“Why certify?” is a question or discussion topic that pops up frequently in conversations (both online and in person). As with many things in the IT industry the answer is “it depends”. I know people who have every certification under the sun and equally talented people who haven’t sat an exam since leaving school.

Certifications don’t guarantee you a better job, more money, recognition or respect but there are situations in which they can be beneficial and I think that it’s better to have them under your belt and keep them up to date than have to scrabble around when you need some letters after your name. Yes it takes time and effort to gain and maintain certifications but therein also lies a worthy challenge.

VMware Certifications

Like many software vendors, VMware have their own program of certifications. They started things off in June 2003 with a written exam that conferred on successful candidates the status of VCP – VMware Certified Professional. The first person to pass the exam, Susan Gudenkauf (@susangude), still works for VMware.

Since that time VMware have moved to a computer based exam system (currently administered by Pearson Vue) and added a number of different exams including some integrated into their channel / partner system and many more aimed at specific technologies and disciplines.

(Joshua Andrews has written an interesting article describing a bit about how VMware exams are scored and how the passing score of “300” is measured.)

The non-exhaustive list below deals with some of the more commonly taken exams and also the ones that we here at vSpecialist have obtained or are working on.


This is usually the starting place for people on their VMware certification journey and also as far as many people go. The VCP exam is updated with each major release of VMware’s vSphere product.

See the VCP5-DCV Resources page for more about this exam.


The VMware Certified Advanced Professional Data Center Administration exam was introduced in 2010 and uses an automated lab environment to test candidates’ ability to manage and troubleshoot VMware virtual infrastructure.

Our VCAP5-DCA Resources page is coming soon.


The VMware Certified Advanced Professional Data Center Design exam builds on the VCP to test candidates’ abilities to make design decisions for various aspects of VMware virtual infrastructure provisioning.

See the VCAP5-DCD Resources page for more about this exam.

VSP5 / VTSP5 (Partner Exams)

The VMware Sales Professional (VSP) and VMware Technical Sales Professional (VTSP) qualifications are, as their names suggest, targeted at people whose main focus is sales. On their own they’re not really relevant to people who live in the vSphere Client / Web Client or one of the many CLI interfaces. The exams are fairly straightforward, free to sit (as long as you have a registered partner account) and can be taken anywhere and at any time. There are a number of video presentations in VMware’s partner site that cover the material needed to gain these qualifications and if you happen to work for a VMware Partner then they count towards your company’s partner status.