My VCDX Journey – VCDX #175

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the VMware Certified Design Expert community. Your VCDX number is 175.”

That email was the culmination of a goal that I had set for myself 21 months prior, with 12 months of continuous effort to accomplish.  It still, 3 weeks later, has not completely sunk in that I met my goal.


Why Did I Do the VCDX?

I get this question a lot from people due to the work and number of hours involved.  Really, it was purely a personal goal.  When I joined VMware in December of 2012 and I learned more about it, it was a challenge that really spoke to me.  Did I have what it takes to be one of the select few to hold the VCDX?  I wanted to prove to myself that I was.

A big side benefit of going through the VCDX that I did not expect, the amount I learned in the process.  It is really immeasurable, so much so that it has drastically changed the way I talk to my customers in a pre-sales role.  Everything from methodology to getting into the weeds on some the tech, I took a lot away from this experience.  It was a lot of effort to complete this goal, but it was worth every bit.


A Lot of People to Thank

The biggest thanks, without a doubt, must go to my amazing wife.  She supported my goal from the start, all of the late nights studying leading up to the VCDX, then into the design work and through two defenses.  To top it off, after failing my first defense, she canceled our family vacation so I could focus on a second attempt at the October defenses.  I could have absolutely not done this without her support.

A special thanks has to go to Sean Howard (VCDX #130) who was my unofficial mentor.  He helped me starting with my VCAPs, then I assisted him on doc review and mock defenses through his VCDX.  This experience was invaluable in completing mine, along with his constant assistance along the way.

A thanks to my official mentors Tom Ralph and Matrin Hosken, both of you helped to provide valuable insight that helped me through the process.

Cambridge Defenders.  The study group of 6, of which I was the only one not to pass (Boo!).  Joe Clarke, Robert Quast, Niran Even-Chen, Agustin Malanco, and Joseph Griffiths.  Our prep was fun, but not nearly as fun my mock defense with being grilled by 5 VCDX’s!

Palo Alto Defenders.  Jason Shiplett, Rob Nolan, and Jason Shiponik.  With additional help from Derek Seaman.  That was a great weekend guys and those mocks were tougher than the real thing.

Also to everyone else who did doc reviews and mock defenses in their spare time.  Thank you!


What’s Next?

Lots of nothing!  This year has been a blur… On top of the all the VCDX work with two defenses, we were renovating and selling our existing home, then building our new home.  In between defenses our house sold early, so we had to cram our lives into storage units while we moved to a temp location until our new house is ready.  So yeah… I am going to sit back, take it easy, and start working on my website to give back to the community.

I have been asked, “VCDX-NV Next?”.  To which I will quote my wife’s response to that inquiry, “I will punch you in the face.”  Needless to say I will consider it sometime next year, but taking a bit of break, for now.


VCDX Mentoring

UPDATED – 02.18.15 – As a panelist I cannot be a mentor, but it does not me I cannot be an adviser.  If you are looking for details on the VCDX, talk about the experience, or just general architectural discussion, please contact me.  I am more than happy to help!  See my Contact section for details.


Next Post Coming

My first piece in paying it forward to others working towards the VCDX is all that I learned in going through it and two defenses.  What I learned in my first attempt, how I applied that to my second defense and improving myself.  I hope all that I learned and all that I went through will help others in their journey to obtain the VCDX.  Watch for it as it will be coming very soon.


4 Thoughts on “My VCDX Journey – VCDX #175

  1. Glad you made it Joe. I am hoping more people pick up on how VCDX has made you more effective in a pre-sales role! This was one of the primary design goals of the program – building front-line, customer-facing solution design and delivery expertise that drives adoption.

    • Thanks Mark! It was a great experience, albeit stressful at times, but it was worth every bit. Now my hope is to help the community both in understanding the benefit and helping others who wish to chase it themselves!

  2. Joe
    Great post. Really glad you made it. If I remember right your wife was going to cut you then me for suggesting another vcdx. This morning I was reading with my 4 year old and amazed how she was able to remember reading words she learned 10 seconds before. To her the world is full of things to learn. She learns at such an incredible pace compared to me. Vcdx forced me to learning at that pace. Afterwards I tried to slow down but found my self looking for the next forced learning experience, hence omw to next vcdx. I have slowed down my pace to spend more time with family. I hope you will be able to enjoy the slow down. Don’t be surprised to find vcdx has changed you more than you expect. Either way I am better for having joined you in the journey and call me anytime you are in central Ohio.


    • I am enjoying the fact I don’t need to squeeze VCDX stuff into everything else going on between our house and work. It is nice to be able to take a few moments to catch my breath, though I am already looking for the next challenge!

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