Today, I am doing a book review of VCDX Boot Camp: Preparing for the VCDX Panel Defense (VMware Press).  This is a book not only for VCDX hopefuls but also for people who want to see what’s involved in becoming one.  What could be better than a book written by three VCDXs (who are also panellists), documenting their tips/tricks and what they’re looking for, technically reviewed by two and with added content from five more! Some of them are amongst the very first VCDXs and have first-hand knowledge of how the process was developed.

The content is just over a 100 pages, divided into seven chapters.  The chapters take you through the entire process, from an overview and how you should start preparation, all the way to the “Troubleshooting Scenario”.  The link included allows you to look at the table of contents so I won’t bore you here with the details but I would definitely recommend you have a look as it makes it clear why there is so much value in getting this book as it contains information about the process that you won’t find elsewhere.  As a bonus, you also get to know the answer to the age-old “chicken-and-egg” question: If the VCDX panel contains at least three members, how did the first VCDXs got their certification? 🙂

Each chapter is full of tips and insight into what’s important and techniques on efficiently gaining more points, thereby helping you towards a successful defence.  It also includes quotes from existing VCDXs about their experience of that particular stage.  Official documentation does give you a lot of information about the whole process but the first-hand experience mentioned in this book is invaluable.

The “Design Scenario” chapter discusses the stage where the consultative skills of a VCDX candidate are tested.  As in previous chapters, tips are given on how to deal with this process, focussing on what’s important and how to demonstrate your knowledge. It also gives you three scenarios, which is very useful to get the thought process going.

The “Troubleshooting Scenario” chapter is similar to the one before but discusses the last stage where skills of a candidate are tested to work out if the problem is in the design, implementation or operation of an environment.  This chapter comes with four scenarios, covering all three tracks and again, gives you an idea of how to tackle the drilling that will come with it.

Some might judge the book by the number of pages it contains but I would rather have a book that has concise but focussed information about the process.  Also, it contains content that you wouldn’t find in official documentation.  Sure, it’s a thin book but that’s where it’s great and worth its weight in gold – which going by its actual weight, won’t be that much! 🙂

If you are even thinking about going for VCDX, trust me and get this book!  It will help you make informed decisions about the process, make your preparation efficient and increase your chances for success.