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Interview with Bill Ferguson, author of VCP5 Cert Guide

My friend Anne Martinez runs a great website called GoCertify.com, which reports on certification-related news and events, provides a monthly newsletter that tracks the certification industry, and is home to the best, most complete, and up-to-date database of IT certifications that I know of. During the week of September 25, 2012, she posted a very interesting interview with Bill Ferguson, a long-time VMware instructor and the author of the recently published (August 2012) Pearson/VMware Press book: The Official VCP5 Certification Guide. It’s definitely worth a visit, and a read, particularly for those considering a run at the popular and highly regarded VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 exam.

This full-length study guide covers all the ins and outs of the VCP5 exam.

In her interview with Ferguson, Martinez reports that he’s “…taught the VCP5 training course over 100 times”—no mean feat, considering it’s a 5-day class in its longest, most-detailed forms, and the exam has only been out for 14 months or so (my best guess is that he also taught some of these classes for VCP4 and perhaps even VCP3). The text of the interview addresses the reasons why candidates benefit from earning VCP5 credentials, and how best to prepare for the VCP510 exam. In so doing, it covers much of the same material that Ferguson also covers in the classroom teaching official VMware curriculum elements such as the vSphere 5.0 Install, Configure, and Manage and the vSphere 5.0 FastTrack classes. He also expresses the practical opinion that there’s no stimulus for taking the VCP5 exam (or other cert exams, in fact) like scheduling the exam for a definite data and time in a testing center. He also explains how the 60-day vSphere trial, combined with a PC or Mac running VMware workstation 8 for PC or Fusion for Mac provides a great platform for learning and practice with the target software tools and environments.

According to further discussion in the interview, The Official VCP5 Certification Guide has been “written…directly to the test blueprint, so that it covers all of the topics that the students/readers must learn to pass the VCP510 test. The VCP510 blueprint is valid until the next major revision of the software. vSphere 5.1 is not a major revision, so the VCP510 blueprint is still good for the VCP510 test even though vSphere 5.1 will soon be introduced to the market.” Ferguson goes on to recount that his book “…is like a one-on-one with the instructor that can be read and experience prior to attending class, but is probably likely to be reviewed after the class is over,” taking full cognizance of VMware’s requirement that class attendance is mandatory to sit for the VCP510 exam. He also relates that he has “…written hundreds of tricky-but-not-trick questions that are just like the kind they might find on the VCP510 test,” where the Premium edition of the book provides these questions “…on a very nice test engine so they can practice, practice, practice.” In my experience, this sort of practice and exposure helps candidates prepare for – and pass – technically demanding exams like this one. You’ll also want to read the interview to ponder Bill’s list of the five categories of questions most likely to produce positive exam results for students who learn them well.

If you are prepping for the VCP5 exam, you’ll probably also want to take a look at the Pearson IT Certification page for Ferguson’s book as well. Enjoy!