Blog URL: www.vtesseract.com
Twitter Handle: @josh_atwell
Current Employer: Cisco
How did you get into IT?
I had worked in IT briefly during High School and college for our local school district. I was involved with hardware upgrades and running new CAT5 cables throughout the new network.
While finishing my degree in Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University (Go Pack!) I realized that I didn't necessarily want to pursue a career in that industry. It was not long after graduation I received an IM from a friend. "Hey, Still looking for a job? Want mine?" My immediate question was "Why do you not want it?" After talking with him and interviewing I took my first real IT job as desktop support for a civil engineering firm. Before long I was taking on new responsibilities that included server maintenance and writing scripts.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
Fast Forward a couple of years and I'm doing mostly server side work and we're implementing VMware ESX. I'm fortunate enough to get included on the Install, Configure, and Manage course and within a year I've worked with others to redesign and rebuild our environment on the latest version and achieve my VCP. This work led me to an opportunity in a bigger environment where I was able to focus almost exclusively on the virtual environment. This led me to start scripting with PowerCLI. I did some blogging at this time but had no real audience.
In 2011 I decided to start blogging again on vtesseract.com about some of the things that I had built over the previous 2 years. I also jumped on Twitter as a way to connect and to distribute my scripts to others who may be interested. I managed to find ways to contribute to the VMware community through my blog, on Twitter, becoming a VMUG leader, and participating with the ProfessionalVMware.com vBrownBags. This work led to my being selected as a vExpert for 2012.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
I would tell them to be willing to put in extra time to learn and experiment. I didn't become proficient with PowerCLI overnight. I still do not know how to do everything and I hope I never do. Getting your hands on a homelab is a great way to hone skills and learn new technology. Take what you've learned and share it with the community on your blog. It motivates you to try new things and you'll be surprised who will end up reading what you write.