Yesterday, I received the dreaded email
We regret to inform you that your attempt to achieve VCDX certification on June 09-11, 2015 in Frimley, UK was unsuccessful.
It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but somehow I still hoped my assessment of the defense was pessimistic and so it was nonetheless disappointing. It’s a big hit to not achieve something I have been focusing on for months and it is hard not to feel embarrassed that I didn’t make the grade. I am looking forward to receiving some feedback from the panelists and will be gearing up for another attempt in October.
Attaining VCDX is a step on a long learning journey and from the start I approached this defense as that - a learning experience. It’s an opportunity to focus and set a goal, and to push myself to reach that next step.
I felt that I defended my design relatively well - although the panelists exposed some issues, I felt that I was able to present explanations and reasoning behind each issue and I had anticipated a lot of the questions they did pose. Going in I felt that the defence of my design was something I should be all over, it was written from start to finish by myself. I may be wrong, and if the feedback is that I didn’t defend it well then I’ll need to reassess this.
I had not anticipated how nerves in the design scenario would affect me. The design methodology is something I do day in, day out - it’s not something that would normally cause me to stumble. What actually happened was that I panicked trying to do a whole detailed design in 45 minutes and lost the structure and method that I normally use. Normally, I would have a couple of weeks to work through the design process. Instead, I started to pull out the Business Requirements and then jumped ahead to a conceptual diagram and then moved back to start the use cases and then jumped to a physical design. Not following through the design method stopped me from moving through the design in a logical manner and I think that’s where I came undone.
Troubleshooting isn’t something that you end up doing as often when you’re working as a consultant/architect but it is something I do a lot in my lab. Having panicked in the previous scenario I tried to recover my composure somewhat for this one, but once again I think I rushed in too quickly. The scenario is not about the solution, it’s about the method - a structured, logical approach is key. I found it hard to judge how I did in this one, I did rush headlong down one particular avenue on more of a “gut feeling” than I should have, but we shall see what the feedback is.
All of these things are my reflections on the defense, and why I failed. I could quite easily be wrong and have completely missed the reasons I failed - hopefully the feedback will confirm my thoughts and help me re-focus on the right areas. It has been a huge learning experience, from getting my design ready to submit, preparing to defend it, and then defending. I will continue to learn and develop and push myself for this next milestone, and beyond.
People say it’s a huge achievement just to be invited to defend, and I don’t disagree, but I am more determined than ever not just to get the invite, but to successfully defend VCDX.