VCDX – Levels and Focus

There are levels to this game. There is a significant amount of effort that goes into achieving your first VCDX, but I would argue that the level of effort and skill required for multi-VCDX is significantly more than the first. In addition, the amount of time for multi-VCDX is approximately 9-12 months of effort per track and it takes a laser focus to concentrate on the task at hand and ignore the “noise” around you.

List of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 80 posts)

Let me explain. Take the beginning of my VCDX journey for example, my core skills were server virtualization and physical networking: VCDX – My Journey. So it comes as no surprise that I completed VCDX-DCV (2014) and VCDX-NV (2015) in fairly quick succession. I was already very OCD with my VCDX documentation, so I was very confident when I submitted for VCDX-NV, I would pass (this was before the 60min remote session was introduced in 2016).

Enter VCDX-CMA (2016) and VCDX-DTM (2018), areas that I had a very basic level of knowledge in: VCDX – Journey to Triple VCDX (with NPX). Each one of these tracks was 12 months of consistent effort. I had to maintain a focus on achieving a set of tasks and goals over that period of time whilst maintaining a day job and a family life. It meant I had to cut out the noise and distraction of social media and new technology announcements to ensure I stayed on track.

If you are planning on multi-VCDX (or something similar), here are my recommendations on maintaining focus and ensuring you will achieve your goal in a timely fashion:

  • Minimize or completely eliminate your time on social media.
  • If you are a blogger, put blogging on hold until you achieve your VCDX goal.
  • Ignore the announcements of new technologies and products. Put them on a list to be investigated after you achieve your VCDX goal.
  • Maintain a list of detailed tasks that track your progress to achieving your VCDX goal. Update that task list as you progress. Be prepared for your knowledge areas to progress from zero to basic to advanced and then expert. It takes time and does not happen overnight, be patient.
  • Carve out time in your calendar for your VCDX task list. Make it a daily habit.
  • Load up your Ebook of choice with technology articles from your chosen VCDX track to read when you have free time.
  • Develop a pristine VCDX document set that hits every aspect of the blueprint – already covered here: VCDX – Submission Breakdown. You only have a 60min remote defense to cover any mistakes or gaps. You would surprised at how many people are still missing the fundamentals in their documentation, e.g. Bill of Materials, Naming Standard, Operational Readiness Assessment, RACI Matrix. As a multi-VCDX, you should be improving your documentation with each iteration. Do not expect the document standard of your first VCDX to be acceptable for multi-VCDX.
  • The VCDX rules of engagement allow up to 3 people to submit a joint VCDX application. Partner with people that complement your skill-set. This ensures you have expert level skills in your team to address each area of the blueprint: VCDX – Multi-VCDX Success.
  • For the 60min remote defense, use a full slide-deck that covers the entire blueprint: VCDX – The 60m Multi-VCDX Defence and VCDX – Remote Defense. In preparation, mock with industry experts to find holes in your game.
  • Use your favorite learning methods to up-skill. eg. VMware documentation, VMware training, VMware HOL, Home/Work Lab, VMworld session recordings, Podcasts, Blogs, Pluralsight, SME mentoring, etc.
  • Have fun with it, if you are not enjoying the process, it might be time for a break.

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