Twitter Handle: @hashmibilal
Blog URL: www.cloud-buddy.com
Current Employer: Verizon
How did you get into IT?
I was 9 years old when I realized there is nothing that I want to do when I grow up except computers. So naturally after high school, I went to college got my Bachelors in IT. While still in school (because it took forever), I accepted my first IT job (not so great btw) and for the first time in my life I made money from knowing about computers. This job was really a jack-of-all-trades kind of gig, which ran from "hey we can't connect to anything anywhere" to "call roto rooters, the toilets are not working". I am not kidding that’s exactly what happened. Technically, I may not have gotten a lot of hands-on experience there, but I did acquire some very good experience. So if your first IT job sucks, don't feel bad, we have all been there at some point.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
I played around with VMware workstation and VMware server but never really thought too much of it besides a testing platform. I know I am retarded. Then ESX 3.5 slapped me across the head and I was stunned. Totally shocked at how cool this really is, how the businesses will benefit from this and of course how stupid I have really been. I fell in love with the product and have never looked back since. Having realized how stupid I have been, I learned another thing about myself that I can be very forgetful. So I started keeping notes about stuff that I thought was interesting.
Then one morning, I saw someone on a forum asking if a vCenter can be a VM and I was like yeah sure why not. All of sudden I had an epiphany; I am not the only dumbass in the world. So I decided to start a blog and publish what I felt was important/interesting there. This way I still get to have my notes and at the same time help the community. Of course, the idea that I have my own blog was so super cool that I just had to do it (FYI my wife hates it btw). Thanks to the blog and the activity in the super slow VMTN forum, I was rewarded with a vExpert title; thank you John Troyer. I never thought I will be selected but I guess we have to give ourselves a little bit of credit sometimes.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
I will ask them are you nuts? Do you not love your spouse? Do you not have a life? On a serious note, one should not run after money. One should really do what they love and have a passion for. Whatever it may be. I say if your passion is washing cars, and then do that and you will become the best car washer ever. You get in IT and you will become some IT dude. What would you rather be? The best car washer ever or some IT dude?
So if your passion is IT (and confirm 10 times that is the case), then understand what comes with it. IT is an ever-evolving place; a place that changes so drastically that you can easily go nuts if you are not passionate about it. So confirm that you’re in love with IT first. You will be required to learn new things throughout your career and deal with new challenges all the time. However, that’s what makes IT the best place to be unlike some other professions (I won't name any because I decided to be PC in this paragraph), IT will require you to be up to speed with the technology.
To put things in perspective, if you are a VMware 4.1 guru, guess what vSphere 5 is coming out now. So start setting up your lab to learn what’s new in vSphere 5. If you are a big looser like I am, I say IT will provide you enough to where you might say, “Gosh why didn't I go to law school”. That’s a joke I love my job and there is nothing else that I would do.
Your first job in IT might suck. Mine did too and we have all been there. However, slow and steady wins the race. Don't chase the moolah, chase your passion and sketch out a career path and try to achieve excellence. The money will come automatically and you will be better off in the end.