VMware vExpert Community – Get Involved…

I’m proud to say I’ve been re-accepted as a VMware vExpert again this year – my 5th consecutive year! =)
(yes… I’m 5-stars baby…..!)

https://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/2019/03/07/vexpert-2019-award-announcement/

Congratulations to all who have be chosen as vExperts for 2019!

I have to say that this years’ application was the toughest yet! Previously you could submit your details and hope to be accepted… this year you had to submit your details, explain what you’ve been doing within the vCommunity and post up information about your blog and stuff (and then pray that the vExpert team look favourably on  you)!! I guess with the vExpert community growing rapidly every year, the vExpert team have decided to put a few more stringent checks in place to ensure that the right people are accepted and recognised as vExperts!
That said, this years’ application caused quite a bit of consternation with my fellow vExpert friends in the WhatsApp group I’m in, I don’t think any of us were certain of being re-approved until the “You’re In” email dropped this week!

One thing’s for sure, I’ve made it a point to try and blog a lot more this year and show more active engagement with VMUG and the wider community! (Not just to justify my vExpert status…. hehe…)

This time round, I’ve decided not to just post up my obligatory “I’m in… thank you vExpert Team for accepting me back!” post. Instead I thought I’d write something that explains what the vExpert community is about, how you can join, and talk a little about my journey! So where shall I start?

Once upon a time…….

 

Who….?

Who are the VMware vExperts? Well, each vExpert has been accepted because they’ve demonstrated significant contributions to the vCommunity! There’s a mistaken view that you must have a blog in order to be accepted, in reality people contribute in various different ways, yes blogging is probably the most effective medium of sharing your expertise with others, but there are other means of ‘evangelising’….

  • Participating in LinkedIn groups (like the VCP group)
  • Tweeting (or using other social media sites) to share experiences about VMware
  • Public Speaking (at local VMUGs, or running marketing campaigns at work)
  • Authoring books
  • Writing scripts that are shared online, or producing your own tool that helps others
  • VMUG participation (either as a leader or a speaker)
  • VMTN Community moderators and also people who help to answer questions on the forum.


What….?

What is the VMware vExpert Program? vExpert is not a technical certification or badge that you need to study for, or pass an exam to join! In fact there are vExperts who don’t even have a VCP…. and then there are some who have multiple VCDXs (I bow down to those guys).

The VMware vExpert program is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program. It recognises people who have gone out of their way to evangelise about VMware. The awards are for individuals, not companies, and last for one year – each year you have to reapply!


Where…?

The VMware vExpert Program is a global community, there are vExperts from every continent in the world! It’s difficult to try and get a community together, so we all live virtually within the vExpert Slack Channel (some more than others). The main website for vExperts is https://vexpert.vmware.com

If you’re interested in joining the community, then reach out to your local vExpert Pro – this is a network of vExperts around the world who are willing to identify and recruit new vExperts in their local communities and be mentors for these new vExperts. A directory of vExpert Pros can be found here: https://blogs.vmware.com/vexpert/meet-the-vexpert-pro/

Within the UK there are two vExpert Pros, both are really great guys who live and breath the VMware community:


When…?

Applications are open twice a year – once in November/December with results announced in February for the 1st half of the new calendar year. They then reopen again in June with an August announcement for the 2nd half of the year. Every vExpert as well as any new applicants must apply at least once per year.

For more information visit https://vexpert.vmware.com


Why…?

Why would you want to apply? If you have a passion for VMware technology… if you actively ‘give back’ to the community in some way or form (see above), then you should apply! The vExpert program is recognition for the work you do in the community!!

And the benefits:

  • Invite to a private #Slack channel for vExperts
  • vExpert certificate signed by VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger.
  • Private forums on communities.vmware.com.
  • Permission to use the vExpert logo on cards, website, etc for one year
  • Access to a private directory for networking, etc.
  • Exclusive gifts from various VMware partners.
  • Private webinars with VMware partners as well as NFRs.
  • Access to private betas (subject to admission by beta teams).
  • 365-day eval licenses for most products for home lab / cloud providers.
  • Private pre-launch briefings via blogger briefing pre-VMworld (subject to admission by product teams)
  • Blogger early access program for vSphere and some other products.
  • Featured in a public vExpert online directory.
  • Access to vetted VMware & Virtualization content for your social channels.
  • Yearly vExpert parties at both VMworld US and VMworld Europe events.
  • Identification as a vExpert at both VMworld US and VMworld EU.

Me personally, I find the access to NDA webinars and the eval licenses to be worth their weight in gold! But most of all, I value the friends I’ve made within the vExpert communities…. everyone is super friendly, even more so when you bump into each other for the first time at VMworld or other VMware events!!

I’m also lucky to be in a WhatsApp group of vExperts where we can talk shop (technical discussions of VMware products), food (especially our mutual love of nandos), weather (UK seems to have the grimmest weather!), craft beer (or scotch/whiskey/alcohol) and even moan about other technology and vendors…. ;oP


How…?

So how did I end up being a vExpert? It kind of happened by accident… much like my blog! Back in 2012 my wife’s siblings were all avid bloggers about fashion, lifestyle, food and travel (links to their blogs on the bottom right frame), in a passing conversation about blogging they said I should think about starting a blog on technology and gadgets – to be honest I didn’t really think much about it…. then in the summer of 2012 I was involved in a large VMware solution and I got talking to one of the VMware admins at the customer site…. he and a few others suggested that maybe I should blog about my experiences with VMware since I was always coming up with answers to their questions and problems – and so at the start of 2013 I decided to have a go at writing a blog, and “The Virtual Unknown” was born!

Fast forward a year and I was starting to do a lot more within the VMware Partner community, a few people at VMware and at other Partners had found out that I write a blog and since it was quite a rare thing within the UK Partner community that maybe I should try and apply for vExpert status as a “Partner Evangelist”… in all honesty I didn’t think I actually wrote enough articles or even did enough within the community – but I applied and amazingly was accepted (I guess back in 2014/15 the criteria was less stringent – thankfully!).

However, becoming a vExpert opened a lot of doors for me…. you do get recognition as a vExpert and companies seem to respect that (when I meet new people and they see I’m a vExpert, they always seem impressed and ask about the program – similarly when applying for jobs)! The NDA sessions have given me insight before the rest of the market with regards to product roadmaps – and this fuels my thirst for learning about new technologies and solutions (and led me to joining the vSAN vExpert sub group). I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to network with fellow vExperts on slack and at VMworld. Finally it’s pushed me on to try and do more blogging and give back more to the community! =)

 

So…. if this post hasn’t encouraged you to think about joining the vExpert community, then I’m a failed advocate for the program…. ;oP

Joking aside, if you’re interested in joining the vExpert community then your first port of call is to reach out to a vExpert Pro… alternatively feel free to drop me a tweet or message me via LinkedIn!

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