Twitter handle: @malhoit
Current employer: Iasta
How did you get into IT?
I’ve always really enjoyed working with computers so I when I went off to college I declared myself as a Computational Mathematics major. I was the only one in my class. After graduating I quickly realized I had no idea what kind of IT I wanted to do. I also realized the world was apparently not just going to throw jobs at me because I had a piece of paper with a confusing major listed on it. I decided to start working on my MCSE and got a helpdesk job shortly thereafter. This was followed by two or three more help desk jobs in two or three different cities. Eventually I completed my MCSE, got a few other certifications, and had at least a little administrator experience. So I was able to get a job as a network admin. I’ve been doing some version of systems engineering ever since.
How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2012 vExpert?
At my first real job as a network administrator my boss had provisioned a few servers as an ESX host, vCenter server, and a VMware license server (back in the day when it had to be a separate server). I had really only worked with some of the Microsoft virtualization stuff at that point, and only as an end user in certification classes. The VMware stuff was just amazing to me, like some sort of weird black magic. At that point we were really only interested in server consolidation, but then we got some View desktops up and more of my day was consumed by administering VMware products. I got into listening to the podcasts and attending the weekly Communities Roundtable eventually. Then I got a gig writing blogs for TechRepublic and a lot of my content is about VMware…there’s definitely not a lack of things to write about. So I applied to become a vExpert and it’s been really great.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?
There isn’t really one path. I think people happen upon it in different ways. My college didn’t have a stellar computer science program, so I couldn’t go right into being a systems engineer. I started in a bad help desk job, moved to some less bad help desk jobs, until I could finally get the hell away from help desk (no offense to those of you who enjoy it). I would also recommend getting certifications. I know experience is everything, but you can’t get experience, real life experience, if you can’t get a job and I think that’s where certifications come in. It also shows that you put an effort in to learning and staying up to date with various technologies and practices. I would also highly recommend listening, reading, watching, smelling tech news in general…subscribe to blogs, follow people on Twitter, listen to podcasts. It’s an easy way to stay up to date.