I was recently made aware that Veeam have released the 2021 edition of the Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) exam. If you’ve already got a VMCE 2020 certification, or have taken the VMCE 2020 training course within the past year, (or even been lucky enough to already take a seat on the VMCE 2021 training course) you’re eligible to take the exam.
To take the exam simply head to the VMCE certification page, sign in with your company email address that was used for either your training course or previous exam and you should see the below.
Simply click on “Manage VMCE 2021 Exam” and you’ll be taken to the PearsonVUE website to organise either a remote exam or in-person exam.
The Exam Online Proctor Experience
Over the course of the pandemic, PeasonVUE have got repeatedly better at delivering the remote training sessions, they’ve slowly adapted their security measures too, when the pandemic had started they didn’t want any screens within the room, now they allow for additional screens if you can evidence that they have no power. In other ways they’re still more strict, if you cover your mouth for example, you can be disqualified.
My top three tips for a successful remote exam experience are:
- Ensure you are free from distractions and people/animals. Shut yourself in a room and make it clear you can’t be disturbed. PearsonVUE used to treat it as an automatic failure if someone else was detected entering the room, you’re now permitted to inform them you’re taking an exam and they must leave the room immediately, but it’s better not to invite any judgement on the part of the remote proctor as they can only base their judgement on what they can/can’t see/hear. If they have doubts, they can void the exam.
- Use an adequately spec’d personal machine. Technologies such as Always On VPN are great for corporate machines, but they can cause issues with the delivery of the content due to corporate firewall restrictions. If you have remote monitoring agents as well, these might use systems such as VNC which are all forbidden by PearsonVUE. They will scan your machine and will not allow the exam to be started if they are detected. To elaborate on what I define as adequately spec’d, you’ll be streaming video at as high a frame rate as possible to PearsonVUE. I had an exam cancelled previously due to using an older, lower powered netbook and they said the frame rate was about 1-2 FPS.
- You’re allowed to connect half hour before the exam starts, aim to connect at this time, you’ll need to use a mobile phone to take pictures of your ID and your room space, they’ll let you start the exam early if you get through all the checks quicker but as you’re allowed to start an exam up to 15 minutes late so this gives you ample opportunity to clear your workspace or relocate if the proctor has issues with your environment.
The VMCE 2021 Exam Experience
I’ve taken the VMCE 9.5, VMCE 2020 and VMCE-ADO exams previously so I’m familiar with the structure Veeam uses for the exams. I’ve always been extremely positive of the Veeam exam experience, they’ve always been focused on real-world examples and ensuring a suitable baseline for the majority of deployments, instead of focusing on fringe-cases that a fraction of their install base might utilise.
Historically the exams were much faster, with a pace that felt like a question a minute, the VMCE 2020 was 50 questions in 60 minutes and you got a 30 minute extension if the language the exam was delivered in wasn’t your native language, so this ratio wasn’t far off. The VMCE 2021 exam has changed this slightly, it’s now 50 questions in 75 minutes. I think this gave the exam a better flow. Traditionally the exam questions have predominately short sentences, but this time round it seems Veeam have started to elaborate on them a bit more, opting for diagrams and brief scenarios over a single sentence. I preferred this as the extra time and text allow you more time to double check exactly what’s being asked of you and make sure you select the right result.
Preparing for the Exam
You can’t take the exam without having attended a training course at some point in the past, but Veeam do recommend you take the latest training course before sitting the exam, and it’s easy to see why. Veeam have brought out so many features from the time I first sat my training course that whilst I believe I use most features frequently, there are always features that my customers don’t need, so I spend less time using them. Over time this will lead me to drift from the criteria for the exam, when the Veeam v12 training course inevitably comes around I’m going to attempt to take the training course again, to be sure I haven’t missed out on anything great along the way over these past few years, you never know what will become your new favourite feature!
As the VMCE 2021 exam is still quite new, there are limited resources from the wider community to help study, but thankfully there’s no shortage from Veeam. Check out the Exam Specification document from the VMCE certification page linked above and follow the relevant Veeam Help Centre links to ensure you’ve studied all the relevant content, and most importantly, the VMCE is designed for engineers using Veeam frequently, so if you’re not using a feature, give it a spin in a virtual environment.
Mr VMCE himself Rasmus Haslund is also preparing a VMCE 2021 mock exam question set, check out his blog over at Rasmus Haslund – Virtualize everything! and see if they’re available. I recently had the honour of speaking to Rasmus about where he sources these questions from and was amazed at the level of dedication he puts into this process, so I strongly recommend checking out his previous mock questions too and then comparing any questions you may have to the help centre documentation in case Veeam has changed from his VMCE 2020 set.
How did it go?
As the title suggests, this is a review, so I did sit the VMCE 2021 exam, I’m extremely thrilled to announce I passed with 85%, and now I’ve got a feel for where my studying should go next to fill in some knowledge gaps, as every day is a school day!