Name: Chris McCain
Twitter Handle: hcmccain
Current Employer: VMware
VCDX #: 79
How did you get into using VMware?
I was an independent contract trainer/consultant/author. I wanted to stay on the forefront of technology. I was impressed with my first experiences with VMware Workstation so after digging deeper into the GSX and ESX products I decided to engage VMware on the idea of providing training services. This led to wanting to publish a book, Mastering VMware Infrastructure 3, and thus began a career in virtualization.
What made you decide to do the VCDX?
I decided to do my VCDX to become the first US-based VMware Certified Instructor to also hold a VCDX as well as to jumpstart my consulting opportunities.
How long did it take you to complete the whole VCDX journey?
My VCDX project was in place for almost 2 years before I came to idea of submitting for the certification. After deciding on VCDX, I spent approximately 3 months finalizing the application and supporting documentation. In the month prior to my defense session I performed two mock defences with colleagues in order to ensure my presentation and my timing were sufficient.
What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing the VCDX accreditation?
The VCDX certification is not something you study for. It is not a set of skills that you learn in one week and then feel prepared. Your abilities as a design expert are crafted over your experiences in the field, in the classroom, in meeting rooms, or at conferences. There will be no question in your mind when you know you are ready to take that step to VCDX. There are many folks with technical expertise, those who know the products inside and out. But you have to be able to articulate that knowledge in an ad-hoc, shoot from the hip manner. Anyone pursuing the VCDX should practice delivering that information. Its easy to find opportunities to hone these skills. Leverage your existing job role to set appointments with customers to white board a solution architecture or teach your co-workers about a certain feature of a product.
If you could do the whole VCDX journey again what would you do differently?
Nothing. In my opinion, the two keys to a VCDX are; 1) technical knowledge and 2) presentation and delivery skills. My experience as a consultant and author prepared me from a technical perspective while my experience as a trainer prepared me from a delivery perspective.
I did do it again. I earned VCDX-NV in 2013.
I will do it again.
Life after the VCDX? How did your company respond? Was it worth it?
After my VCDX I found more opportunities for bigger projects where I played lead roles. My only regret on the VCDX is that I did not do it sooner. I could have been VCDX 007. 🙂