VCDX – Study Group Etiquette

It is commonly known that the best way to increase your chances of achieving the VCDX title is to join a Study Group, have your design reviewed by VCDX-level peers, participate in VCDX-level Mock Defences and be mentored by already qualified VCDXs.

With that being said, the Study Group is a symbiotic relationship where each participant is expected to contribute to the group and give as much as he or she receives.  There are no free rides.

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 70 posts)

Here is a list of common courtesies when participating in a Study Group that will ensure all attendees gain from the experience:

  • Attend each Study Group that is scheduled, commit your time to the process, particularly if the 60 day countdown to the D-Day has started.  This is especially true when the session being held is within your area of expertise.
  • Contribute to group discussions, do not “lurk” in the background silently absorbing information, that is parasitical behaviour.
  • Think for yourself, the VCDX is about the journey where you learn and absorb lessons from your own mistakes, sweat and effort.
  • Do not ask for an answer to every question asked, it is bad form and can be construed as coasting or lurking.  Make a note of the question, research it and if you cannot find an answer, query it at the next session.
  • Make sure you prepare yourself for the agreed Study Group schedule.  If a session is about presenting your design, then make sure you have a Powerpoint document to present; if the session is about networking, then make sure you have a set of networking questions to test the group.
  • If you peer review design documents and then incorporate parts of another candidate’s design into your own without acknowledgement or reference, that is called plagiarism.
  • A standard practice is to list the reviewers of your VCDX submission; do not list a person’s name if they did not review your documentation.
  • If you think you can coast and then win the VCDX on the sweat of others, it will be an empty victory that you and your peers will be aware of.

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Chief Enterprise Architect and Strategist, 4xVCDX#133, NPX#8, DECM-EA.