Welcome to the Community,
a homelab is certainly something good to have, but it usually has its limitations (size, age, ...).
What I think is an interesting way to learn is the VMware Learning Platform. Definitely worth looking at it.
VMware introduces User Guide & Admin Guide beside of Design & Architecture documents for each of published products, like vSphere, vRealize, NSX and etc. So it's a good way to start with them, First review a datasheet about your required product (for example vCenter Server) Then check out and go with guides and documentary for step by step installation in your home lab and at last to realize structure of service, read deeply design and architecture Docs.
Beside them, tutorial and training videos about VCA/VCP courses are another suitable ways for learning about VMware.
Pilot a well-designed scenario to understandPlease mark my comment as the Correct Answer if this solution resolved your problem
In advance of a certification, you are advised to practice at least on version 6.5u2
There are two exams to be taken to achieve the VMware VCP certification:
1- VMware vSphere 6.7 Foundations (2V0-01.19)
- Duration105 minutes
- Number of Questions65
- Passing Score300
2- -VMware vSphere 6.7 VCP-DCV 6.7
- Based on 2V0-21.19 exam number
- Will have 70 questions
- Duration of 115 minutes.
- Passing score is 300.
- Vmug advantage will get you most licenses you would have access to in most enviornments for $200 a year.
- There is a course on pluralsight.com that goes over whats needed for the vcp certification that I liked, they go over setting up a virtual lab using VMware workstation, but a physical one is better
- The HOL labs like Andre mentioned are great because they are targeted to certain topics
- Read blogs.vmware.com, there are articles on a wide array of topics that are useful to know. Usually someone writes about there experience about getting there vcp and the stages as well, its a mixture of VMware written article and also various virtualization blogs.
- For me it was just trying to use the products on my own as much as possible, then at places I worked that had VMware I tried to use it as much as possible, then I got a full time virtulization system engineer job and the vcp after a few years of experience.
In my humble opinion there are 2 ways to work in the VMware field:
1. design, install and sell vSpere environments
2. operate existing environments and maintain them.
To get a decent job you have better chances with option 1.
For this field read all documentation, best practice guides and try to get certified as VCP as soon as possible.
Install vSphere as often as possible, practise updates, learn how to use the HCL so that you can quickly decide wether physical hardware will work with version XY...
If you want to know how VMs work, how Datastores work and how to fix broken VMs then I highly recommend to NOT read the manuals and documentation before you understood the basics using your common-sense.
Instead use WinSCP and inspect VMs you just created.
Start for example with the simple question: what are all these files good for ?
Why does a VM look different when checking with WinSCP than it looks when checking with the vSphere-webinterface.
What happens if I rename one of the files ....
Read log-files ...
Read a lot of posts here and see how experienced troubleshooters here attack problems ....
Be very careful when using third party blogs when searching for solutions ...
Finally learn from the mistake I made: if you want to be able to get a good paying job definetely go for option 1.
Option 2 is good if you consider VMware as a hobby ... but it may not help to pay your bills.