VMware vSphere 6 – Certification Changes

2 days ago now, VMware announced in a live online event, vSphere 6.  This was one huge announcement, there are so many game changers that are part of the latest version that I am not going to go through them right now.  If you would like to see what is new in vSphere 6, you can check out the vExpert blogs here.
Certifications have become a large part of today’s education. A lot of companies are accepting certifications in specific area of technology as a way of showing your skills and experience, and also your drive to keep yourself up to date. As much as this is a good thing, sometimes vendors decide to change their certification path by adding/subtracting parts and this can then become confusing for HR officers and Execs who don’t know too much about those certifications as there are so many. (Now hold onto that last sentence, you’ll need it soon)
Let’s take a look at the new vSphere 6 certification Path.
There are 4 silo’s (paths) you can choose from. Each one covers a little of the other, but each have a significant difference – especially as your get further up the chain. There 4 silos are,

  • DCV – Data Center Virtualization
  • CMA – Cloud Management and Automation
  • Network Virtualization
  • Desktop & Mobility

VCA – VMware Certified Associate.
Just like the previous VCA exam that came out during last year, this is an online exam. This exam requires only 3 hours of material and is recommended for sales staff, Managers and those just starting out.
VCP – VMware Certified Professional
The VCP is the most common exam that is taken as it was originally the entry level exam, and some consider it to still be. The VCP is no walk in the park exam, it has required a lot of hands on experience for it’s style of questions. To take the VCP you are required to sit an authorized Install, Configure & Manage (ICM) course. This is all fairly much the same as previous versions of the exam, except you are now required to sit a Foundation Exam and a Solution Track exam. If you sit the VCP exam in multiple silos, you can then gain the status of “Elite.”
VCIX – VMware Certified Implementation Expert (Formally VCAP)
This is where the major changes happen.  The VCIX was formally the VCAP layer which incorporated 2 separate certifications with an exam each, VCAP-xxD (Design) and VCAP-xxA (Administrator). The VCIX now includes both exams which are still separate from each other, but are both required to gain the VCIX badge. The VCAP exams were previously 3 hours, however, this has now changed to only 2 hours for the design exam and 3-3.5 hours for the Administration exam. The VCIX badge isn’t necessarily new as it was used for the first set of VCAP equivalent for Network Virtualization.  Remember the sentence I told you to remember above, there is a positive and a  negative with the change of name, HR and Managers might not understand what the level of certification is and they could possibly over look you as they look for “VCAP”. On the plus side, the Expert may help.  As with the VCP, taking multiple of these exams can award you with the “Elite” status.
VCDX – VMware Certified Design Expert
This is the top of the pyramid, only a select few make it this far, but these are the ones who spent countless hours hidden under the stairs working on a design to defend in front of a panel of potential colleagues. The VCDX path requires the VCIX. This isn’t an exam like the others, this is a fully fledge written design document that you submit to a panel who will then decide if you meet the requirement to defend your design. I have heard of stories of short designs that are only 100 pages, but then there are some large designs that are over 1000 pages. On average, the candidate will spend up to 4 hours a day/7 days a week (Obviously more on the weekend) while working and in most cases, raising a family.
This is just a brief look at the certification paths that are now available with the vSphere 6 release. You can log on to the VMware Training Portal to find out more information.  For another quick overview, you can also check out here.
Thank you.
If you have any questions or suggestions for posts, please post them below.
Thank you.


  1. I think the confusing thing about VCIX is that the first description of the exam says “VCIX certification is comprised of two separate exams – one focused on Administration and one focused on Design”. So will the exam be two parts like DCA and DCD, or is it two in one? I emailed education services to find out. I would think everything would be consolidated down in to one exam. If that is the case, they should have said “VCIX certification is a single exam comprised of two separate skills sets – one focused on Administration and one focused on Design”.

    • The VCAPs were individual certifications, the VCIX now looks to be a single certification but requires two exams. So you would need to sit the Design exam and then sit the administration exam (or Administration then design). If you have experience with Cisco, you can think over it like CCNA, Sitting ICND001 got you CCENT but sitting ICND002 as well got you the complete title of CCNA.

  2. VCAPs were 3 or 3.5 plus non-English extension.
    VCIX design exams will be around 2 hours (not clear exactly)
    VCIX admin exams will be 3-3.5 hours plus non-English extension

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