Six Hot Virtualization Certifications for 2020

Get one of these virtualization certs and boost your career!

One of the most versatile and specialized skill sets to have — one that employers are eagerly seeking out — is virtualization. Virtualization is new-old technology, with roots all the way back in the 1950s, that lets you create useful IT services using resources that are traditionally bound to hardware.


Virtualization allows you to use a physical machine's full capacity by distributing its capabilities among many users or environments. Think of it like splitting a physical server into many different types or facets of servers; these would then be called "virtual" servers.


In more practical terms, imagine that you have three physical servers with individual dedicated purposes and different hardware but the same OS. One is a mail server, another is a web server, and the last one runs internal legacy applications.


Under normal circumstances, each server is being used at about 40 percent capacity. They are not even close to being maxed out. For example, since the legacy apps remain important to your internal operations, you have to keep them and all three servers that host them.


In the past, it has often been easier and more reliable to run individual tasks on individual servers: one server, one operating system, one task. It was never easy to give one server multiple operating systems. or multiple enterprise applications.


With virtualization, on the other hand, you can split the mail server into two unique environments that can handle independent tasks, so that the legacy apps can be migrated. It's the same hardware, you're just using more of it more efficiently.


Keeping security in mind, you could split the first server again so it could handle another task — increasing its usage from 30 percent, to 60 percent, to 90 percent. Once you do that, the now empty servers could be reused for other tasks or retired altogether to reduce cooling and maintenance costs. You could put all three servers on one piece of hardware; in fact, you could put as many as five to 20 servers on one piece of hardware.


Let's Get Certified


The skill set to design, build, maintain, and grow virtualization within organizations is in high demand. Here are six certifications that you can pick up to boost your current employment responsibilities (and compensation) or beef up your r�sum� to land that next big job.


1) Citric Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V)


Get one of these virtualization certs and boost your career!

First up we have the Citrix Certified Professional – Virtualization (CCP-V). This credential is aimed at the professionals who work with and deploy on XenDesktop and XenApp Service solutions. This is a very specific set of credentials. If your organization or the organization you are going after doesn't run XenDesktop, then you may want to steer clear.


If they do, however, then an individual with this certification can flourish. Citrix sustains a fully established credential program that is designed for those individuals who want to take up roles in working with Citrix products and services. Currently, there are three solution tracks offered by Citrix, and they include mobility, virtualization, and networking.


Each of these tracks has different levels, for example, the associate-level credential in virtualization is aimed at the operators and administrators who install, configure, and manage XenApp and XenDesktop solutions. The candidates who pass the certification exam have been equipped with the practical experience needed to work with XenApp Desktop and XenApp published applications, as well as XenApp published desktops.


The professional-level certification is designed for the consultants, engineers, solution builders, and system administrators. Candidates should be able to configure, support, and manage advanced solutions utilizing provisioning services on XenApp and XenDesktop.


The last stage of the certification is Citrix Certified Expert. This one focuses on the IT professionals, architects, and engineers who are given the responsibilities of designing solutions through the use of Citrix products. The professionals with this credential are well-versed in advanced skills and can analyze environment, design advanced solutions, and make recommendations. CCP-V is a prerequisite for earning CCE-V.


2) Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate


Up until recently, I would have recommended the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure credential here. Employers recognize and respect the Microsoft brand, and its certification program is second-to-none in terms of teaching technology skills.


Microsoft is in the process of flushing out its old general knowledge certifications, however, and replacing them all with so-called "role-based" credentials that prepare candidates to succeed in specific job roles. Hence, MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure is no more.


In its place, I'm going to steer you toward the new role-based Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate credential. Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform, and it is only surpassed in the cloud computing sphere by Amazon's massively dominant Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem.


Azure has become a major point of emphasis for Microsoft, and there are plenty of directions that you can take. The Azure Administrator Associate is a good point of entry to Azure generally, and will also make you highly employable in a specific position that employers are already seeking out.


3) VMware Certified Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6.5 DCV)


My third recommendation is the VMware Certified Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization (VCP6.5 DCV) credential. VMware is one of the organizations that dominates the market for virtualization: It has made extensive inroads with virtualization technologies, including hypervisors (fake servers) and virtual machines.


VMware has been at the forefront of the virtualization market since its inception, and having this cert will tell employers that you have the base-level knowledge to support them.


One thing about the certs in this realm are that they are many and varied! There are currently six solution tracks available under the VMware certifications, and they include Data Center Virtualization, Network Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Digital Business Transformation, Digital Workspace, and Desktop and Mobility.


All certifications under VMware are linked to each other, with the more senior level certifications requiring the achievement of lower-level credential as prerequisites. Earning any credential under VMware serves as a stepping stone to a more advanced certification. Currently, there are more than 100,000 professionals who are certified under the VMware certification program.


4) Oracle VM 3.0 for x86 Certified Implementation Specialist


My next pick is the Oracle VM 3.0 for x86 Certified Implementation Specialist credential. There is a large variety of virtualization-related credentials across the IT realms, but the Oracle certification path is still one of the best. Oracle has impressive market penetration and employers seeking this credential are everywhere. Here, as with most Microsoft certs, you have the luxury of playing a numbers game. If you pass out enough r�sum�s, you are bound to find someone who recognizes the value of your Oracle-certified expertise and pounces.


This is Oracle's sole server virtualization offering. It is designed for Oracle Partner Network members. While it can be pursued by any invested IT professional, this cert is most highly recommended for those individuals who sell Oracle VM solutions and those who support and implement the Oracle VM solutions.


This credential is of intermediate difficulty, and candidates who pass the exam should emerge well-versed in OVM 3.0 Server technology, including OVM 3.0 Manager, installation of OVM 3.0 Server, network configuration, storage, server pool creation, and template management.


5) Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Data Center


6 virt cert woman at desk

My fifth selection is the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) Data Center credential. Cisco data center credentials are designed to validate the knowledge and skills of IT professionals in the areas of designing, implementing, maintaining, and troubleshooting enterprise level data centers that focus on business critical applications.


This one is a monster certification and employers that recognize it will know that the cert holder has rock solid knowledge and skills. Individuals who are CCNP Data Center certified are well-equipped to work in any job role that uses data center network management technologies, such as unified communications, advanced


virtualization, automation, application, cloud services, and physical and virtual resources.


Bear in mind that Cisco is on the brink of releasing, later this month, an entirely new exam set for this credential. Unless your certification exam is already scheduled, and will take place before Feb. 24, then you're better off waiting to certify under the new regime. Whether you just get in under the wire with the outgoing cert, or wait and earn the new one, however, you'll get plenty of attention from employers with this one.


6) Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services


Lastly, I would recommend and of the Google Cloud or AWS Architect-level credentials. Whichever you choose, you are bound to be eagerly sought after by employers, just for the mere fact of the brand recognition. Both certification programs are relatively new, buy you can bet that they will be around for the long haul.


Certification Matters


No matter which certification you pick, you will never go wrong boosting up your skillset. Any employer looking for a qualified candidate is sure to pick someone who has always kept their axe sharp. As always, I wish you happy certifying.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author
Nathan Kimpel is a seasoned information technology and operations executive.

Nathan Kimpel is a seasoned information technology and operations executive with a diverse background in all areas of company functionality, and a keen focus on all aspects of IT operations and security. Over his 20 years in the industry, he has held every job in IT and currently serves as a Project Manager in the St. Louis (Missouri) area, overseeing 50-plus projects. He has years of success driving multi-million dollar improvements in technology, products and teams. His wide range of skills include finance, ERP and CRM systems. Certifications include PMP, CISSP, CEH, ITIL and Microsoft.