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Monthly Archives: February 2014

True Professional Growth Goes Beyond Salary Bumps and Promotions

Shawns_Profile_PicAs a recruiter one of the most common questions I receive from potential hires is, “What kind of professional growth does VMware offer?” From human resources to engineering, VMware is passionate about empowering its people with the tools and resources to grow. I can personally attest to this statement.

When I began my journey at VMware as a staffing coordinator, I had little experience in university recruiting. My role was to schedule interviews and book travel for potential new hires visiting VMware’s campuses around the globe. In just two years, I’ve progressed from staffing coordinator to junior university recruiter and into my current role, as a university recruiter. I have the privilege of working with and hiring some of the brightest engineers computer science has to offer.

This journey would not have been possible if I wasn’t given the tools and support I needed to be successful. There is a lot of opportunity for growth in my team. We have countless projects that don’t fall under a specific person’s responsibilities so any time I see a special project, I always make sure my management knows I’m open to the challenge. For example, I was asked to co-pilot a 300-person open house event for students at VMware headquarters last summer. This was the first event of its kind for our team and I was honored to be able to plan and execute the event with another colleague. It taught me the value of collaboration and event planning, which I can take with me on my professional journey. I’m grateful to have a great management team that trusts me with more challenging projects like this one.Shawn_Convo_Pic

Well enough about me. I recently connected with Charles Monnett, a University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign computer engineering undergraduate, and one of my first hires as a VMware Recruiter, to get his take on the opportunities for professional growth at VMware.

Charles is a Member of Technical Staff for the Continuous Product Development team (CPD). He does the maintenance of VMware’s hypervisor (ESXi) at the hardware level.

When I asked Charles about his experience over his first six months, he had some great things to say.

“I love what I’m doing here. My manager trusts me to make decisions that will impact our products. He lets me choose how I want to handle a problem and if I make a mistake, he gives me the opportunity to fix the mistake rather than fix it himself.”

Professional growth isn’t always about promotions and salary bumps. Being allowed to make decisions and working through the results of those decisions can grow your toolbox of professional knowledge. As a software engineer, it’s easy to only focus on the code. As an engineer at an enterprise software company, software engineers need to be able to interface with their customers so that they can understand what their needs are and shape their product enhancements around these needs. “I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here,” Charles said. “One thing I’ve learned, that they don’t really teach you in school, is how to work with customers. It’s nice to learn the non-technical side of things. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work for our customers will allow me to make our product even better.”

When asked about his manager’s interest in his professional development, Charles said, “He genuinely cares about my professional development. Just a few months into working at VMware I was given the opportunity to be a triage lead. It gave me insight to how our company partners with our customers to resolve customer issues and it also got my name out there.” Charles continued to say, “I’m learning to work with people. I can take these skills home with me and it helps me be a better friend and a better husband… At first I thought I was just lucky to have landed on such a great team, but I’m starting to see that I’m not the only one here who has such a supportive manager, it’s company wide and I’m glad I chose to start my career at VMware.”

Like Charles, I too am glad to have started my career with VMware. With over 14,000+ coworkers, I feel that each of us has won the career lottery as we’re empowered to drive what’s next for our customers, the business, and each other.

 

-Shawn Sigona
About Shawn: Shawn is a University Recruiter for VMware’s University Relations team. He works at VMware’s corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, California supporting the Suite business unit. When Shawn isn’t recruiting, he spends his free time playing video games and rebuilding broken computers.

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Chris Knowles’ Work is Creating the Music of the Data Center

At VMware, our people are empowered to defy convention while pursuing the seemingly impossible. Hear from Chris Knowles, VMware Staff Solutions Architect, on the innovation projects that play a part in his growth.

 

Chris_Knowles_HeadshotName: Chris Knowles

Role: Staff Solutions Architect

Office Location: London, Ontario, Canada

Years at VMware: 3.85

Favorite tech innovation: The transistor

 

 

What inspired you to pursue your current career?

When I was very young, probably around three years old, I started tinkering in my father and grandfather’s workshops. I would take apart everything I could get my hands on, sometimes to the dismay of my parents. One day, my dad brought home a commodore pc10-II IBM clone from work when I was a kid and from then on I was hooked. I had found something in computers that really resonated with me, and when I reached an age where I started thinking about what I was going to do for a living I knew that it would be technology related. As a little kid I was always interested in the technology behind the things I enjoyed. When I was around 8 years old if you asked me what I wanted to be for a living, I would have answered a hydrodynamics engineer. What 8-year old wants to do that for a living? I did. I wanted to work for Reggie Fountain and build the fastest offshore race boats in the world. I have enjoyed working with computers from a very young age, and as such I didn’t so much pursue a career in technology, as evolve into it.

