Twitter Handle: @sixfootdad
Blog URL: http://damiankarlson.com
How did you get into IT in the first place
I've been working in and around IT for over 10 years now. I started in technical sales but got my first experiences in "hands-on" IT about seven years ago. I'd gone back to school as an adult to get an Associates in Computer Networking, and that opened up an opportunity to start working as a software tester for a 3rd party QA & testing company in Austin, TX. From there, I moved into hardware testing of various servers & storage subsystems, and eventually led a team of hardware and software testers that was responsible for testing minor and major hardware & firmware revisions on a major manufacturer's blade servers.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
I first started working with VMware about 3 years ago. I'd inherited a small VMware server/isolated ESXi environment (on old Compaq whiteboxes, no less), and had the opportunity to lead a major VMware implementation. My team built a number of large VMware clusters and adopted a "virtualization first" policy. Anything new that needed to be deployed went on VMware (where applicable, of course), and anything existing was converted to VM.
I started blogging about a year ago, and focused on how to automate a large scale VMware implementation. I fell in love with PowerCLI, and wrote all that I could about leveraging it for things like standardized ESXi deployments, automating host remediation in clusters without DRS, automating VMware licensing assignments, etc. It was due to my blogging efforts that I was recognized as a vExpert in 2011.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
I think the most important thing is a true love of technology, and also a clear understanding of how appropriate applications of technology can benefit the business side "of the house". Technology is great, but in a vacuum, it serves no purpose. Its purpose is to enable, improve, and serve as the vehicle for a company's ability to be successful.
Secondly, I'm a strong believer in social media. Get involved, talk to people that are doing what you want to do, help out other folks who may have questions or issues that you may know how to solve. Most of all, get a true understanding of how your unique talents and abilities can be a benefit to you, your family, and those around you.