Hold both a CCIE and VCP


A while back I brought the VMWare vSphere training videos from TrainSignal.  I was surprised to see the instructor had both his CCIE and VCP.

These two certifications are probably the most highly sought certifications in the IT industry.  I remember the horror stories of people trying to write the CCIE and their many failed attempts.  I even had delusions grandeur considering going for the certification myself.  I soon discovered I didn’t have the love for networking needed to commit to the certification.  It may no longer be the guaranteed meal ticket it once was but it’s still a highly sought certification.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a huge uptick in the number of job postings looking for a VCP.  The VCP is a difficult certification to achieve. The candidate has to take an official VMWare course which could be a minimum of a $2500 investment.   As a result many self-taught people (such as me) are filtered out from being able to sit for the exam.

I did a quick search on Theladders.com for the keywords “CCIE” and “VCP”.  I found it interesting and not at all surprising that the hiring companies for both certifications were primarily IT service providers, or telco’s in the case of the CCIE.  However, the CCIE still carries a bit of weight in the enterprise.  I saw several job posts for fortune 500/non-IT companies such as GMC and financial institutions looking for candidates with the CCIE.  It still may be a couple of years before the same can be said of the VMware certifications

I don’t know how practical it is to hold both certifications.  I believe virtualization has grown into its own category/discipline within the IT industry.  VMware even offers a CCIE like certification in the VCDX.  There are obviously some synergies between the disciplines and advantages to being certified in both.  I’ve studied and obtained Cisco certifications in the past and it takes a great deal of regular hands on experience to maintain the CCNA and CCNP let alone the CCIE and VCP.

I’m of the opinion that a combination of VCP, CCNA/CCNP and a storage certification would be more valuable and maintainable for an infrastructure engineer/architect than the combination of the CCIE and VCP.  It’s my experience that from a practical knowledge perspective an infrastructure architect doesn’t need to be an expert in all three areas (Virtualization, Disk, and Network) but rather an expert in one area and strong in the other two.  It will be a rare and undesirable situation where one person would be called upon to be the SME for all three disciplines.

This topic has made me look at my bookshelf and think about dusting off my CCNP study guides.  I’m glad that the taught has passed.

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