How would you describe what you do at VMware?

My team has three primary roles. We support top deals and escalations that become very complex from both a business process and technology standpoint and we deliver advanced enablement for the field specialists on our product stack derived from what we learn dealing with top deals and escalations. Without trying to sound arrogant, our team effectively acts as the expert’s expert.

Continuous learning is what helps us innovate. How do you practice this at VMware?

We are constantly working on pushing the limits of what we can do with our solutions. This drive to innovate allows us to be in a constant state of learning. Learning is not something that we should set time aside to do; it should be a part of our everyday actions. I had a teacher in high school that went to great lengths to instill a love of learning in her students, and that has stuck with me. I enjoy growth and strive to learn every day.

Which VMware values most resonate with you? 

Overall, I would say execution and passion.  I am constantly amazed at how much we can accomplish when we work on things that we are passionate about. Any of the projects I have had the opportunity to work on that I am truly passionate about don’t ever feel like work. Anything that is worth doing is worth doing as best as you possibly can. I don’t think you can over-execute on something, especially something you are passionate about.

How did your growth and development at VMware empower you to work on “Music of the Data Center?”

I have an amazing leadership team that I report into at VMware. They have always been incredibly supportive of us and allowed us the freedom to pursue our objectives in a very unconstrained and freeform manner. This has allowed my team to develop some very innovative solutions to problems that were often thought unsolvable with our current technology. This led to me winning the DaVinci Award, an internal award that is given out to employees within GTS (Global Technology Services) for continually innovating to solve problems and create new ideas. As part of the award, I was given a week to work on whatever I wanted. I had been playing around with the concept of the music of the data center since around 2007. I had been doing some experiments and algorithm development over the years but with not much focus or direction. When I was given the week to work on whatever I wanted, I felt it would be a great opportunity for me to put my head down and see if I could make some real progress on the concept based on my past work and the knowledge I had gained over my time at VMware. At the end of the week, I was able to show real results by building a basic proof of concept of some of the fundamental components of the concept. This led to me submitting my work to the VMware XLR8 program, an internal program for employees to work on hard engineering problems. I’m anxiously waiting to see if it is accepted. It’s an incredibly high bar to be accepted to XLR8 so I’m not holding my breath, but it’s great to work somewhere that even has an avenue by which to get your ideas visibility.

Share what’s next for you, your team or VMware?

I’m hoping that my research proposal is accepted in the VMware XLR8 Program. My team is working on developing new enablement for the field specialists and I’m working with colleagues across GTS on a new program for engaging with top deal customers in order to drive the closure rate and timing of large ELAs.

 

 

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Learning from failure and making mistakes empowered VMware engineer Rostislav Georgiev to better innovate.

Let’s celebrate our code architects, technological innovators, intellectual mavericks, and pursuers of the seemingly impossible – let’s celebrate engineers.

In honor of Engineers Week (February 16-22), we’re sharing the dynamic stories of our very own people. Today we hear from Rostislav Georgiev from VMware Sofia, on his love for solving complex problems, understanding coding mistakes, and leveraging this insight to challenge the status quo in technology.

 

Rostislav_Georgiev_Photo_2Name: Rostislav Georgiev

Role: Engineer

Office Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

Years at VMware: 4

Favorite Engineering Breakthrough: Mobile communication

 

How did you get into engineering?

Since my early childhood, I have been in love with math. My free time was spent solving various mathematical problems and when I was 13, a friend took me to the only place in the city that had computers – they were 8bits. It was a magical moment for me – learning that you can tell machines what to do. Since then computers have been an integral part of my life. Upon graduation, I applied for my first job as a software engineer.

What does the 2014 National Engineers Week theme, “Let’s Make a difference” mean to you? How are you making a difference through your contributions?

When I was at university, it was really hard to find a place where I could practice and learn real world software engineering skills. I don’t want this to be the case for current students so I proactively contribute ideas towards the growth and development of the VMware University Relations Program.

Share an engineering project that you’ve enjoyed working on at VMware. What were your key takeaways or learnings? 

That’s easy, “vCenter Orchestrator”, VMware’s best kept secret. Having a manager with the right vision for the product, who enables engineers’ creativity, is priceless. One of the takeaways for me was that in the real world just having a smart idea is not enough, you need to be able to sell it and show that it has a business value.  

