How did you get into IT in the first place?
Must’ve been fate. Ever since I was a kid I had my eyes set on being a paleontologist, but when it came time to look at colleges, I started to reconsider. Seemed to not be a lot of room in that field. Trying to come up with alternatives, I said to myself “You’ve enjoyed playing with computers more and more since you were 7, you can make a career out of that.” My guidance counselor found a full ride scholarship that was being made available for a new school at the University of Nebraska Omaha. I submitted for it and received it along with a web developer internship.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
I was working for a health insurance company at the time (my second IT job), where I started as their Webmaster. We had just completed our HIPAA project, where I was the lead of the infrastructure design/build out, and I transitioned to an analyst role on the infrastructure team. I was tasked with figuring out how we could consolidate our data center before we ran out of space. That’s when I discovered VMware and went to my first VMWorld (2004).
Many things followed after that that lead to becoming a vExpert in 2009: heavy participation in the VMware communities from almost the beginning (announced at VMWorld 2004), cofounded the Omaha VMUG in 2006, started my blog and joined Twitter in 2009.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
IT is a large career field. Pick a part that you are passionate about and work hard. Go out of your way, continue learning and growing, be active in the community (both generally and IT communities, like VMUGs), and give your coworkers and associates something positive to remember about you. People will notice your work ethic and capacity for learning and growing (good or bad). All of my jobs in this industry were practically given to me by people I knew who respected me and my capabilities.
Also, don’t be afraid to take on unique opportunities. Starting off as a developer, I never would’ve expected to find myself designing data centers, but I took on challenges that morphed my position in IT. And I haven’t regretted those decisions one little bit.