My VCAP5-DCD Testing experience
I recently took the VCAP5-DCD exam and wanted to write a brief summary on my experience. In case you are new to the VCAP certification track it stands for VMware Certified Advanced Professional. There are currently two VCAP options the DCD or Datacenter Design exam is focused specifically on designs around vSphere. I am proud to say that I passed the exam, it’s not something that I would have looked forward to taking again anytime soon.
This VCAP is focused on vSphere and vCenter 5 and the exam is made up of 100 questions and you have 4 hours. I heard a bunch of others state that they needed every minuted of the 4 hours and maybe even ran out of time. This is no joke, I remember being about an hour into the exam and I was only on question 10 or so. At this point I was like damn I’m never going to finish this at this rate. So I started speeding up my reading and trying to skim things more and answer without fully ready the stories. The questions on the VCAP5-DCD are pretty wordy, most questions have a lot of background information that you need to consider in your answer. It does help to be a fast reader which is something that I am not that good at. I did end up finishing the exam with about 5 minutes left.
The exam is made up partially of text based questions much like the VCP but are more design focused. Another type of question is the drag and drop type questions that will ask you to read about a design and place your answers based on the questions. Then there are several questions that are more of a Visio style where you have to actually diagram out your answer based on the requirements or question that was presented to you. I’ve heard many complain about these, I did not mind them and actually thought they were better than the drag and drop ones. Either way you will need to budget your time based on the style of questions. I sort of followed advice that others have said about answering all the text questions first, then do the drag and drops questions and finish up with the Visio ones with whatever time you have left over. I tried to follow this model but was not exact, I adjusted based on time and frustration.
Something that I hear asked a lot is what should I study to become a VCAP-DCD. I don’t believe that their as any book or class that you can take to prepare. Certainly some would help you, but since this is design focused exam. You really need to have worked in a role for some period of time that is design focused. Its not just about knowing every crazy detail about weird VMware settings, you have to understand how to design and work with customers. This is mostly something that comes with experience. This is not to say that if you work in an engineering or admin role that you could not pass the exam, its just not focused on those roles.
Anyway I am happy to be done with the exam for this version of vSphere and wish you good luck if you are preparing for a VCAP yourself. There are good resources out there like the Brownbag sessions that are lead by a number of smart community members.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design