What is the best advice that you’ve received as an engineer?

When I was a beginner in engineering, I got the following simple advice from my mentor, “Learn to fail.” For me this has meant learning to make mistakes in code – lots of mistakes. Try things and work out why they went wrong. Don’t be afraid to build the wrong things the wrong way. It’s all good practice, and you’ll learn why it was wrong and that means that the next things you build will be better.

What would you tell a young person interested in pursuing this field of study?

Don’t aim to be a software engineer, aim to change the world. Change your world. Look at what could be made better through technology in your everyday life. It happens that computers are all over the place, and provide really useful ways to make the world better. Learning to code, learning how to wrangle these machines, means you have access to good sharp tools for making the world better.

Be ready to constantly learn as technology evolves really fast. Study about all the fields related to computer science and then choose a particular direction. Whenever you have free time, spend it researching new technologies in the market and watch out for the technologies that will be useful in the future.

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VMware’s Jing Gong Shares How a Clear Picture Can Amplify the Impact of an Engineer’s Work

Let’s celebrate our code architects, technological innovators, intellectual mavericks, and pursuers of the seemingly impossible – let’s celebrate engineers.

In honor of Engineers Week (February 16-22), we’re sharing the dynamic stories of our very own people. Today we hear from Jing Gong from VMware Shanghai, on the power of teamwork, diverse perspectives, and tackling hard problems.

 

JG3Name: Jing Gong

Role: Member of Technical Staff

Office Location: Shanghai, China

Years at VMware: 1.5 years

Favorite Engineering Breakthrough: Virtualization

 

How did you get into engineering?

Software engineering wasn’t my initial choice, however, after taking a few courses and writing a few programs, I started to enjoy programming and was excited that I could even enhance my own productivity through software.  Also, I especially like being able to see the direct impact from products and tools to help others so I continued to pursue this field after graduation.

What does the 2014 Engineers Week theme, “Let’s Make a difference” mean to you? How are you making a difference through your contributions?

To me this simply means creating tools that help accelerate development.

I have been playing a role as a quality engineer so far; efficiency and effectiveness of test tools and development processes is my daily focus. It’s necessary to make changes and re-factor all the duplicated manual efforts that waste resources. My responsibility is to research new automation approaches, better test processes, and develop tools accordingly. JG2

Share an engineering project that you’ve enjoyed working on at VMware. What were your key takeaways or learnings?

Cloud Foundry  was my initial project at VMware. Working with other high caliber team members really helped empower me to grow. My colleagues were able to drive me to even higher levels of efficiency and tackle some really tough problems. For instance, we were trying to decrease the time spent for running a set of systems tests by a factor of 20x. Through collaboration and teamwork, we were able to quickly identify bottlenecks in the tests and test environment. From there each team member worked on a piece of optimization.

What is the best advice that you’ve received as an engineer?

Take Charge. My first mentor told me, “You should have both overall and varying perspectives on the project. Just think as if you were the owner of the project.” This advice helps me form a clearer picture of the projects that I work on at VMware. Specifically, this sense of ownership leads to a better understanding of the design of features and general architecture.

What would you tell a young person interested in pursuing this field of study?

Technology changes rapidly, so continuous learning is absolutely necessary and must be driven first and foremost by the individuals themselves. The best way to learn is through practice. Tackling extremely challenging problems typically helps to accelerate this learning process. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, as these questions may even help to uncover something even more profound.

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VMware engineer Aravind Srinivasan shares how every problem has a good solution when you apply persistence and perspective.

Let’s celebrate our code architects, technological innovators, intellectual mavericks, and pursuers of the seemingly impossible – let’s celebrate engineers.

In honor of Engineers Week (February 16-22), we’re sharing the dynamic stories of our very own people. Today we hear from Aravind Srinivasan from VMware Pune, on the art of engineering and key learnings that have helped him tackle challenging problems.

Aravind__Srinivasan_Engineers_WeekName: Aravind Srinivasan

Role: Engineer

Office Location: Pune, India

Years at VMware: 5

Favorite engineering breakthrough:  My favorite engineering breakthrough is the discovery of electromagnetic induction, the invention of the electric motor and generator.

How did you get into engineering?

Since I was a child, I liked physics and mathematics. I always wanted to know how things worked and thoroughly enjoyed experiments. This curiosity, passion and desire to pursue the seemingly impossible moved me towards engineering. After I got introduced to computers at my father’s office, I got hooked on computers and electronics.

