Continuing education and certifications are required in just about any industry, and IT is no exception. There are plenty of reasons to invest in yourself in the time to study and take exams.
- Partnership requirements with your company
- Proven expertise in an area of practice for client well-being
- Greater worth as an employee due to industry certifications showing technical expertise
Each company defines their own set of rules for the certifications they offer. Microsoft exams do not necessarily expire, but in order to stay current on the certification, you may be required to take an additional exam.
VMware prior to 2014 did not require any type of recertification in order to maintain a certification title, namely for its very popular VCP certification (VMware Certified Professional). However, effective March 10, 2014 that changed, and VMware put in an aggressive 2-year expiration on any and all certifications. In order to maintain an active standing as a VCP, individuals would need to take and pass an exam in the upgrade path for that exam or become a VCP in another track (think Horizon desktop (VCP-DT)) if already certified in Datacenter (VCP-DCV).
VMware was aggressively pushing out new versions of their flagship product, vSphere ESX/ESXi.
- ESX 3.5 – 12/31/2007
- ESXi 4.0 – 5/21/2009 (17 months later)
- ESXi 4.1 – 7/13/2010 (14 months later)
- ESXi 5.0 – 8/24/2011 (13 months later)
- ESXi 5.1 – 9/11/2012 (13 months later)
- ESXi 5.5 – 9/22/2013 (13 months later)
- ESXi 6.0 – 3/12/2015 (18 months later)
- ESXi 6.5 – 11/15/2016 (19 months later)
- ESXi 6.7 – 4/17/2018 (17 months later)
When VMware made the decision in March 2014 to make recertifications required every two years, VMware was on an average 13 month life cycle of releases of new versions. Two years didn’t seem so outrageous. However, in that same period between 2013 and 2015, the average release went from every 13 months to every 18 months. There was now a very real possibility of someone renewing their certification in April 2015, would need to recertify by April 2017, but the new version of the product had only been available for 4 months. This doesn’t give VMware much opportunity to create training for the product or even create the exam for the new product. There were instances where people took the exact same exam they had taken almost 2 years prior in order to keep their certification from expiring.
VMware also actively supports their latest 3 versions. Currently, ESXi, 6.7, 6.5, and 6.0 are supported by VMware. ESXi 6.0 was released over 3 years ago. This means that companies can still be running ESXi 6.0, and be supported by VMware, but if they were certified in ESXi 6.0 in 2015, their certifications would have expired. Why would a system admin who supports ESXi 6.0 have a need to get certified on ESXi 6.5? They wouldn’t have an imminent need, and their certification would expire.
So, what’s the big deal if a VMware VCP certification expires? To discuss that, you must know that if you do not currently hold a VMware VCP certification you must take either the in person or On-Demand class from VMware that retails at $4,250. If you recertify within 2 years, you are not required to ever take the class again.
However, if your VCP certification expires, even by one day, you are required to take the current class as if you were not certified before at all. Instead of just the $250 for the exam fee, individuals are looking at another $4,250 for another class plus the $250 exam fee.
VMware decided to make a change, and effective February 5, 2019, removed the mandatory 2 year recertification requirement. This means that someone with a VCP 5 that may have expired 3 years ago, is not expired any longer. The exam to become a VCP 5 is retired and no longer available, but you are no longer plagued with an expired certification. For example, say you with your VCP 5 certification finally upgraded your company’s infrastructure to VCP 6.x. Now it would be nice to have an active certification on the version you are supporting but until now it would have meant the company would have to justify spending another $4,250 per person for the class plus the cost of their admin being away from work for a week. This is equating the seasoned IT admin with someone brand new to the technology, who has never been certified in VMware. It seems unnecessary if they already know what they are doing and actively supporting their new environment. It could make the certification less justifiable to the company.
My VMware VCP6-DCV was set to expire March 2, 2019 this year and I was already actively studying to renew it when I received notice, so I decided to continue with the study. I was welcomed with the new naming convention of tacking the year onto the certification name and removing the version number from inside the certification name and now hold the VCP-DCV 2019 certification.
For more details, VMware has released an FAQ on their decision to rollback their recertification policy.
You might imagine if someone did spend the $4,250 recently to take the class due to an expired certificate, they might not be too happy with VMware’s change. VMware has tried to make accommodations for such individuals by allotting them a one-year premium license to the VMware Learning Zone. Also, if someone has a VCP5 certification (now not expired), they can upgrade directly to the current certification instead of doing the stepwise path previously required.
What other technology topics are top of mind for you? Leave a comment or contact us with questions you have about your IT strategy and environment.