In the last blog post I wrote about my VCDX Journey I was in the week before submitting my actual complete VCDX submission kit. A lot happened since then, which finally resulted in the number I was striving for so hard! For me it has become number #290.
In the weeks before the actual submission date of the 26th of June 2020 I really worked my ass off which resulted in a submission kit that was finished a few days prior to actual deadline day. Since then, I needed to wait for VCDX program to initially accept my submission package. In the first phase they are not checking your documentation set on technical level but more from a document requirements perspective. On the 2nd of July I got the e-mail that my complete submission package met all the requirements and was allowed to go through the technical review.
At that time It was still a long run towards the actual defense week (14th September). I needed to begin with preparing my presentation, although I was not sure I even was allowed to defend my design. I had a hard time starting with the presentation itself, during summertime, busy on projects an so forth. In the meantime It was already in the beginning of August when I got the confirmation e-mail of the VCDX program; I was invited to defend my design in front of three panelist. However, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic I was either forced to do a remote defense or postpone this to December. I decided to go for the remote defense. Some people told me this could not be the best choice since I did not have any experience with a VCDX defense yet, and a remote defense will make this probably more challenging. But I still decided to go for it, since the design and customer meetings were still fresh in my head which is really important.
At the time I knew that I was allowed to defend my design in front of three VCDX certified panelist the clock was ticking. I did not have a specific time slot yet, but I knew I had only 4/5 weeks to work on my slide deck and start doin mock defenses.
Initially I made sure that I was 100% confident and happy about my slide deck, together with my VCDX mentor I had some sessions while working and shaping the presentation. Did some dry runs myself, and started feeling confident enough to plan my first Defense Mocks. I started reaching to people on twitter and on the VCDX Prep Group Slack Channel. If you are interested on joining? Please do not hesitate to contact @GreggRobertson5 on twitter. For me the VCDX prep group was fun but also a place where I learned the most during mocks from other people.
My first (defense) mock was two weeks prior to my actual defense. And that first mock was a real eye-opener for me. It was a hard one, but very good one because I thought; Yeah.. I definitely need to improve in order to shine during my actual defense. I must say the I learned my weak spots and each and every mock defense after that I felt more and more confident.
Besides the mocks I did for the defense, I also planned some mocks for the scenario part during the VCDX defense. This is for most people, and also for me the hardest part since you can’t really prepare 100% since you don’t know what kind of scenario you will get. However, practicing a lot with role playing panelist helped me a lot to at least score enough points to get my number. So I highly encourage everyone that is striving for the VCDX title to do so.
In the end I planned and run 6 defense mocks and 5 scenario mocks within the last two weeks before my defense. For most people this sounds stressful, and although it were a few very stressful weeks it worked for me! But it might be better to take more time than 4/5 weeks on prepping your prezo and doin all the mocks.
In those last 4 weeks before the defense I also had a lot of chats and sessions with my buddy Chris Noon. That was helpful, but even more fun. And now after we both have done our defenses, seeing that he has achieved his VCDX title as well (VCDX #289) gives me a great pleasure. Even after our defenses while we still were waiting on the results we spoke a lot with each other and supported each other in that nerve-wrecking period.
Then…. There it is.. That e-mail that you have been waiting for so long. I’ve got the e-mail on the 22nd of September, almost one week after my defense. I was looking at it, and first did not dare to open it. When I gathered all the courage to open the email on my iPhone the first thing I saw was ‘that’ number; #290 And without having read the email I was jumping around like a moron. That feeling, that you achieved the goal you have been working for so hard and so long is wonderful. And still enjoy every moment of it.
Now I have achieved my goal; becoming a VCDX with the help of a lot of people I really want to give this back to other people who are willing to go for this certification. You need a mentor for your journey towards that elusive title or just want to have chat about it? Please reach out to me and I am happy to help!
One last thing I would like to add is that it took a lot of private time, a lot of dedication and a lot effort. But it was completely worth it, even if I had failed for whatever reason. Because on the Journey itself I learned so much, and also have met new and awesome people from the VMware community.
At the end of this blog, a special shoutout to my VCDX mentor Abdullah Abdullah. I learned a lot from him, and could not have done it on this level without his help. Thanks! So much appreciated.
Until another one…..