vExpert Spotlight: Edwin Weijdema

EdwinTagScherpSmallName: Edwin Weijdema

Blog URL: http://www.vmguru.nl

Twitter handle: @Viperian

Current employer: Imtech ICT in the Netherlands


 How did you get into IT?

I started playing games on an Atari game console when I was about 6 years old (1980) and grew up with games like Space Invaders, Pac Man, Donkey Kong and many more. Two years after the Atari, the Commodore 64 made its entry, faster and with way better colour graphics. I started developing interest in what was behind the scenes how are those games made, how do things work? So I started programming machine code on a Commodore 64 which was hard but still managed to get some sprites bumping around the screen. Also a  Sinclair ZX Spectrum with an Z80 CPU was tried, I still remember the awesome rubber keyboard.

I am still very happy that my Dad had a clear vision that those PC’s introduced in 1983 at his work could change the world. So we had a WANG 8086  and a bit later an IBM PC with an 80286. Those machines where interesting but were only made for business purposes. Through a PC at home project I got introduced to the MSX.

In 1986 we got a Philips MSX2 hobby machine with an MSX-DOS operating system which made programming a lot more fun. I started writing articles for the Belgian and Dutch MSX Club which also published MSX Club Magazine, which later merged with MSX Computer Magazine to form MSX Computer & Club Magazine (MCCM). During my MSX2 time I programmed several games, first alone but very soon joined by friends. Under the name Experience Soft I participated in a programming competition with The Maze of the Black Spider (1989) which made 4th place. After that experience the taste for more developed rapidly, under the name Experience Soft more titles saw the light namely: Delta Force (1990), Amazing Cash (1990) and Infinity (1991).

After leaving secondary education to start at the University of professional education with my study Organization and Informatics friendships changed and new friends were made. So Experience Soft became Vivid with a new partner in crime and two more game titles saw the light, namely Gold Rush (1993) and Solid Snail (1994). During my ICT study I worked part time for a local ICT company and worked my way up from a shop assistant to an computer assembler into an all-round hard- and software consultant. After successfully finishing my ICT Study I started full time working for a number of ICT companies in succession. I climbed the ladder from Helpdesk Employee, Support Engineer, Systems Engineer, Technical Consultant, Network Consultant, Business Consultant to my current job role Enterprise Architect.

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

Early 2005 I got the opportunity at a customer site to help with a project to replace the whole back-end infrastructure, they wanted to use my knowledge of the current situation and my urge to understand and dive into new technologies. They were looking at virtualization as technique and VMware in particular. I delved deeper into it and saw some stunning techniques and a big opportunity and so my affinity with and love for VMware was born. I did the VCP training and exam for VCP on ESX Server 2 and Virtual Center 1.  

A lot of managers have said to me, and one in particular, that virtualization is a hype that won’t last, you don’t need to spent so much time on it, just forget it, it won’t make it into mainstream. Oh boy was he wrong.

In 2008 Erik Scholten my friend and colleague started a blog named VMGuru.nl, because we were sending a lot of documents back and forth several colleagues around VMware virtualization projects. So now we had a private URL for a web based knowledge base, after receiving some requests from customers, if they also could use it, the blog became public after just a few months. Now the blog handles over 1.6 million hits per month.

In 2009 I visited my first VMworld Europe in Cannes, I still remember the words Erik and Anne Jan said: Edwin if you pass under the banner for the Solutions Exchange we won’t see you back at the surface for the next 3 days. And I must say they couldn’t have been more spot on, I visited about 200 of the 212 booths and talked with hundreds of people. What interested me was that there was a very pleasant and open atmosphere and that the people all were so friendly and accessible. That reminded me of the MSX community I had been in for a long time now and so I started blogging more on VMGuru.nl and became a member of a great VMware community. Because of my continuing efforts on www.vmguru.nl, combined with my love to spread the virtualization word through presentations, speaking and writing, VMware awarded me the vExpert award in 2010, 2011 and now recurring in 2012.

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

I found out early in my life that if you love what you do, you do it with passion and want to excel in it. This is a good foundation to build your working career and even your life on. Stay close to yourself, try to find out what makes you tick and what excites you. I, for instance, still like to know how things work, not only in technique but also in organisations, humans and so on.

Also find a good balance between private and work, and you will see that those two worlds will merge where hobby becomes work and vice versa. There is only one certainty in the ICT that I found out and that is change, so stay up to date! I would recommend going to seminars and exhibitions like for instance VMworld or local events where you can meet peers and lots of interesting new visions on new and old problems.  So you can build and maintain a good social network. It is not key trying to know everything but it is key to know people who know things or know other people who could help out.

And last but not least, never grow up!