The day of the remote defense has arrived. After all the mocks, Quizlets and mental prep, it all boils down to two hours of the most important WebEx session I had in my career so far.
Few people asked me what was the feeling? Is it like a real defense (of course it is)? harder or easier?
Well, like many other things it depends. Prepping wise, I really didn’t know what to expect from the “remote experience” as I only had Shady El-Malatawey to talk to about the experience as he was the only one did this before me (I’m sure you will nail it next time buddy!). He provided me with some useful insights about it. If you did tons of mocks the remote defense will have a more familiar feeling in my opinion.
The question of harder vs. easier is a tricky one. I was super ready for this one and did all I can do in order to be well prepared. If you are not ready, then It will be at the same level of difficulty as if you were doing the frontal defense. Obviously, I can’t share the questions I was asked but trust me, there are no shortcuts when it comes to defense itself!
I won’t lie, the fact that I didn’t have to travel this time around and sits in my home office make things more comfortable but it definitely didn’t make the technical aspect easier and makes the entire thing way cheaper.
The only major problem I had is that my PC rebooted itself 10min before the end of the first 75min section. I was a bit lost but after few seconds the panel just told me that it’s all good and we can just keep on talking about the current topic without my slides. They were very genuine and cool about it.
After a 15min break, we continued to the design scenario where I felt very good. I felt in my comfort zone in that scenario and the Surface Book whiteboarding very much did the trick. I am really skeptical if I would have been able to produce the same results without it. If you are a remote defense candidate and not lucky enough to have that kind of whiteboard setup you should practice a lot on that part, really, a lot!
To summarize, I think the fact the remote defense is being offered only to returning players is very good and I supports that. Every VCDX candidate should and must experience the heat of a frontal panel at least once. In my opinion, this certificate is not just about your VMware and technical skills, it also meant to test your presentation skills and if you know how to manage in a “street fight”.