What does the 2014 Engineers Week theme, “Let’s Make a difference” mean to you? How are you making a difference through your contributions?

The theme is about helping kids and adults understand what we engineers do, what engineering is, and how one becomes an engineer. I happily explain what I do and what VMware people create, when I come across someone interested in learning more. I know that I can do more to help amplify the community’s understanding of engineering, and look forward to discovering more opportunities for me to do so in 2014.

Share an engineering project that you’ve enjoyed working on at VMware. What were your key takeaways or learnings?

I thoroughly enjoyed working on the VMware Edge product with my teammates. My key takeaways were:

  • experience in designing a manager of a virtual network
  • learning how to better collaborate and work together as a team
  • learning to manage and guide a team to adapt to a new development environment

What is the best advice that you’ve received as an engineer?

The best advice that I have received is that every problem we face has a good solution. If we persist enough, we can find it. It might seem daunting at first, it might seem impossible to solve after a lot of effort. But if we step back, relax and change our perspective, and continue our efforts, we will eventually get the solution.

What would you tell a young person interested in pursuing this field of study?

Engineering is an art. Engineering is fun. Everything we learn gives us insight to become better engineers. However there will be something that attracts us and ignites our passion, which sometimes is a distraction too. Keep going on your learning path and embrace whatever comes your way. Keep working on your passion too. When you are ready, your favorite work will find you.

 

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What does being an influencer have to do with solving complex engineering problems? Learn from VMware engineer Maria Basmanova’s perspective.

Let’s celebrate our code architects, technological innovators, intellectual mavericks, and pursuers of the seemingly impossible – let’s celebrate engineers.

In honor of Engineers Week (February 16-22), we’re sharing the dynamic stories of our very own people. Today we hear from Maria Basmanova on her passion for mathematics, solving hard problems, and the engineering advice that empowered her to grow.

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetName: Maria Basmanova

Role: Engineer

Office Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Years at VMware: 8

 

How did you get into Engineering?

I really liked math and I was very good at it, so I majored in Mathematics at my university. I have a Bachelors of Science and a Masters in Science in Mathematics from Lomonosov Moscow State University. After graduation I became very interested in programming so I took some classes and as they say, ‘the rest is history.’

What does the 2014 Engineers Week theme, “Let’s Make a Difference” mean to you?

It means finding something to work on that you are passionate about. For me, I make a difference by creating software that helps our customers do business better.

Share an engineering project you’ve enjoyed working on at VMware.

Right now I am working on Disaster Recovery for the Cloud. I enjoy it because our customers love and depend on our products. Our products are very relevant. It is satisfying to know what my team and I are working on improves the lives our customers and businesses around the world.

What is the best advice that you’ve received as an engineer?

One of my first managers at VMware suggested that I think about ways in which I can influence other engineers, both internally and outside of the company. He said that becoming an influencer would be just as important for my career as writing amazing code and making things work perfectly.

What would you tell a young person interested in pursuing this field of study?

I would tell them to get into it for the right reasons; it shouldn’t be just about the money you can earn. To be a successful software engineer you need to be passionate about writing software, designing algorithms and solving very hard problems.

 

 

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Innovation at Work: VMware’s 2014 Academic Conference Schedule

Jikado_HannaConference season has arrived for many of us here on the VMware University Relations  & VMAP (VMware Academic Program) teams. Each year, VMware takes a targeted approach towards sponsoring the top systems software conferences worldwide. We feel that interacting with research communities is paramount to our ability to innovate on forward-looking technology. The value of any conference comes from what we as a company and staff member can bring back and share. VMware attends and sponsors these conferences in an effort to listen and learn from industry leaders and experts, educate individuals on our different product lines and build relationships with students, faculty, and customers.

As we plan for this year’s events, I wanted to take a moment to share a list of the 2014 Academic Conferences that VMware will be sponsoring.

