As I sit here writing this, knowing I should be working on my VCDX presentation instead, I reflect on the time and effort I’ve put into this process. It has, without a doubt, been the most mentally challenging, not to mention exhausting, three month period in my career.
I started my design in earnest toward the end of June this year, with maybe 40-50 hours scattered around in the preceding few months with not a lot to show for it. The month of July was brutal – I did nothing but work on my design outside of my day job. If I was at home, I was in my office working. If I was on the road, it was 5-6 hours a night working in the hotel room after my 8 hours with my customer was over. If I had just one thing to change about the whole thing, this would be it. I absolutely would have started with real purpose earlier so I didn’t have to basically abandon my family to get this thing done. Fortunately, my wife and kids are awesome and have been 100% supportive of me throughout the process, even when I didn’t have time to say two words to anyone for weeks on end.
At the end of July, I was to the point where I was wrapping up my documentation, at least for the most part. After review and revision based on my VCDX mentor, I was ready to submit. I didn’t (and still don’t) love what I had to submit, but it hit all the important points, and I had my bases covered. Sending that email with the full submission package was probably one of the harder things I’ve done. I think my cursor hovered over the “Send” button in Outlook for a good five minutes before I actually clicked it.
Here are some basic stats on time spent in this part:
Architecture Design – 290 hours, including review and edits (two complete rewrites).
Ancillary VCDX Documents – 45 hours, including review and edits.
VCDX Application – 4 hours, including the complete loss of my first draft. Apparently, I’m stupid and don’t know how to save a PDF form.
Fretting about acceptance – A lot.
Then, on the afternoon of September 8th, I got the following email from Carey Hardey, Education Certification Program Manager at VMware:
Greetings Jason. All applications for the upcoming VCDX Design Defense opportunity at VMware in Palo Alto, CA have undergone technical review by VCDX-certified Panelists. This review consists of scoring each application against the VCDX Blueprint. I am happy to inform you that you achieved a high enough score to allow you to proceed to the defense stage of the process.
Congratulations on your progress thus far in the VCDX program. We look forward to seeing you in Palo Alto.
I absolutely have a ton of work in creating my presentation and doing mock defenses and scenarios with my study group over the next few weeks, but getting to this point has been such a huge validation of the time and effort I put in so far. At this point, my defense is scheduled (October 7, 2:00PM at VMware HQ in Palo Alto), my calendar is blocked off and travel is booked. It’s go time!
One of the main reasons I wrote this was to thank all the people who helped me get to this point. To be completely honest, I never in a million years thought I’d get accepted for defense. I definitely wouldn’t have gotten here without the multitude of folks who either reviewed and gave feedback, acted as a sounding board for ideas, or otherwise helped me through. There are so many people to mention that I don’t want to call folks out here and forget anyone (you all know who you are), so I’ll just leave it at this:
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.