VCAP-DTA exam experience

Last year I had sat VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop Design (VCAP-DTD) exam and passed from first attempt, however I didn’t have chance to sit the Administration version of the exam (VCAP-DTA) as I was extreme busy with my VCDX preparation.

After I finally passed my VCDX back in July 2014, I have decided to go for VMware Certified Advanced Professional – Desktop Administration (VCAP-DTA) exam.

The main motivation behind my decision was achieving VCDX-Desktop (hopefully), specially that I am specialised in delivering VDI solutions within VMware MENA PSO team, which means that finding the proper design for the VCDX-Desktop application shouldn’t be an issue.

VCAP-DTA itself is a Lab-based exam covers VMware View 5.x with all related components. The detailed exam blueprint could be found here , being that said, it’s not an easy exam at all!

As VDI specialist within VMware MENA PSO team, I thought that I don’t need to spend a lot of preparation before sitting this exam, however after going through the exam blueprint I figured out that I should work more on specific areas such as:

  • Smartcard authentication
  • View Composer command line mastering
  • View components DR possibilities (Backup/Restore)
  • Dealing with SSL certificates.

So I spent few weeks working with my Home Lab to validate my skills against all exam blueprint points. Once I was OK with my skills set, I had registered to sit the exam on 21.Aug.2014.

The exam is 225 minutes (including 30 minutes extension for non-native English speaking countries), so it’s really a long one!

The exam centre I used was in Riyadh – Saudi Arabia close to my place, so I arrived 15 minutes prior to starting time in order to have enough time for VUE signing in procedure.

Starting the exam on-time, I noticed directly that there was slowness in response when I click on any thing, I could image that due to bandwidth and latency issues.

General considerations to keep in mind for that exam:

  • Select an exam centre as close as possible to your place to avoid unnecessary commuting (meaning less stress).
  • Try to pay the exam centre a visit beforehand (in case you were not there) to make sure that they have big monitor (at least 22”) and good Internet connecting.
  • Have a good sleep before your exam, it’s going to be a stressful four hours.
My biggest issue during the exam was time management! I spent more than an hour in the first three tasks, which left me much less time for the remaining 20 tasks in addition to a connection interrupting in the middle which led to a complete freeze and the PC should be restarted (lost 10 valuable minutes waiting).
Unfortunately in the end I could only finish 14 tasks from total 23 task, the result came pretty quick within two hours and as expected I failed (282/500) … No Surprise!
I started my second round of preparations, this time I focused on very specific skills (specially command line) to get faster in it and same time.
I had registered again to attend the exam on 25.Sep.2014 at the same exam centre (no other choice in Riyadh).
This time I picked a PC with big monitor and I skipped any task which I felt that it needs a lot of time, so I finished all tasks apart of three before 20 minutes from timeout. Then I visited those tasks again and went through them to finish on-time.
Again the result was pretty quick and this time was PASS 🙂
Now I have all prerequisites for applying for VCDX-Desktop as I passed already VCAP-DTD last year … time to start working on my VCDX-Desktop design 😉

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