“As of April 1, 2017, VMware certification exam prices will change.” That statement, from a blog posting by VMware Education’s Karl Childs, seems mild enough. But depending on the VMware certification for which you’re aiming, that “change” might mean a tripling of the cost.
For example, the top-line cert — the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) — will cost $995 to apply for, and $3,000 to “defend.” Other exams will increase by a much more modest amount, generally in the range of $25 to $50. The VMware Certified Professional will increase to $250 from $225, for instance, while the VMware Certified Advanced Professional exam will rise from $400 to $450.
Childs said that even with the price hikes, VMware certification costs are still competitive within the industry:
VMware has not changed prices for certification exams in over three years. VMware Certification is priced lower than competing programs and will continue to be, even with the new pricing model. The change brings us in line with market rates, and allows us to continue improving the program and the exam development process, and bring you new benefits such as digital badging and increased capabilities within VMware Certification Manager.
Childs also pointed out that candidates who register for exams or buy exam vouchers before March 31 will pay current prices instead of the new ones. In addition, VCDX candidates defending in May and June of 2017 will also escape the higher rates. Childs also hinted at future new benefits for VCDX certification holders.
Those guarantees, though, appeared to be small comfort for many in the VMware certified community. A triple VCDX, René van den Bedem, blogged that the increase from the current $1,200 to nearly $4,000 means that “Unfortunately for most candidates, this means the VCDX journey will now be an employer sponsored process.”
Twitter reaction was almost universally negative, as seen by a sampling of Tweets:
We are all in disbelief….
— Kim_Bottu (@Kim_Bottu) March 2, 2017
It will be a certification for few Partner and VMware Guy only !!
— vroomblog – Fouad E. (@vroomblog) March 2, 2017
Thought the same. 4000 bucks. Damn.
— Karl Widmer (@widmerkarl) March 2, 2017
There was even a “fake news” Twitter hashtag, #VCDXGate, to cover the issue. On another private discussion board with many VMware certification holders, reaction to the increases was decidedly negative as well.
Numerous complaints in the comments section of Childs’ blog entry had to do with the timing of the announcement. Several candidates said that having just a month between the announcement of the increases and their taking effect was too short. One response, from “stephen,” called it “unreasonable.”
“I’m sure you’re well aware most candidates spend 14+ months in the process. I personally have been working towards VCDX-NV for 14 months and plan to submit a design package in mid April. This leaves me having invested heavily in the process and essentially held hostage by the time and funds I’ve invested so far, to make such a dramatic and abrupt increase in cost is not fair to those already in the pipeline.”
Childs said in several responses that VMware would look into those types of situations.
UPDATE: VMware provided the following updated information about the VCDX exams:
“For VCDX candidates applying in March or June, for a defense in May or August, we will honor the original price of $300 (application fee) and $900 (defense fee). For those applying in June (for the August defense), they must submit their intent to apply here by April 1.”