VMWare is the leading supplier of desktop, data center, and application virtualization in the world. It is widely considered to be one of the most innovative companies in the virtualization industry. As proof of the company's importance, VMWare's IT certifications rank among industry leaders like Cisco, Microsoft, and Oracle as those most likely to deliver career advancement.

If you are an IT professional looking to advance your career, then you have probably consider the VMWare certification. Be forewarned, however, that the exam is not easy. In fact, the difficulty of the exam is part of the reason it is so highly valued. Employers know that a VMWare certified professional can be trusted to know the technology inside and out. Those kinds of credentials doesn't come easily. So, if you are interested in becoming VMWare certified, implement the following eight tips to help you on your journey.

Understand VMWare Certification

VMWare certification used to be straightforward. In fact, a single certification once covered all of VMWare's products. The company decided, wisely, that such a simple certification scheme was not appropriate for its complex product line. The good news is that the change adds value to VMWare certification. The bad news is that the change also adds confusion.

There are four different certification levels at VMWare and several different tracks that can be followed. There are four tracks at the associate level and three at the professional, advanced, and expert levels. You can learn more about the types of certifications available and how each one opens up different opportunities by consulting the VMWare Certification Roadmap. Whatever certification path you choose to follow, be sure to investigate thoroughly what it qualifies you to do, how much demand there is for it, and what future certification opportunities it opens up.

Find a Good Course

Data Mix (PD)There is an abundance of material to know for any IT exam. Having a structured path to follow that not only distills the information down to the absolute essentials, but also presents it in a measured, digestible format is invaluable. Look through courses, like those offered by Countrywide Training, to find one that suits your needs in terms of the training if offers, location of classes, and cost. Training courses may be expensive, but they can help to guarantee success on an exam that will earn you raises, promotions, and respect. They are well worth the cost when directed by a reputable source.

Download and Study the Exam Blueprint

VMWare offers blueprints for all of its exams. These are actually maps that guide you through the exact topics that will be covered. Blueprints also tell you what qualifications you should meet to do well on exam as well as what training courses are appropriate for preparing for the exam. The blueprint is just what it says, a blueprint for exam success.

Read the Documents Listed in the Blueprint

This may seem like something that doesn't need to be stated, but you'd be surprised by just how many people gloss over the references in a blueprint. Remember that the blueprint is your road map to success. If it references a specific document, then you would be well served to read that document. Chances are good that it contains highly pertinent exam material. In fact, the documents referenced by the blueprint may be referred to by name on the exam. If that isn't enough to convince you of their importance, know that you will need to understand these documents to do your job well and to converse about VMWare topics with colleagues. Don't skip the referenced documents.

Read, Listen, Review

There are loads of resources to help you succeed on the exam (many of them are provided by VMWare itself). Use these resources. In fact, don't just use them, use them and reuse them and reuse them. Listen to recordings while in the car, watch videos during breaks, and review the material any time you can. Taking a course gives you access to distilled material and to people who understand it, but it is up to you to do what is necessary to remember it.

Hands-On Practice

It cannot be emphasized enough that you must get practice with real VMWare software and equipment. In many cases the products are too expensive to obtain on your own, which is why a course is so helpful. The right course will not only provide classroom instruction, it will also ensure that you gets lots of hands-on time with real VMWare products. Because the tests include practical and simulated work with real equipment, it is essential that you get hands-on practice.

Pace Yourself

For most people, unless they are involved in a boot camp training course, preparing for an exam is marathon and not a sprint. Don't try to do too much at once or cram immediately before the exam. Your course will provide a time frame for studying and though you should feel free to modify to suit your needs, don't overexert yourself or make extreme changes. Remember that you want to retain this information not just for the exam, but for every day that you are the job.

Take the Exam

This sounds like a ridiculous tip, but some people get worked up and choose not to take the exam for fear of failure. Don't do that. If you have studied and followed the plan outlined in your course, then you are prepared. The night (or two) before the exam, be sure to sleep well, relax, and let your brain recover. You'll enter the exam refreshed and ready to succeed.

Just Study

That really is it. Follow that eight steps above and you'll be VMWare certified sooner than you can imagine. Remember that you are an IT professional and that this material is exactly what you need to succeed in your chosen career. Enjoy the process and the rewards it brings. If you enjoy the studying and learning, then you won't have any trouble with the exam.

By Travis Adams

Travis has a passion for IT. He enjoys blogging about training and career advancement strategies.

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