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VCP, VCDX losing value, survey says

VMware certifications may still look good on your resume, but the value of some has plummeted.

The value of the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) has decreased 12.5% in the past six months, and the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) has gone down 22.2%, according to Foote Partners surveys.

These results are significant downgrades with several likely causes, CEO David Foote said. For one, it’s common for the value of a certification to spike and then lose value over time as the supply of workers with that expertise catches up to the demand, he said — especially when a vendor and training companies push it so aggressively, as is the case with VMware.

“People see [certifications] as a career extension or a place to go for job security, so they go out and get certified,” he said, but the mad rush ends up devaluing the certification in the end.

Another reason for the decreased value may be that some VMware certifications are just too easy to get, Foote said. For example, you can take the VCP exam over and over (after a seven- to 10-day waiting period) if you don’t pass the first time.

“I’m just appalled at how easy it is to get these certifications,” Foote said. “There’s a reason they’re losing value.”

Still, “no one is going to tell you VMware certifications aren’t a great thing to have,” he said.

Does experience count for anything?

The value of general virtualization certifications — how much they add to IT pros’ salaries — have seen no change over the last three months, according to the skills surveys.

As the value of virtualization certifications plateaus, employers are more interested in workers’ field experience and non-certified skills, such as expertise with a specific platform or hypervisor. In fact, of all the virtualization certifications Foote tracks, the only one that’s gained value in the last year is the Citrix Certified Integration Architect — which requires real-world experience designing a virtual infrastructure in addition to an exam.

The value of hypervisor skills

IT pros with Microsoft Hyper-V expertise receive 6% to 10% of their base pay specifically for that skill, according to Foote Partners quarterly surveys. Citrix Systems XenServer also gets 6% to 10%, and VMware ESX/ESXi skills rake in slightly more, at 7% to 11% of base pay. (These percentages represent a pay premium, or value, that employers assign to specific skills. They may offer this to employees in a lump sum, as a bonus, or embed it in their salary.)

As multi-hypervisor virtual infrastructures become more common, Foote said employers are especially interested in multi-skilled workers. And with the economy slipping again, virtualization certifications could heat back up, he said.

“Virtualization is an absolute no-brainer if you want to save money,” he added.

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