VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX) are part of an elite group of architects leading virtualization implementations around the world. VCDX candidates take a long road to building their designs in preparation for the rigorous defense panels. It takes mentorship and a strong community to encourage our Experts to be the best. This is just one reason why this month we put the spotlight on Paul McSharry (VCDX #234). Paul exemplifies the best of this community. He has been a mentor, panelist, VMworld speaker and filled many more roles in supporting the program and people involved. Not only is Paul a great ambassador for the VCDX and associated certification programs, he also is a technical expert with hundreds of webinars and recorded content on the VMware Learning Zone (VLZ). It’s a distinct pleasure to recognize Paul McSharry as our Spotlight SME!


What is your background? How did you come to work in IT?

I have worked in IT for around 15 years. Originally starting as a software tester and moving into infrastructure working with online retail and financial companies. Following a certification journey of ISEB testing, MCSE, MCT, Cisco, Checkpoint, etc. I started working with virtualization with early versions of ESX. I then moved into consultancy and for 10 years or so I worked as an independent consultant for a variety of customers, partners and VMware directly. Alongside technical projects I maintained the VMware instructor certification and taught courses for VATCs and VMware Education. I successfully defended my VCDX-DCV in 2016 and 12 months ago I transitioned to working full time within VMware as a Staff Architect. I am now part of the Advanced Customer Engagement team with a focus on HCI/vSAN. I’m loving every minute of it!


What do you think makes for a great testing or online learning experience?

The ability to interact directly with a customer using real life examples and relevant business use cases.


You have been involved in both exam and VLZ content development. What about each format is appealing to you as an Education Contributor?

I enjoy both areas of development. VLZ provides the ability to communicate directly with multiple customers and opportunities to discuss with other people in the community. I have particularly enjoyed the NSX series of video in the early days of VLZ, and more recently the live webinars for vSAN in the VLZ live. Exam content development is extremely useful to revisit or explore areas of technology, ensure my skills are still fresh and to bring practical field experience to certification processes.


Why did you become involved in the VMware Education Contributor program?

With my journey to VCDX and role in VMware instructing, the VMware certification programs have helped me build a level of knowledge around multiple levels of technology. Without these programs it would have been much, much harder to build my skill set. The opportunity to work on the contributor program with other experienced people (ie with the VCDX panel program / candidates themselves) and influence certification allows me to continue learning and understand how to enable myself on new technology.


What is the most desirable facet of the Education Contributor program?

Working directly with education and field professionals I would not normally meet as part of my normal day to day work. Continued learning and absorbing information.


How have you benefited from the program?

I have met some amazing people, had the opportunity to learn and consolidate information I would never have had exposure to otherwise. The recent VLZ live and VCDX paneling program opportunities allow me to maintain my design s and teaching skill set while learning new technology and helping others.


Fun Fact

Outside technology I train Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) currently holding a blue belt and I’m a big Beatles fan with a cat called Lennon.


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