I dropped out of college after my first year. School didn't hold my interest, but nothing else did either. I ended up at a mail-order computer hardware shop in sales when one day, their computer guy left. I sort of wound up as the IT guy by default, and went up from there. I soon left that small shop, then went from various contracts during the dotcom days to permanent employment at larger and larger enterprises including HP, IBM, and Home Depot. Each job was a steady progression in pay and responsibilities, starting in helpdesk, and ending up on the system engineering side of the house.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
While at IBM, I discovered PowerShell. I was a huge fan, and learned all that I could possibly learn about this new scripting language from Microsoft. Through my participation in that community, I was awarded Microsoft MVP.
I really loved exploring the intersection of PowerShell and non-Microsoft products, most especially by using it to manage my VMware VI3 R&D lab. I was in the right place at the right time when PowerCLI began, and a book deal fell into my lap. After many long, (long) hours, Managing VMware Infrastructure with Windows PowerShell: TFM was published. Getting that book out the door felt great! Not too long afterwards I was welcomed to the inaugural class of 300 vExperts and had the pleasure to be included among this great group ever since.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
Well, you have to be passionate about technology, and love to learn. You also need to be a bit of a self-starter. Building a home lab is a great place to start. With a bit of planning, a commodity PC and a free copy of ESXi, you can really get the hang of virtualization. I also found that it helps to specialize some, but not too much!
Being an expert in one thing is great (and often lucrative), but once you understand how to take various pieces of software apart, and use the pieces to solve problems, that's where I think the fun is. And that's really important–having fun at what you do for a living. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time doing it!