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vExpert Spotlight: Ed Grigson

Ed profile pic (large)Name:           Ed Grigson

Blog URL:       www.vExperienced.co.uk

Twitter:        @egrigson

How did you get into IT?

I got into IT as a youngster when my parents bought a BBC micro. Like many of today’s IT pros I started playing games and progressed to writing them in the language of the day, BBC Basic. That was the start of a lifetime passion which progressed through the early 8bit computers (Spectrum, C64 etc) to the Amiga 500 generation and finally onto PCs. That passion led to a degree in Computing although my eventual career in infrastructure was purely by chance. I had a placement year as part of my degree and having been offered a job as a COBOL programmer I turned up on day one to be told that they’d made a mistake and could I do PC support instead? It was my first job so I figured why not? From there I moved my way up from desktop support, to server support, and eventually into the early days of VMware.

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?

My first exposure to VMware was in 2004/5 and was for DR rather than server consolidation because building a VM was quicker and more predictable compared to physical servers. To be honest I didn’t see the huge impact virtualisation was to have otherwise I’d have dived in more than I did!  It still gave me an early start and in 2006 I started to spend more time learning VMware. That led to my first VCP in 2007 and my interest has just grown since then. I can attribute my vExpert status to the London VMUG which I started attending in 2007. I met some great people who opened my eyes to just how much innovation and change was going on and after a few years I felt I should be contributing something back, having been more of a listener up to that point. I started my blog (as many do) as a way of recording my own thoughts but quickly found it both highly enjoyable and quite addictive. My first VCAP-DCA exam was the spur I needed to really start blogging in earnest and the rest is history.

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

1.      You should have a passion for IT. Technology changes so fast that keeping up can consume hours of your time and while the pay isn’t too bad you may find yourself regretting it if salary is your only goal. I’m a big believer in the saying ‘Pick a job you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life”.

2.      Get stuck in. The good thing about technology is that because there are so many passionate people, information is easy to come by. Books, blogs, online training, forums, tutorials etc are all freely available so if you want to improve yourself the sky’s the limit. Don’t wait for someone to set your goals or send you on training – take the initiative, prove you can do it and the work will follow. This is especially true at the entry level where having no experience is often a barrier.

3.      Seek ways to add value. Infrastructure has historically been a financial drain on the business with many IT roles there to keep the lights on. That limits your value (and hence salary). Think about how can you make the business better or more efficient at what it does. One of the reasons I think VMware has such an active community is because it empowers IT professionals to improve their businesses and hence their own careers.