VMware Certifications: Why They Matter, and How to Earn Them

VMware certifications validate the critical skills required to integrate and manage the technology deployed by VMware’s broad client base. The company offers certifications ranging from beginner all the way through expert.

Certifications are organized into six technology areas:

  • Data Center Virtualization
  • Network Virtualization
  • Cloud Management and Automation
  • End-User Computing
  • Security
  • Application Modernization

The lower-cost and least time-intensive certifications are at the beginner level; certifications rise in price and rigor as you move up the ladder. VMware offers both certifications and the badges, which are both credentials with billed exams.

“The reason we differentiate is the certifications, we sometimes call them career certifications, are more aligned to job roles,” explains Karl Childs, senior manager with VMware Learning. “When we talk about a certification under datacenter virtualization, it may cross multiple products and solutions. It really is aimed at being able to perform a role in that domain, where our badges are more granular, and they may be more product-specific or sometimes program-specific.”

The VMware Data Center Virtualization certifications are designed to gauge the level of skill designing, installing, and managing VMware vSphere environments in a real world environment:

+ VCTA: VMware Certified Technical Associate 2022 ($125, 0-6 Months)

Childs explains the VCTA-DCV certification equips the user with a basic understanding of virtualization and vSphere concepts. The certification holder will also be able to demonstrate knowledge of data center technology and basic troubleshooting concepts.

“I always recommend to people and, you know, a little bit of research on their side and look at a couple of different paths,” Childs says. “This is one of the reasons we came out with the VCTA certification—it’s a little bit less money, the training is very low. It’s a low cost way to dip your toe into it, even get certified on this, and see if it is something that appealed to you.”

+ VCP: VMware Certified Professional 2022 ($250, 6 Months-2 Years)

Childs says this has always been VMware’s most popular certification and constitutes the “core” of VMware’s service offering.

“This one has the most brand recognition around it, so that one is always a go-to—in fact, we recommend that one for people when they ask where they should go,” he says. “Those who feel like they have the basic handle on things can start with this option and skip the VCTA.”

Among the newer certification sets is VMware’s program for application modernization, designed to gauge skill levels by passing specialists exams, be it developer knowledge of specialized frameworks or administrator knowledge of emerging technologies like Kubernetes and containers.

+ VCP-AM: VMware Certified Professional 2022 ($250, 6 Months-2 Years)

Childs explains the VCP-AM certification validates a candidate’s expertise with Tanzu Standard Edition, including vSphere with Tanzu, Tanzu Kubernetes Grid and Tanzu Mission Control.

This certification also demonstrates fundamental cloud native skills including containerization, Kubernetes, and application modernization. “We have a unique developer audience, and so these application management certifications focus on platform management for those apps and to be able to manage them. It is more of an admin platform type of role, but the focus is on managing and migrating the applications from one cloud to a different clouds and be able to support and deliver that,” Childs adds.

Robert Half’s Matt Deneroff points out the steady increase in cloud computing has driven demand for cloud experts and, in turn, has encouraged tech professionals to attain certifications that help prove to potential employers that they know their stuff.

“It really depends on the level of professional you are,” he says. “If you’re entry-level in cloud computing, then the VMware certified associate will be important. If you are the design expert, the VCDX is going to be the one you want to go for.”

He says the VCP certification—VMware Certified Professional, which is at the second level up—is a great credential to earn because it demonstrates base knowledge of configuration and administration within VMware.

Deneroff adds that VMware certifications might not be necessary, strictly speaking, but there’s certainly no harm in targeting the certs that will add an extra line of expertise to your resume.

“It would really depend on your specific employer’s requirements for the position,” he explains. “As a general rule of thumb, the more advanced you are and the more certifications you have, the better.”

From Childs’ perspective, there are a few different reasons to get certified in VMware, pointing out those who are certified demonstrate higher productivity. “They close skill gaps faster or resolve cases and write faster, and they deliver more consistently,” he says. “From an individual perspective, to earn that certification provides a way for getting hired, of course, and then bonuses, raises, and additional responsibilities.”

Like Deneroff, Childs agrees the certs provide professional credibility for the individual. “We find that those who are trained and certified make the biggest impact,” he says. “It really does increase their skills, their proficiency, which again drives their earning potential.”