Home » VCDX » Vendor Certs – Is it really as hard as doing Masters or PhD?

Vendor Certs – Is it really as hard as doing Masters or PhD?


Disclaimer: I intend no disrespect to any VCDX or CCAr or any high level Vendor Certificate holders !! Rene no disrespect to you either my friend. 

I just recently saw a blog post by Rene (VCDX 133) about PhD in infrastructure design and discussions about it on twitter by Mike ‘Webscale’ Webster and Frank Denneman. This is what prompted this blog post.

Here is a link for the original post : wp.me/p4znjP-U6

I don’t believe that there is any vendor certification that can be classified as being close to a Masters or PhD. Are these certifications as valuable as a Masters to get a job, sometimes not always. Are all the Masters graduates better than VCDX /CCIE.. hell no. Are all VCDXs/CCIE better than all Masters Graduates.. Hell no as well. You see where I am getting with this. Yeah I am a VCDX and I also hold a Masters Degree in Applied Science (Network & Distributed Systems) from RMIT. Wanna know which one was harder to study for and pursue, Masters.

Let me explain my thinking, for me any given vendor infrastructure certification is a proof that you know how to design something and make sure it delivers the business or technical outcome. Is it a product that you developed the capabilities for NO. You are using the pre-existing capabilities for which the software was designed and ensuring that those capabilities are being nurtured. Vendor neutral certifications would be too much like TOGAF or PMP or ITIL or Prince 2. Frameworks that provide the basis for Architecture (Enterprise and Infra), Project Management, Business IT Management and Project managements respectively for the vendor neutral certifications mentioned above.

PhD is done by people who are trying to invent something new or discover something unique. None of the certifications that we spoke about enhance or nurture that. PhD equivalent is Steve Woz developing Apple 1 interface. PhD is done by people who can build a 486 processor (Pat Gelsinger was the lead architect for 40486 http://siepr.stanford.edu/Pat.Gelsinger) . Pat holds a Masters Degree and is an honorary VCDX-Alpha :).

Can any vendor neutral certificate match this? In my sincere humble opinion a big fat NO. In the end a certificate or masters is validation that you know something. There are lot of geniuses in the world who don’t even finish high school and they become pioneers in Business, IT, Research etc. There is no one ring or certification to rule them all. Any given person has finite knowledge about a few things in the world.



  1. Hello Harsha, No offence taken, the “Master’s” and “PhD.” reference was merely poetic licence on my part. The main thrust of my article was that “Infrastructure Architecture Design” needs to evolve and become mainstream. In the future, if a University was to offer vendor-agnostic courses and degree levels all the way up to PhD., then that would be amazing. Thanks for reading and contributing. Cheers, Rene.

    • Thanks Rene. Appreciate you chiming in. I get the poetic reference in your blog. What I didn’t get and what got my blog going was a few arguments about VCDX and Masters being on the same level which they clearly aren’t in my opinion. 🙂 Keep Blogging my friend your site is a great resource for knowledge and for some juicy debate 🙂

  2. Well said and I agree completely! Although, I contributed to the thread being a Masters myself, couldn’t say more as I am not a VCDX (yet). While I don’t underestimate the effort required for VCDX, the depth at which you have to go to get a Masters, is at quite a different level.

    There is a reason why it takes so long and it’s not spent wasting time! 🙂


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