IT skills: Which gap to fill?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Regarding this nice article, I read while ago from Eric Shanks: https://theithollow.com/2018/03/26/fill-skills-tank/.

I decided to write about it as it’s always in my mind since he published it. In particular, I will talk about what we should learn in order to fill a gap for a position/job in any technology and my experience.

Which path to choose?

I started learning Microsoft (MS) products and then I learned other technologies like Virtualization, Cloud, Storage, etc. In any case, you don’t have to worry about which would be your first technology because you can move later if you realize it doesn’t fit you.

For example, you can start learning Linux  (I hope I had taken that path!) instead of Windows and then move to Windows or learning about Storage, any path would be correct as long as you continue to learn the same technology or a new one.

When you start learning, you have an idea of what do you want to learn: Network, Cloud, Storage, etc. and then try to master that technology or move on to another one. Hence, you must start somewhere in order to grow your knowledge and then, you will decide which technology or technologies do you want to focus on.

As soon as you start you will notice if you like or not, but choose one!

Knowledge lost as a tank with a leak.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Eric Shanks mentioned in his blog https://theithollow.com/2018/03/26/fill-skills-tank/ , is like filling a tank (which drains as time passes by) with your knowledge:

When you learn a new topic it stays in your mind (won’t drain) as long as you keep using it, hence you will gain different levels of knowledge within the topic, in some years maybe you will achieve an advance and then maybe an expert level or maybe not, as not everyone has the ease to learn things. Also, remember that to maintain a certain level you must update your wisdom (due to the topic is always acquiring new updates or features) about the topic and therefore more effort and time to put on.

You can try to learn other things and try to earn the same level of knowledge in each one but, it can be tough to do…You must spend a lot of time updating the different topics and to maintain it. So, we should try to fill our tank with the knowledge we really want or desire (by testing, reading, writing, etc.), in this way, we could maintain a great level of wisdom but, nothing is more useful than practising!

In my personal experience, when you are learning something new (by reading or watching videos) at the end, there is nothing more useful than practising it in a lab, even if you know the steps.

It’s really a way to ingrain in your mind those steps and if you fail when deploying a new product or feature it’s even better 🙂

Filling the gap, but which?

This is what I really wanted to talk.

Sometimes, it can be really hard to achieve a new position because you notice that there are some gaps between your skills and the desired position/job.

About dream jobs…

For example, if your dream position is to be a Technical Architect, you must be good enough in a lot of topics (networking, storage, virtualization, soft skills, etc.) but, can be very difficult to earn expertise on each area(without mentioning the soft skills needed).

As you know, each matter has sub-matters, for example,  if you want to learn VMware, you can learn the Server virtualization platform (vSphere) but, there are other areas like Storage virtualization platform (vSAN) and Network virtualization and Security platform (NSX) for example.

So, here we see that you can be an expert on vSphere but, a lot of positions will demand that you know about vSAN or NSX for example, and you spent a lot of time and effort on being a great expert on vSphere.Then,  do you really need to gain an advanced level before applying to a position that requires it?

Well, it depends, you should figure it out with the Recruiter but at least earn an entry level in the skills that the job requests.

We can conclude that to achieve that position, you must do an approach to each technology so, it usually takes a lot of years of experience and learning

About filling the gap

Another example, if you are a Windows Administrator and now you want to learn about Azure, well, it’s related to Microsoft but it’s different than learning about an another OS. In this case, you should gain knowledge in areas like Storage, Networking and maybe some coding skills.

Hence, we can conclude that you should try to learn at least a bit of every technology (related to your main knowledge) and trying to maintain/update your knowledge in those areas.

Also, bear in mind that the more you learn about different topics, the more you “lose” in other ones, so, my personal advice is to stay close of what do you want to learn and don’t be shy to learn about what you don’t.

 

 

 

 

VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam experience

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Hi! I am going to talk about my VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam experience.

I thought about making a huge post about the VCAP6-DCV experience (resources, notes, etc.) but, I don’t want to overwhelm you know. Hence, I am going to make another post for that, hence this post will be shorter and more readable.

1st attempt (Java error at the beginning)

At September, 21st I sat down to take my first attempt in a VCAP exam. I was confident because I was studying the previous 10 weeks approximately and I covered all the objectives.

Well, my exam was scheduled at 10:00 AM, I sat down and my exam starts. The interface is exactly the same as the HOLs, so, if you familiarized with it, you will gain a lot of time!

The lab was deploying and the manual on the right side showed some information but as soon as the lab finishes to deploy…bum!

A Java error appeared: Java error: Unhandled Exception, then I pressed OK and my exam finishes itself!

I contacted the TA and she told me that my exam was finished, and I was like “What? In 2 minutes?”. After spending some hours with Pearson VUE, the TA (Test Administrator) opened a case with Pearson VUE and I left the Test Center.

I left with a feeling that this test center has serious issues, the TA didn’t know how to speak in English (I was taking it in Barcelona, Spain) and finally, I ended talking my self with Pearson VUE and explaining the problem. They couldn’t do anything as my exam was finished (it wasn’t my fault obviously)

A week later I received a voucher code for my crashed exam.

