Our Meet the Hiring Manager series allows you to get to know the people who grow teams at VMware. You will learn about our hiring managers’ career paths and what they look for in candidates during the interview. This week we’d like you to meet Pam Cocca.
Palo Alto, California
VMware Careers: Tell us about your career journey to date?
Pam Cocca: It’s been over 20 years now since I made the leap into the field of IT and wow, what a ride it’s been! As a young 20-something recently out of school with a husband and two young kids, I remember not being too sure what it was that I wanted to do when I “grew up.” As I scanned the newspaper (yes, the newspaper!) for jobs available in our area I came across a job posting for an IT desktop support position. I had no previous experience in desktop support but I had a passion for learning and for helping others. I had also recently read a book about TCP/IP and was fascinated to learn about how computers actually talked to one another (who knew?!). Despite my lack of experience and in-depth technical knowledge, I took a chance and applied for the position. Not only did I get the job but, looking back over 20 years later after having progressed from desktop support to system admin to various leadership positions within IT, I can’t believe how fortunate I am to be where I am now.
I started off my career in a desktop support role. When I started I had hardly any technical experience but I had a passion for learning new things, helping others, and I was innately curious about the world of technology. As I gained more technical knowledge and experience, I progressed from desktop support to sys admin supporting technologies like Microsoft Exchange, Citrix, various VMware products, and others. I considered pursuing a career in networking and IT security but shortly after completing my CISSP certification I ended up in a (junior) leadership role and discovered then that my true passion was leading people and teams. As a woman working in a field dominated by men, it hasn’t always been easy, but working for VMware, a company that is passionate about many of the same things I am and that encourages me to bring my authentic self to work every day makes every challenge I’ve overcome worth it. I have a team of amazing individuals doing amazing work, who constantly remind me about everything that made me fall in love with this profession in the first place.
VMware Careers: How is VMware different from any other tech company you have worked for?
Pam Cocca: I never worked for a tech company prior to working at VMware! I worked in the non-profit industry for about 10 years before joining VMware, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first. It felt strange to not be constantly operating on a shoe-string budget but I think that all those years of ‘doing more with less’ set me up for success in any future role I’d have. I’m also happy to say that giving back to the community is HUGE at VMware and so in a lot of ways, it feels like I am still closely connected to causes that are important to me in the work that I do every day.
VMware Careers: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you moved upwards in your career?
Pam Cocca: I think to be successful in your career, whether moving up or otherwise you need to find something that interests you and that you are passionate about. The rest will take care of itself. If you stay too long in a job you don’t love, you will eventually burn out and/or you will get ‘stuck’, and neither of those feels very good.
VMware Careers: Your team is hiring. Can you tell us more about your organization’s charter?
Pam Cocca: My team is responsible for delivering a delightful technology experience that enables VMware colleagues to do their best work. Yes, it’s a mouth full! Our charter is wide and while we are a support organization first and foremost, we aren’t your typical ‘support’ organization. We work closely with all parts of IT and the business to help drive outcomes and ultimately VMware’s success as a company.
VMware Careers: If someone reading this was coming to interview with you tomorrow for a role in your org, what interview tips would you give them?
Pam Cocca: I would break it down to these four pieces of advice.
- Know what you are passionate about and how it connects to the work.
- Research the company and know why you want to come and work with us.
- Be yourself – it’s obvious when people are telling you what they think you want to hear.
- Ask good questions, you are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you.