Last October, I sat for and passed the VCAP5-DCA exam. One of the resources that I used to prepare for the exam was the official certification guide book written by Steve Baca and John Davis. This book unpacks the blueprint of the VCAP5-DCA exam and goes over all of the required sections that you will need to demonstrate in the exam.
The exam is essentially a lab environment where you are given a number of scenarios that you must complete the configuration changes within a working vSphere environment. The book is more of an encyclopedia of all that the test covers than a novel.
This book and the exam it is preparing you for isn’t for a beginner – I’ll say that up front. You’re expected to show competency on a wide range of administration tasks on the exam and the book walks you through those very clearly and it is targeted at someone with existing administration knowledge. Each chapter includes a quiz to test your knowledge and give you insight over whether or not you already know the content they’re about to delve into. These helped me identify what areas of the chapter to especially pay attention to.
If you’re a systems administrator or implementor by trade – focus on the things you don’t regularly – and this book is a fantastic resource to familiarize yourself. If you focus exclusively on Fibre Channel storage, focus on NFS and iSCSI for the exam. If you use PowerCLI exclusively for command line, spend time with ESXCLI. The tasks you perform often will come naturally in this exam and you have normal online help and VMware’s PDF documentation to fall back on, but time is a big factor in passing the exam, so familiarity is required.
The book covers all the bases, in depth, and is the best book for the task of preparing for this exam. There are other study guides and resources available and I used some freely available resources in addition to this book to prepare, but after I took the exam, my appreciation for this book increased a lot. There’s a lot of information presented and it can be overwhelming, but the authors have done a great job organizing and covering the information in this comprehensive study guide for the VCAP5-DCA.
With changes coming to the exams and certifications for vSphere 6, now’s the time to hunker down, grab this book and get that certification. Good luck!