2nd attempt (Manual stuck in loading)

This second attempt was scheduled at October, 5th. I rescheduled in another Test Center as I didn’t trust the TA for that Test Center.

The problem you face with the VCAP exams is that they are delivered in fewer Test Centers, therefore, there are  less available spots to take it. I found another Test Center here in Barcelona, so I scheduled there even I didn’t know that one.

Well, my exam started at 10:00 am, the server’s console loaded correctly after the lab was deployed (nice!) but, the manual didn’t appear, there was only a grey window without content.

After waiting for 5 minutes, I spoke with the TA, and he told me to wait another 5 minutes. So, as expected, the manual was stuck loading and even trying to stop and start the exam didn’t fix the problem.

Hence, the TA contacts Pearson VUE and Pearson VUE fixed the problem this time! But what happened with all the time I lost in my exam? Well, the TA told me Pearson VUE would contact with VMware and the time will be added meanwhile I am taking it.

At that time, the exam started again but I had a weird feeling about.

In the exam, I finished writing down each question number and a brief description on the erasable board, in this manner, I could check quickly which questions I can take first and cross out which I have done.

It was curious that at times, backspace and shift keys worked in Putty. Also, occasionally, during 5-10 minutes I experienced quite delay with the Web Client. I continued with the exam, contacted with the TA about the time but no response from Pearson VUE and time was running out…

The time isn’t going to be added, hence, I had to left like 4 or 5 empty questions because I didn’t have more time (I lost 30 minutes) and the exam finalizes automatically.I felt bad because the 30 mins. would be nice to try other questions.

After that, I spoke with the TA and he opened a case with Pearson VUE about the time lost. One hour later, I received my score report, 278/500 (almost got it!).

After a few days, Pearson VUE reviewed my case and, as I was close to passing the exam (remember that you need 300/500), I suppose they decided to give me another voucher code, so I felt good about the free re-schedule but bad for the score and the time lost.

3rd attempt (Redeployed lab and final attempt)

Well, this is really a lie, because I “took” 2 exams in a row. Let me explain…

On October, 16th, my exam was scheduled at 10:00 AM, I studied a bit the previous night just to remember some things. My last attempt was 11 days ago and I was focused on other things so, it’s always good to brush up some concepts.

Well, the exam started and the lab was deploying itself… then, it appeared a notification like “Query not found”. This time the manual loaded correctly, but the pop-up appeared all the time, appearing and disappearing, and the console didn’t load as the error appears instead.

Therefore, the TA contacted Pearson VUE and for my surprise, Pearson VUE this time could contact VMware quite fast. The TA told me that VMware was going to redeploy another lab (Now my time wasn’t wasted at all!) and I could try in 30 minutes.

Finally, I tried again and it worked correctly, the manual and console loaded correctly so, I took the exam. The connection seemed a bit better so I can’t complain about. Also, the backspace and shift keys worked as in my previous exam, therefore, I took advantage of it.

Now, I tried to answer all questions (I left 1 answer empty because I didn’t want to lose more time) and I finished my exam (well the lab finished and it closes automatically) with a good feeling.

In 1 hour approximately I received the email and…a PASS! Couldn’t be happier! Finally, a full exam without issues made me pass the exam!

Conclusion

I can do a recap of what I learned about my experience with that exam and all the issues I experienced:

  • If you have any problem, contact your TA, don’t waste time to wait for the manual or console to load.
  • Test if backspace and shift keys work! I was concerned that these keys were blocked but I was able to use it and avoid the On-Screen keyboard, maybe it can work for you.
  • Manage your time, manage your time. Everything you will read about this exam (or new ones) is about managing your time and I couldn’t agree more.
  • Use the erasable board! I used to write down each question number and a brief description, it helped me to know if I was running out of time and focus in the “easy” questions.
  • Be aware of the dates, it was like a month ago since I scheduled the first attempt, so, if you are going to take it because your certification is expiring, be sure to schedule it in advance.

I am not going sugar coat the fact that I was happy with the exam’s delivery because I suffered many issues…but, finally, with some patience it was paid-off.

I hope this can be helpful for someone and I will write another post about the resources and how I prepared my self about this exam.

 

Thanks for reading!

Dan Belmonte

VCP6-DCV achieved!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I am going to start talking about the exam VCP6-DCV from VMware. The main resource you should use is the VMware site: http://bit.ly/1PLshWR

There you can check a path to achieve VCP6-DCV (there is a newer version VCP6.5-DCV). I took path 1, as I wasn’t certified.

Later, I took one official training course, VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V6].

Next, I passed the vSphere 6 Foundations Exam (2V0-620) months ago and finally I did VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (2V0-621).

And finally, last week I passed!

The first exam is an introduction of VMware and I didn’t find it difficult. The second one is more difficult and there is a lot of content to study..

Here you have a list of the resources I used for VCP6-DCV (2V0-621):

Paid resources:

You can use the free trial period and try to study as faster as you can.

Free resources:

But, In fact, what really helped me was to do the Hands-on-Lab (HOLs) and test things in my own lab (create your own ESXi hosts, vCenter, create a cluster, test DRS, HA, FT and so on).

And well, that’s all!