I still consider myself a youngster in the VCDX community. I’m not the FNG anymore since there was another two groups to certify after the VMworld SFO 2013 group that I was in. Prior and after my own VCDX process I have been lucky enough to work with some great people on their VCDX journeys and though I would write a short post on how it helps me improve as a VCDX.
With these VCDX preparation activities I think that I have benefited greatly from this interaction also. There has been a good amount of talk on twitter by many around some of the work that John Arrasjid and the VMware certification has been working on. John’s goal is to enable the community both partners and customers during their VCDX journey.
VCDX pay it forward
How does it help others?
This is probably sort of obvious, others that are preparing for their VCDX submission or defense should be seeking out help in their preparations. This is commonly done at those to major points. The first would be in preparing for their design submission, during this phase the person is documenting their design and supporting implementation and process steps. During this phase they are looking for feedback on their design choices and documentation formatting.
There are of course rules and guidelines that must be followed when helping others, you cannot give away secrets that you might have learned. What is helpful is working with applicants to make sure they are able to articulate their design vision so that others reading without any background can understand.
The other major phase would be in the form of mock defense panels. This would be find a few people that would server as panelists that you as the applicant will present your design to. The panelists would then ask you questions that are prepared and ones that come up in the process about the applicants presentation. This helps them be more prepared for the actual VCDX defense process.
How does it help me as a VCDX?
This part is what I really wanted to talk about, I think the previous items are pretty well known by most already. In doing this I hope to help show value for both sides in this type of interaction and building a stronger design community.
For myself I think that I benefit from helping others in both reviewing design documents and mock panels. I sort of enjoy reviewing other design documents, they can be very interesting some times. They allow me to get visibility to types of projects that I might not otherwise get to work on personally. During the reviews I also get to see design choices that others are making and why they might be making those choices. This helps to create questions and compare to reasons I might have made the same or different choices in the past. Its also helpful to see how someone might diagram a certain aspect of a design. An example would be maybe someone has done a very well job at diagraming a specific blade server network architecture, these can spark the creative juices and drive me to look at new ways to improve myself.
The mock panel discussions have also helped me in multiple ways. Before I successfully completed my own VCDX defense I helped others with mock panels, this helped my when it came time for my own defense. Moving forward there is still benefit to gain by participating in panels, much like what I talked about in the design review. I think that its helpful and a good learning process to verbally interact with others on their panels. This helps me become a better investigator to root out and discover technical details that might be hiding, there is also the opportunity to learn from the questions that other mock panelists answer.
I think that this whole process will continue to help me improve as a VMware architect. They will help me communicate and document better that my customers will benefit from.
My time like others is a premium, between family, work and other activities there is only a small amount of time left over for these types of activities. But I personally intend on working with others as time permits, the benefit has been worth the time to this point and I only hope that the others benefited as much as I did in the process. So when I have time and the right individuals approach I will try to help. I do try to vet out the requests, ensuring that the person is fully committed and far enough along in their process to warrant the commitment from my side.