VMware released the VMware Certified Associate (VCA) exams at VMworld San Francisco 2013. These are entry level exams, below VCP, aimed at people just getting into virtualisation or not quite ready to sit the VCP exams.
Bloggers are saying great things about the VCA exams. I spoke with a few people at vForum Sydney recently on the new certifications, and I'm glad I'm not the only one to have a different opinion on them.
Having the VCA exams can help build confidence on the way to sitting the VCP exam.
The exam is priced at $120, but there's promotions and discount codes to make it free, so a LOT of people have been doing the exam.
You can attempt the exam at home with no supervision, and the time limit is extremely generous. If you happen to fail, you can immediately re-sit the exam.
There's the potential for people to exploit it and google the answers and keep attempting it until they pass.
Because of all this, I doubt there will be any industry recognition for the VCA exams.
If you are looking to get into VMware and virtualisation, the VCA exams may be a great start and motivator towards VCP, especially now while the discounts are available.
If there was a real cost involved, and a minimum period to wait for re-tries, it may slow down the non-genuine people, but the horse has already bolted on this one. I think VMware have made a bad decision on this one.
[Update: On a recent podcast (VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast – 255 – VCA – Education & Certification), VMware Education encouraged people working together and googling the answers. Effectively an 'open book' test. ]