FAST (File and Storage Technologies) Conference: February 17 – 20, Santa Clara, California

ASPLOS (Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems) Conference: March 1– 5, Salt Lake City, Utah

NSDI (Networked Systems Design and Implementation) Conference: April 2 – 4, Seattle, Washington

EuroSys Conference: April 13 – 16, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

IEEE Security & Privacy Conference: May 18 – 21, San Jose, California

USENIX ATC Conference: June 16 – 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Includes the USENIX ATC, HotCloud, HotStorage, ICAC and WiAC events)

SIGCOMM Conference: August 17 – 22, Chicago, Illinois

VLDB Conference: September 1– 5, Hangzhou, China

OSDI (Operating Systems Design and Implementation) Conference: October 6 – 8, Broomfield, Colorado

LISA (Large Installation System Administration) Conference: November 9 – 14, Seattle, Washington

For those planning on attending, you will have an opportunity to engage with VMware  representatives and engineers in a number of ways such as stopping by our booth to chat, attending our “Birds of a Feather” sessions, checking out our technical posters, listening to one of our keynote talks or sitting in on one of our technical research presentations. So whether you’re a system administrator, architect, software engineer, researcher, aspiring student, or otherwise involved in IT services, these conference will be advantageous for you to attend.

With that, we anticipate a strong VMware presence at this year’s academic conferences and look forward to connecting with anyone and everyone who plans on attending!

 
-Jikado Hanna

 
About Jikado: Jikado Hanna is a Technical Recruiter on the University Relations team. Based out of the VMware Cambridge, Massachusetts site, Jikado’s focus is on building relationships with the Nation’s top PhD Students. He is an avid Boston and New England sports fan and also considers himself a food enthusiast.

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Joseph Viegas Literally Shines Light on the Power of Service.

At VMware, our giving is rooted in a concept, called “Citizen Philanthropy,” recognizing that we all have something we can contribute to the community. Hear from Joseph Viegas on the light that sparked his passion to give more.

 

Joseph V's headName: Joseph Viegas

Title: Technical Support Manager, Infrastructure Escalation Engineer team

Office Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Years at VMware: 3

 

How would you describe what you do at VMware?

I lead a team of highly skilled and tenured technical support engineers who diagnose and resolve the most complex issues faced by our customers. As corny as it might sound, I am sometimes reminded of the line from Ghostbusters: “If there is something strange in your neighborhood…If there is something weird and it don’t look good….who you going to call….” Beyond supporting our customers on the phone and online, my team is regularly asked to drop everything and fly out to critical customer sites to ensure that fast effective problem resolutions are delivered along with best-practice plans to avoid future situations. With some of the worlds most critical systems and applications running on VMware software, we take our job very seriously.

In 2013, you participated in a Service Learning activity. Can you share how you contributed back to the community and what you learned through that experience?

In the spring of 2013, I took part in a Service Learning opportunity with Solar Energy International in Costa Rica. The project involved learning about and installing rudimentary solar systems for remote homes in the Costa Rican rain forest. The change that these systems brought about in the lives of the individuals we helped was just astounding.Joseph_Viegas_SL_2

With no local electrical source, families in these remote areas are obligated to charge their cell phones at a charging location in town while a second phone is in use around their homes. Each week a member of the family has to swap out the dead cell phone for the other phone that has been charging in town all week. Our service project allowed us to install a cell phone charger along with the electrical system. The smile on the homeowner’s face when he turned on the lights in his home for the first time was a ‘thank you’ in itself. But the look on his wife’s face when she realized that she did not have to complete the weekly trek into town for the cell phone swap was just priceless. This experience opened my eyes and showed me how people can fundamentally change the way people live their lives.

What advice would you give to people who have the intention to volunteer, but just can’t find the time?

Every little bit helps. Start small and know that opportunities exist everywhere, so what ever you contribute will make a difference. Chat with others when looking for ways to give back. Look at volunteering as food for the soul.

Now in 2014, can you share what’s next for you, your team or VMware?

I am always on the lookout for amazing stories of people doing small things that make a big difference in the lives of others. I recently watched a documentary series entitled, Why Poverty?, that is aimed at getting people to talk about the topic of poverty itself. One film struck a cord with me called Solar Mamas. The work being done by the Barefoot College in Tilonia, a village in the Ajmer district in Rajasthan, India, showed me how much could be achieved with so little.Joseph_Viegas_SL_3

The Solar Mamas project empowers illiterate women from all over the developing world to learn a skill (solar energy in this case) that allows them to go back to their homes and in-turn make a difference in their corner of the world. I was so moved by this documentary that I was inspired to visit the Barefoot College during a recent trip to India. No words can describe the work being done there. Illiterate men and women from all over the world are being taught to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors so that they can make a difference in their villages.

Because of these experiences, my next project is to find a way to get involved with the Barefoot College. Thanks to the support of VMware and the generosity of the VMware Foundation, which empowers employees with 40 paid hours each year to give back, I know that I can. That’s what so awesome about working at VMware – there’s Food (resources and people) for all parts of your professional and personal (soul) development.

 

 

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