I wrote an article Iast January (article here) about my goal to continue on with my VCDX journey. Last Sunday, I took the plunge and sat the VCAP5-DCA (VDCA510) exam and I am happy to anounce that I passed it.
My Experience and Strategy:
As other bloggers have mentioned, time is the enemy in this test. The lab is slow so you really need a strategy to do the lab tasks as quickly as possible. There are 26 lab questions which are really spot on with the Exam Blueprint. My strategy was to do all the install and configure tasks first and skip the troubleshooting tasks until I reached the last question. Do all those things that you know first and quickly to gather enough points. Then I went back to the troubleshooting questions and tried to answer them until I ran out of time. After 4 brain draining hours, I’m done and was reminded that I will receive the result in 15 days. On my way home, exactly two hours after the test, I received an email that I passed.. I was quite surprised on how fast I got my result but was also relieved to have passed it.
How I Prepared:
Lab work! You cannot pass this exam without studying and doing hands on work. My experience with vSphere helped but there are areas in the blueprint that even a seasoned Admin do not perform very often. So I checked the blueprint, assessed my skills, and focused more on to the areas that I’m weak at. I only managed to seriously study for this exam after I booked it. It really forced me to prepare! I guess it is a good motivating factor 🙂
I relied heavily on Jason Nash’ VCAP-DCA Pluralsight/Trainsignal course and the free Unofficial Study Guide for VCAP5-DCA by Jason Langer and Josh Coen. Also, I highly recommend that you try Joshua Andrews’ Test Track lab (link here) a week or two before your actual exam. It will give you a good feel of what the exam will be like. You can hook up with Joshua by following him on Twitter (@SOSTech_WP).
It was extremely rewarding to validate your skills and the VCAP5-DCA is very good certification to do this. Be aware that now there are two DCA exams, VCDA510 which is based in vSPhere 5.0 and the new VCDA550 based on vSphere 5.5. Passing either of them will give you VCAP5-DCA certification. I decided to go for the older one due to the vast amount of resources available online as well as “exam experience” of other bloggers.