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This is the first in the series of the vExpert Spotlight posts, which will feature our current vExperts throughout the year. The idea belongs to Gregg Robertson, one of our vExperts, who not only came up with it, but also valiantly send out the spotlight questionnaires to all the vExperts, and has been sending the completed profiles to me almost daily since. Thank you Gregg! –@VMwareCommunity


It is with a lot of excitement that this series of postings are being published. The idea of this was because my brother in law is looking to get into the IT industry and there isn't that much stuff out there giving someone like him some tips and advice of how to get a role like the ones the vExpert’s hold. I’m a firm believer in sharing knowledge which is possibly why I was selected as a vExpert for 2011 and I thought I know I would love to get tips from a large number of the vExpert’s of how they gained their roles, advice they would give to people wanting to get into IT or those already in IT who want to get a role like the ones a number of the vExpert’s hold. So below is my entry and hopefully if a large amount of vExpert’s keep sending me their entries we can have a few of them a week.

Blog URL: http://thesaffageek.co.uk/

Twitter handle: @greggrobertson5

Current employer: EMC Consulting

How did you get into IT?

I always loved playing around with all technology and knew in high school that I wanted to get a job in IT as it was the only thing I loved doing and was really interested in. I studied for a year after high school doing the basics of A+ N+ Security+, which I loved learning so much I was, one of the top in the class (a sheer miracle in my schooling career). After that year, I decided to start working and my first job was laying networking cables through buildings and building pc’s. The money was very basic but everyone has to start somewhere.

I left that role and got a new one doing an IT asset register for a company on a three-month contract while I enrolled myself into a part time MCSE 2000 course. I finished the asset register in just over a month and started proving myself doing first line desktop support and they loved my passion and hard work so much that within three years I was the Systems Administrator of the company and had obtained my MCSE 2000 and upgraded to MCSE 2003. I left South Africa to try get into the big leagues of IT in the UK and got myself a role with Conchango who later was bought out by EMC to become their consulting arm of which I am still a part.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

One of my colleagues was looking after a VMware lab environment and whenever I could I would watch him and learn off him and asked him if I could do something to learn it as Virtualisation interested me and I really wanted to get to know it. He let me build low level VM’s and slowly but surely I learnt more and started doing more until it was a major part of my daily job due to the growing amount of environment’s we had.

I learnt all I could from my colleague, all the VMware blogs, read and tried to give answers to discussions on the VMware communities and studied and obtained my VCP 3.5 and 4. I was fortunate enough to become a vExpert this year as I made a conscience effort to try become one and so did all I could on the VMware communities, blogged as often as I could and was always trying to pass my growing knowledge on twitter. I also attend the London VMUG whenever I can.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

As mentioned, I was never in the smart class at school and never got into university but I never let that hold me back and have been working and studying as much as I can to get myself to where I am today. What I would tell someone wanting a role like mine is:

  • IT is very unique in that you can become really good at it and climb the ladder by working hard and grabbing any opportunities that are given to you even if you maybe don’t have a degree.
  • I would recommend doing a degree if you can though as it is a massive help.
  • Work hard, have a real passion for what you are doing and a real desire to learn and grow.
  • Remember everyone has to start somewhere, you will most likely not get that dream role straight away.
  • Get blogging, tweeting and on the forums as it’s the best way to learn from some of the top people in the industry as well as getting your name out there.