How did you get into IT in the first place?
I studied computing right through to degree-level, my third year at university was an industry placement where I fell in love with DOS and conventional/extended/expanded memory management through tools like QEMM – I definitely knew my way around a CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT file! After university I landed a job with Digital Equipment Corp - I ended up working on a project team involved in a multi-site rollout of new servers and desktops. I went on a couple of Windows NT training courses and decided I wanted to be a trainer, I worked as a Microsoft Certified Trainer for over 9 years teaching the MCSA/MCSE courses from NT 4 through to Server 2003, as well as key Microsoft applications such as Exchange.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?
Back in 2006 I had a yearning to learn something new, and with my training experience I was lucky enough to get a job working as a VMware trainer. I had a very steep learning curve, I'd not worked with ESX or VirtualCenter before, or blade servers, or that much networking or storage equipment. I worked really hard to climb that curve and learned an awful lot in a very short space of time, both in terms of hardware and software! I was teaching my first course as a VMware Certified Instructor in less than two months – then VMware released VI3 and I had a whole new load of things to learn about!
I joined Global Knowledge at the beginning of 2009 and started blogging shortly afterwards, then came my contributions on the VMware community forums for education and certification, and I've looked for new ways to spread the word and help people ever since then! These days you'll also find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other technical and certification forums too – I've presented webinars and published lots of videos on YouTube for the company too, and really enjoyed presenting a session at the London VMUG earlier this year. Like all vExperts, I'm proud to be awarded such a title, being a vExpert is definitely a case of "you get out what you put in!"
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
My job these days is split between delivering classroom-based training, and a variety of other activities that I carry out within and outside the organisation to help us grow our VMware business - I love that mix of technical/sales/marketing, and am still stunned by the power of social media!
Starting out as a VCI can be pretty tough, every VCI has to be sponsored either by VMware or a VMware Authorised Training Center, but the rewards on the technical side are great as you get to work with some really cool technology that's so relevant in computing today. I've not really looked back in the 5+ years that I've been working in virtualisation – it gave me a whole new load of exciting things to learn and educate people about.