More and more companies are realizing the advantages of robust virtualization and cloud computing solutions for their enterprise networks, and earning VMware Certified Professional (VCP) status can help IT pros take a strong step forward into this field. For professionals looking to break into the virtualization segment--or for those hoping to advance their established IT careers, VCP certification might be just the right choice.
VCP certification training programs and exams
VCP certification focuses on the installation, management, and deployment of VMware vSphere 4, a data center solution with virtualization and private cloud computing capabilities. For those just getting started with VMware, training for VCP certification consists of one of the following courses:
- VMware vSphere: Advanced Fast Track
- VMware vSphere: Automation Fast Track
- VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage
- VMware vSphere: Bootcamp
- VMware vSphere: Troubleshooting
Each of these certification programs concentrates on different aspects of vSphere technology. Although only one completed program is necessary before candidates may take the VCP certification exam, ambitious professionals may complete as many of them as they deem necessary. Aside from the Troubleshooting course, which lasts four days, these programs take place over five-day periods and can be attended live online or in brick-and-mortar classroom environments.
Three of these programs--Automation Fast Track; Install, Configure, Manage; and Bootcamp--can be undertaken with the simple prerequisites of system administration experience and familiarity with coding or command-line execution. Both the Advanced Fast Track and Troubleshooting programs require students to have previously completed Install, Configure, Manage or other prerequisites before enrolling.
VCP certification in the workplace
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reports that the computer network, systems and database administration sector is expected to experience an employment increase of 30 percent between 2008 and 2018. Nearly 80,000 new jobs are expected for network and computer systems administrators alone.
Also according to the BLS, network and computer systems administrators earned a median annual wage of $69,610 in May 2010, with the top 25 percent of earners taking home around $87,000. The 2011 IT Skills and Salary Report published by TechRepublic.com and Global Knowledge indicates that professionals who complete a VCP certification program earn a mean annual salary of $87,151. These figures suggest that network and systems admins who become VMware certified can expect salaries in the upper range of their profession.