Current employer: Todd Herman Associates (www.toddherman.com)
How did you get into IT?
I was always interested in computers after getting exposed to TRS80's, Commadore, Zenith, and Apple IIe in the early 80's.
In college we had a VAX/VMS mainframe and this was my first experience with "big iron". I learned a lot of the user commands and discovered a passion for knowing (and helping) what to do when something went wrong.
Later when I went back to college, I started taking some CompSci classes along with my Accounting classes because the subject still had an interest for me.
A few years later I found myself between accounting positions and I interviewed with this accounting firm that did not do audits or income tax returns, but did a lot of application development, system selection, and middleware integration.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
In 2006 my company had too many physical boxes and many were not server class hardware but were converted workstations and manageability/reliability/space constraints were all issues. At that time VMware GSX & Microsoft Virtual Server were the free type 2 hypervisors and not being a Linux person I went with Virtual Server. That bought us two years but the OS overhead was too much of a wasted resource so when we did a server refresh in 2008 I got a new server and a Foundation Acceleration Kit.
From there I was drinking the Kool-Aid and in 2010 I went to a regional VMUG (local chapter was not active) and kept pestering the VMUG people for the information on the leaders in my area so that I could find out why meetings were not happening. A few weeks later I was a co-leader and it is through this "evangelist" path that I was honored as a vExpert for 2012.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
I actually have two different jobs at my company, my consulting work generally does not involve VMware or virtualization since our clients either have it already or we are not working with the infrastructure group so it is not visible. Internally I have VMware cluster and IBM SAN to manage plus networking, backup, firewall, end-point protection, mobile devices, messaging, collaboration, database systems, application and web servers, plus end user support. So I would tell someone who wanted my job or one like it to make sure you know a lot about everything but don't be specialized in any one thing since you will not be able to very much time on what you know but will need to know enough to keep it up and running.