Exam Review - VMware vSphere with Tanzu Specialist 2021

A few weeks ago I sat the VMware vSphere with Tanzu Specialist (5V0-23.20) exam and I'm happy to say I passed it with a score of 370.

This will be a short post on the exam and the preparations I did before taking it

Update 2021-06: VMware has now released a VMware Certified Professional Application Modernization certification. Check this blog post for more information about that

Exam guide and requirements

The VMware Exam guide lists the objectives tested in this exam.

The exam is one of the requirements to be met for gaining the certification VMware Certified Specialist - vSphere with Tanzu 2021, the other requirement, and it's important to note that this is a requirement and not a recommendation - You also need to attend the training course VMware vSphere with Tanzu: Deploy and Manage [V7]

The training course is a 3 day course covering the skills needed to deploy and manage vSphere with Tanzu.

Another thing to note is that this course also has it's requirements. You need to complete both of the following training courses:

  • VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage OR VMware vSphere: Optimize and Scale
  • VMware NSX-T Data Center: Install, Configure, Manage

Finally you ALSO need to hold a VCP-DCV 2020 or VCP-DCV 2021.

If you are missing any of these requirements you will not earn the certification. Luckily the courses can be taken On-demand nowadays.

The exam guide also recommends knowledge of the command line, and basic knowledge of Kubernetes and Containers.


I must admit that I did the exam before I did the Tanzu Deploy and Manage course.

As I had already spent quite some time preparing for and doing the Certified Kubernetes Administrator and Certified Kubernetes Application Developer exams I had the required knowledge in Kubernetes. I had also done quite a bit of testing with Tanzu on vSphere.

For me this was more than enough. I had done a lot of trial and error on enabling the Workload management in vSphere 7.0 U1 and had a solid understanding of the requirements. And the preparations done for the Kubernetes exams helped selecting the correct kubectl commands in a multiple choice settings.

The one thing I hadn't worked as much with, or prepared for, was Harbor, the embedded registry component when using Tanzu with NSX-T.

Now, as the VMware vSphere with Tanzu: Deploy and Manage [V7] training course is a requirement, I do think it's wise to attend that before doing the exam. And I believe that this course, and a little understanding of Kubernetes (which is good also for the course), should be enough for passing the exam.

Of course, you should do some labwork and get some experience with Tanzu, but this is also covered in the course.

The exam

The exam consists of 62 multiple-choice questions and the exam time is 125 minutes.

The passing score is 300, as most VMware exams, with the maximum is 500.

I did the exam online with Pearson Vue remote proctoring (as I guess most people are these days). I've blogged about this experience previously. Check this review for more.


Although I normally don't like that you need to attend a course to get a certification, I do like that the exam was quite aligned to the course. Often the course is far from enough to be able to have a chance to pass. In this case I believe the course alone is almost enough to pass the exam.

This was a short write-up of the VMware vSphere with Tanzu Specialist (5V0-23.20) exam. Hopefully it can help you if you're preparing for the exam.

Feel free to reach out if you have any comments or questions. Thanks for reading!

This page was modified on June 23, 2021: Updated with VCP AM