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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Good Gigs – My Service Learning Trek with the VMware Foundation

In software development, we measure our work by milestones. The same could be true for measuring your life. If I consider the landmark events in my life, the list of my most rewarding days includes my graduation, my wedding, the birth of my child, and the day I spent at Hua Giang orphanage in Vietnam.

Last year, I was in Vietnam as part of the VMware Foundation Good Gigs program. Through immersing ourselves in the service of others, this program gives people a unique opportunity to not only give back, but to also learn and grow. We collaborated with educators to develop programming curriculum for children attending digital literacy classes in orphanages. The Trek was physically challenging and emotionally insightful. After a week of working in-country and visiting orphanages to prepare teachers to deliver the lessons, our trip ended with an afternoon of playing with the children in the courtyard of Hua Giang. When a little girl asked me if I would be back to play tomorrow, my heart ached. Her question lingered.

Six months later, I accepted the opportunity to lead the next Good Gigs Trek to Cambodia. I felt honored, but apprehensive. The trek to Vietnam had opened my eyes to the power of Service Learning, in contributing to my growth. Now as the lead, my challenge would be to go beyond myself and to ensure the success of the mission and the experience for other trekkers as we deployed a digital literacy curriculum. I also carried with me that burning question from the young girl. What are the ripple effects of our actions?

Arriving in Cambodia, my eyes were open to the smells and sounds of the country. But my view had shifted, I was no longer a tourist. I realized that my presence had impact to the community and I cautiously watched my every step. A village tour was no longer a visit to the countryside. A walk through the market was immersing ourselves in the community. I considered the weight of the footprint we left and wondered if our presence might have been an intrusion. When we asked a father if he sends his children to school, he said, “Education doesn’t make the rice grow.”

Doubt can often be a spiral that leads you down, silences your voice, and paralyzes your actions. On the Trek in Cambodia, I thought about who I want to be. Do I want to be a person who is so fearful that they do not act? I did not. When we go out into the world, of course we have impact. Positive and negative. But if the action we take comes with good intentions, then the light of our actions pushes back the boundaries of darkness. The mistake would be not to act because we are fearful of taking the wrong step. The Good Gigs program doesn’t shy away from tough questions, difficult feelings, or the pains of personal and professional growth. It welcomes them and creates a space for you to explore them even if it puts you outside of your comfort zone. Because that’s where interesting happens. That’s where the growth is.

Through Good Gigs, I learned a great deal about education, economic development, and what it truly means to be in service of others. The result of the program is work that helps charitable organizations, but the outcome is taking learnings from the experience and translating them into growth. These experiences have definitely shaped who I am and what kind of person I want to be. Working at VMware has been professionally rewarding and I am proud of the innovative work that I have been a part of. I am most proud of working with the VMware Foundation and being part of the Good Gigs program. It has been the highlight of my career and will always be a landmark in my life.

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VMware Talent Boost Ignites Learning for New Bulgarian University Student

At VMware, we know first-hand how learning empowers our people’s innovation, both professionally and personally, as they work together to define what’s next for information technology. Talent Boost is an employee-led initiative at VMware Bulgaria that provides future innovators – aka, students – with the resources and tools to grow their IT skills. Join us as we connect with Member of Technical Staff and 2014 Talent Boost participant, Valeri Colov, as he shares a look at his innovation journey. 

 

Valeri_Colov_HeadshotName: Valeri Colov

Role: Member of Technical Staff

Office Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

University: New Bulgarian University

 

 

What inspired you to study computer science in university?

Studying computer science gives me a comprehensive understanding of the surrounding world and this understanding inspires me to seek out opportunities to learn each day. As a computer science student, I am able to make useful programs that make my life and the lives of my relatives better. As a new employee at a leading technology company, I have the opportunity to make my own mark on products and applications that are changing the world.CareerEvent (1)

How did you discover VMware Sofia’s Talent Boost class? What were your takeaways from participating in the academy?

My friend, Stanislav Ivanov, recommended it to me. He shared his own unique experience from participating in Talent Boost the previous year and convinced me that it was worth pursuing. I attended an open house event at VMware Bulgaria called “Lord of the Code” that consisted of technical presentations, a company overview, and networking and fast track interviews. Although I did not make it through this particular interview, I did not give up hope. Several weeks later, a VMware University Relations recruiter, Tinka Ivanova, reached out to me. She asked if I was still interested in VMware and offered an opportunity to participate in VMware’s Talent Boost class. I grabbed the opportunity and that’s how my career started at VMware. My main takeaway from this experience is that as a student, it is important to learn fundamental concepts and focus on how things work in principle instead of concrete technologies and tools.

What’s your favorite memory of your experience with Talent Boost?

During Talent Boost, participants have the opportunity to experience the atmosphere and culture at VMware Bulgaria. One of my favorite memories was when the other Talent Boost participants and I enjoyed some relaxation time playing games with auto simulators. There was a projector, a steering wheel, and three pedals that connected a gearshift to a PlayStation. The game was called Gran Turismo. One of the Talent Boost lecturers organized a competition for us with the game. It was fun because most of us had never played a game on PlayStation with a steering wheel before. The best moment was seeing people with real driving experience mess up. This was because the people with their driver’s licenses were busy making sure that they weren’t hitting walls while the people without their driver’s licenses were open to exploring the road and driving fast. I was one of those people:)

You’re about to start your career at VMware. What are you looking forward to within your new role?

While this is the start of my career at VMware, it is also the start of my career in general, as I am a recent graduate from New Bulgarian University. I know that I will do well sometimes and there will be other times that I make mistakes while working on problems. I know that the people that surround me here at VMware will be by my side as I navigate through whatever technological challenges come my way. Because of this, the lessons I learn will empower other recent graduates joining VMware in the future.

What advice would you share with students looking to join VMware Talent Boost in Sofia, Bulgaria?

What can a student looking to join Talent Boost do? Stop looking and do your best to join. Talent Boost is an intensive course covering a variety of topics such as data structure, algorithms, OOP, Input/Output, networking, multithreading, and more. VMware employees, who are the Talent Boost instructors and innovators in their field, will challenge you to grow. The path to success is full of failures and lessons learned – this is one of the best ways to grow. If the VMware University Relations team doesn’t connect with you right away, re-strategize and be better next year. If they call you and you get into Talent Boost, empower yourself to make the most of this course. My formula to success during the course was: Comprehend, Challenge and Code.

  • Comprehend: Listen to what the lecturers share with you and try to understand why the things are done that way.
  • Challenge: Challenge the Status Quo. Work in “what if” mode (i.e. “What if I do it in another way?”).
  • Code: Try to code everything you learn.

 

Click here to learn more about VMware’s Talent Boost Class.

 

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VMware Innovator: Aaron Rosen

For Staff Engineer, Aaron Rosen, solving customers’ toughest business challenges within the infrastructure space is what empowers him to innovate at VMware. We invite you to watch this month’s VMware Innovation Series spotlight and hear how VMware enables Rosen to drive what’s next in his role and how people with an OpenStack background can make a difference at VMware.

Compelled by Aaron’s story to challenge the status quo in technology? Visit VMware’s company blog, Tribal Knowledge, to learn more about Aaron’s perspective on the innovation programs at VMware that are empowering him and the wider community to thrive. <Insert bitly link to Tribal Knowledge post>

 

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