Author: David Jasso
Kit Colbert, VMware Cloud Platform Business Unit CTO recently delivered a really thoughtful keynote at a VMUG professional development event. That keynote focused on the many career paths open to VI Admins.
“What’s next?” is a really important question for all of us in the tech industry. The technology treadmill keeps turning. We all have to ask ourselves:
- What’s in my skills toolbox?
- What’s coming on the treadmill that looks interesting to me?
- What should I learn that keeps my toolbox fresh and sets me up for the next step in my career?
But for VI admins, who’s career success so far is built on VMware skills, it can be a tough question to figure out what skills to add and what step to take next.
If you haven’t heard of the VMware User Group — VMUG – it is a fully independent organization that provides continuous education and community for all things VMware. There are over 150,000 individuals across the globe that are members of VMUG.
During his keynote Kit shared the results of research he has complied, talking to a wide range of former VI admins over the last few months. Specifically, he asked admins about the choices they navigated during their careers.
Many Paths to a Bright Future
Not surprisingly the paths taken by these individuals reflected a broad set of options and choices. To a person, each individual felt that becoming a proficient VI Admin was a solid foundation they built on to open many doors in terms of career advancement.
A shortlist of the paths pursued by these individuals is a great summary list for you to consider as you think about your next steps. Note – this isn’t a commercial blog, but some of these steps are obvious if your organization has expanded your VMware footprint beyond vSphere.
- Kubernetes Infrastructure Administrator – Help your company modernize its application portfolio with Kubernetes and run containerized applications at-scale in production. This is an obvious choice now that Kubernetes is baked into vSphere with Tanzu.
- Full Stack Virtualization Engineer – Help your organization connect the dots across virtualized compute, storage and networking. This is another obvious step if your group is implementing VMware Cloud Foundation.
- Virtualized Network Engineer – Become an expert on how to fully exploit software-defined networking and network security. If your team has or is thinking about adding VMware NSX your existing skills are a building block for a shift to the network or even the security team.
- Data Center Automation Engineer – Be the most knowledgeable person in the room about how to use data center automation to accelerate service delivery. Focusing on solutions like vRealize Operations and vRealize Automation can off growth opportunities. These solutions work across data center and public cloud and are also available as SaaS, so you can further expand and start building cloud skills.
- DevOps or CI/CD Automation Engineer – Help your company accelerate software delivery through tool integration and automation of the software lifecycle. The Dev part of DevOps sometimes gets more visibility than Ops. But as Ops, you can “shift left” upstream in the release process and provide valuable skills and production perspective.
- Cloud Architect – If you extend your data center and scale your software-defined data center by leveraging VMware Cloud AWS, as well as VMware Cloud solutions from Azure, Google and other hyperscale cloud providers, taking a step to the cloud can be a great career move.
This is just a subset of the many career and personal growth opportunities that exist today for VI admins.
Kit also talked with VI admins about some of the soft factors, such as personal attributes, habits and approaches to work, that made a big difference in moving their careers forward. Here is what they told him.
- Embrace change – In the world of tech, you just can’t afford to be afraid of change. There’s just too much of it.
- Network, network, network – You can’t learn everything you need to know from talking to people alone but you’ll definitely miss out on a lot if you don’t make talking with peers a priority.
- Set goals – Many people identified having explicit goals and holding themself accountable as a key contributor to their success. Pursuing formal certification was mentioned as a great way to make a goal explicit.
- Adopt a continuous learner mindset – Learn to enjoy the journey as well as the destination With so much constantly changing, the only way to remain relevant is to keep learning.
The Continuous Learner’s Toolkit
Kit focused on tools that make a continuous learner mindset work. Here are some of the best ideas on how you can stay relevant in today’s fast-moving world of tech.
- Get your hands dirty with “Hands-on Labs” and “Try for Free” offers. These are a great way to take a structured approach around getting introduced to a new area of technology.
- Sign up for courses (face to face and online). Especially ones that lead to a certification.
- Attend Free Webinars. Most are now available on-demand so you can always fit them into a busy schedule.
- Go to Conferences (especially VMworld). Conferences are a great force multiplier as they bring together training and networking.
- Join VMUG. Hopefully, we will soon get back to having in-person local chapter meetings. But for now, many chapters are meeting remotely. And like attending conferences, you can pick and choose to combine training and networking activities that help you meet your goals.
Watch the Keynote; Get the eBook
If this blog was helpful, definitely watch the keynote.
Kit and others wrapped up some great first-person testimonials in this eBook.
David Jasso is a Director of Cloud Marketing at VMware focused on Multi-Cloud operations. David joined VMware in 2011 and was a key member of the team that introduced VMware vRealize Operations to the market. He has also lead product marketing for VMware’s vRealize Suite with a focus on automation and business management technologies. Prior to joining VMware, David held roles in Product Management, Industry Marketing and Product Marketing for a major Enterprise Management vendor. During his career, David has also held roles in engineering program management, data warehousing project management and has been a manager of corporate finance and IT teams.