be that there were some “logical” parts in there as well, but those were few and far between. Here is a list for you to study if you struggle with that as well:

https://technicloud.com/2017/07/07/virtual-design-master-conceptual-logical-physical/
https://technicloud.com/2018/08/07/visualizing-the-conceptual-model-for-it-architecture/
https://communities.vmware.com/thread/476552
http://www.brcommunity.com/articles.php?id=b043a
https://vcdx133.com/2015/05/06/vcdx-great-logical-design/

And what is also very important: Manage your time! I, like most people aiming at VCDX have to juggle the preparation/design work with family, day job and other hobbies. So it is crucial that you know how to spend your time efficiently. Chris Porter who I mentioned at the start of the article has had some very good tips on that front. The pomodorro technique. It basically comes down to: Work hard for 25 minutes without distractions and then allow yourself a 5 minute break. That is a pomodorro. Do 4 of those in succession (sums up to 2 hours work) and then allow yourself a bigger break of 20-30 minutes. I have come to love this method and it helped me make big leaps in the documentation work of my design. A tool to help me with this that also offers cool apps is “Toggl

Don’t underestimate the work that needs to be done for the design. But before you get started you should have a design that you have actively worked on to use as the base of your VCDX design. The blueprint of the VCDX is quite extensive and most (if not all) real world project don’t have that kind of depth. It is quite hard to “make up” the entire design because then you will have a hard time defending it. See this post that goes into more detail about that problem. Also look at the handbook and the application form while you are at it.

If you are unsure about the path that lies before you and you don’t want to rush into this, here are some books that I would recommend:

When you are ready to start you should think about having a mentor. A mentor is typically a VCDX holder who is willing to guide you on your way to becoming a VCDX. You can find current VCDX holders who are volunteering their time as mentors in the official VCDX Directory.

Here are some more Links that I have collected with VCDX resources:

There are so many blogs and tweets from current VCDX holders or people aspiring to become one that there are simply too many to list here. If you feel like I should list one specific blog or other resource please let me know in the comments. (more links can be found in my first post about my VCDX journey here)

I myself am currently in the middle of bringing my design to paper. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog I set myself a deadline for the 28th of september and am working hard to achieve this. If I should fail to meet the deadline or do not make it past the technical verification of my design, then I will try again. My journey so far has taught me so much I wouldn’t even know where to begin telling you about it. So it is definitely worth it even if you experience setback alongs the way.

If you are a future VCDX holder I wish you all the best and a wonderful journey. By the way, there are currently only 270 VCDX holders worldwide. The number you are assigned after successfully defending your design will be yours forever. What number will you get?

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