How did you get into IT?
I grew up as a child using my parent’s PC with great interest, learning DOS, breaking autoexec.bat and config.sys files, and then subsequently learning how to fix them before they found out! As a teenager I started helping my uncle out at his IT business on occasion – fixing customer computers, reinstalling Operating Systems, and building new machines. I learnt even more about computers from him. Going through my tertiary education after High School, I actually studied for three years and qualified as a Graphic Designer, however after a couple of years in the design industry, I decided to make the switch over to IT, as I had identified that this was really where my passion was. A company who was partnered with my current employer realised my potential and offered me a job with them.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
During my role at my second IT job (back in South Africa going back to around 2006), we had a variety of application servers – perhaps 10 or so. We decided to try out VMware Server to virtualize some of these servers as a small consolidation project. I was involved in this exercise as I had already had a play around with VMware Server at home and knew how it worked.
Soon after this I moved to the UK with my wife and started a job for a small hosting company. I was mainly involved in the field services team, but got a chance to work with VMware ESX on occasion. One of the guys in the hosting division kindly gave me some training on the side and allowed me to use some older equipment to test with.
This is where I started really taking an interest in VMware’s offerings. I got a small home lab going and learned more about VI3. I then got a job working for a small managed hosting company where I worked for three years before joining Xtravirt Limited as a technical consultant at the start of 2012. I have been running my own personal blog Shogan.tech since late 2008, where I have actively blogged about my experiences with various VMware technologies and other SysAdmin topics. I was very honoured to have been awarded the vExpert 2012 title this year, and am looking forward to continuing to further my experience with the VMware product portfolio.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
Most of the guys I work with at Xtravirt share a common enthusiasm and passion for the technologies we work with. Hopefully if you are looking into a career in consulting you also share this enthusiasm and drive to learn more.
Start a blog if you don’t already have one. Once you get going, you won’t regret it! Share your experiences around virtualization and cloud computing on social networks (or VMware Communities), and absorb information from others. Get a home lab environment up and running, even if it means nesting ESXi machines as VMs on a laptop – you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve on a modern laptop these days.
Finally, learn from the other experts and technology evangelists out there. Discuss solutions to problems where you can and debate alternate solutions. I find I learn best by doing – so practise what you preach too. Before you know it, a great opportunity may just come knocking on your door