Twitter Handle: @vmackem
Blog URL: www.vmackem.co.uk
Current Employer: Large UK Solutions Provider
How did you get into IT in the first place
The way I got into IT is a slightly a lucky one.
I went to College originally to do a Science qualification, however, there were not enough people to run the class that year so they asked me what my second choice was. As it happened, I couldn’t remember what it was so they just put me in whatever class had free spaces. This happened to be an IT course. As I did not pass any of my GCSE’s I had to start from as low as possible in the course program and it took me 6 years to finally get through the various stages of education to earn a BSC (hons) in Computer Science. Growing up in a council estate made this an even bigger achievement as I was the only one of my friends or family to achieve this.
During my time at uni I worked part time at a call centre for Barclays Bank. Once I got my degree I applied for windows admin job internally and the rest as they say is history. This is also how I ended up moving to the other end of England.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
Another lucky break saw me working for a large defence contractor as an integration engineer (writing scripts basically). A small project popped up that involved this new and up and coming software called VMware. My manager at the time asked who was interested in going on a course and I was the only one so I went on it. It’s fair to say I fell in love with VMware (and virtualisation as whole) instantly and I have never looked back.
To me this is more than just my job, its my hobby as well (blogging and reading up). Because of this, I enjoy doing things in the community and social media areas as a genuine interest. Amazingly, people are actually interesting in what I have to say, to this day I don’t know why.
Becoming a vExpert while not meaning much to some people means a lot to me not because of my profile in the community or for any kind of personal gain but it is a recognition that a council estate boy from Sunderland with no meaningful qualifications at 16 years old can become recognised by a major company like VMware for my contributions. Obviously the benefits of being a vExpert are welcome also .
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
If someone wanted a job like mine they would need to understand that while the technical side is very, very important softer factors are important also. Personality, confidence and people skills make up about 40% of my job role. As a consultant, knowing VMware inside out will only get me so far. To go far in this industry you have to have drive and guts to be able to take risks and push yourself both mentally and physically (Well sometimes physically). Most of the people I know in the community while being technically proficient also have a great personality. It is no coincidence that those people are in the jobs that people aspire to.
For me I am only at the beginning of my career with 7 year’s experience. But I’m acutely aware that I need to continually push myself constantly to achieve the goals I have set out for myself. You don’t get given anything in this life and you have push yourself to achieve it. This is not all about qualifications and awards, but practical experience at a constantly high level.