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TCC instructor earns VMware highest certificate

Hersey Cartwright’s favorite number is 128. He writes it everywhere. And his colleagues refer to him by that figure.

That’s because the Tidewater Community College instructor of information technology is the 128th person to earn the VMware title of Certified Design Expert (VCDX).

“This is a big deal in the industry,” said Rob Guess, TCC’s program head for virtualization and network security. “Hersey began pursuing this certification in 2010 when he took TCC’s VMware certified professional prep course, the first step on the journey to expert.”

VMware is an American software company that provides cloud and virtualization software and services. The company’s Certified Design Expert is the highest level of certification offered. Only 132 people hold the title worldwide.

Hersey Cartwright teaches an advanced virtualization classCartwright, a data center engineer and architect for ABS Technology Architects, spent 80 hours developing the design he used to defend his knowledge when competing for VCDX. “My design was implemented for a current client, so that gave me plenty of opportunities to make necessary corrections, tweak the design and learn even more during the process,” he said. “And I completed several mock defenses in front of peers to hone skills and prepare to answer difficult questions.”

Cartwright admits that VMware technology has consumed him since the mid-2000s. He spends his weekdays and weekends immersed in the technology. Active in the VMware community, he even blogs working solutions for common problems he’s seen on the job.

To earn the VMware Certified Design Expert designation, Cartwright had to defend his production-ready VMware solution before a panel of professionals who hold the VCDX credential. “The preparation and the defense process were time consuming, very stressful, extremely educational and ultimately an enjoyable experience,” he said. “I learned a tremendous amount about my abilities as an architect/engineer and about the VMware design process. When I was managing an IT department, I had a mentor who would often say ‘there is value in the process.’ I feel this is definitely true of the VCDX certification process. The process of documenting, submitting and defending the design was an extremely valuable learning experience.” [Cartwright shares his knowledge with students in advanced virtualization classes.]

Today, Cartwright is the only VMware Certified Design Expert southeast of Richmond, which gives his company clout with clients and potential clients. “It was awesome to have actually accomplished a defense, and it’s not lost on me that my journey began in a classroom at TCC.”

Cartwright, who earned his Associate in Applied Science in Information Technology in 2012 at the college, is an adjunct instructor at TCC, sharing his knowledge with students in advanced virtualization classes.

“One of the things I enjoyed about my classes at TCC was the real-world knowledge shared by Rob Guess and other faculty members,” Cartwright added. “Now it’s my turn to do the same. I’m able to provide a better education on the technologies than any textbook because I’m working solutions on the job daily.”

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