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Taking a Tech Sabbatical – Oh what the future may hold in my Career Transition

September 21st, 2012

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Hey Guys! Friends, fellows, colleagues and peers, hearty analysts, random readers, dear twitter and facebook friends.. All of you!

 

A crazy year of shifts, changes and updates!

This has been a raucous year of adventures, updates, new technology, new transitions and directions in the industry; so many different ways in which things have gone and so many different paths in which things possibly could go.    We’ve seen shifts and changes in the way we manage our Clouds, build our clouds, LICENSE our clouds.   The terminology we use to define our Infrastructure and the underlying component has taken a new rhetoric towards Software Defined Data Centers.   You name it, there has been *much* going on, much indeed.

My emphasis this past year

My Emphasis for the last 12 months has been solely focused on the business of Virtualization, on the increased automation and driving high levels of consistency, availability, deliverability and sell-ability of Clouds, Infrastructures as a Service, IT as a Service, and general purpose Transformation; and let me tell you that was an AMAZING and extremely successful journey.    What has occurred in this time was the creation from the ground up of an entire suite of services around Cloud, IaaS and ITaaS Delivery working with an absolutely *amazing* team.   The creation of a whitepaper on the principles behind IaaS Best Practices which hits at the core the very message which we’ve all been struggling with for a decade.    The building, bridging together, and leading of my personal team of over 250 Virtualization Professionals around the world, not just peers and colleagues within the business here at EMC, but the building of a community who can lean on each other, work with each other, and most importantly grow each other.    And particular emphasis to my own senior manager and leadership team comprised of Ed Lynam, Bob Martin, Steve Nassif and Michael Gong;  These rockstars in particular helped to keep my message and vision on target with the business at large, allowing me to continue to apply that vision so resonant throughout the industry; I wouldn’t change them for the world!    Three particular rockstars I have had the pleasure to work with closely and grow individually with; Damian Karlson, Brian Ragazzi and Brian Graf – Total rockstars in their own right and if you don’t know them, you should take the time to GET to know them, you won’t be sorry!

Looking back 20 years

Let’s consider the previous 20 years for a moment.    In the beginning where I spent 6 years of my time as a kernel hacker, security researcher, and consultant I looked ahead of me, around the industry and what interested me most and took on what became the first of many adventures.    Leaving behind Linux and security in its infancy I went into the wicked realm of Year 2000 Preparation, and Microsoft Application centricity, but it was also about this time in 1996 that I started playing with and getting into VMware Virtualization.    When I wasn’t advising startups in my spare time, I did what I did best which was act as a visionary… Look ahead 10, 20 years and figure out what the trends were, what the capabilities and skills which were going to be needed and leveraged soo sooo far in advance.    I began focusing my attention and efforts in developing in those areas, growing those businesses, and growing those communities.    It was only 6 years ago I switched from full-VAR play to join the world of Vendor life, and more particularly Storage Vendor life where I took on my Hybrid and adventurous role over at NetApp.    The years I spent there were amazing and wonderful, only to be further enchanted by the launch into the next stage of my adventures with my time spent at EMC.     And then changing from my Pre-Sales, Enterprise and business focused role from 2009-2011; to my role as a Global Leader, running a successful and adventurous business with some *amazing* and smart people in in the industry with emphasis on two areas I care very much for and about; Cloud and Virtualization.    

Returning to my role as a Visionary

However, the time has come to take a step back from this role, from this opportunity, and to take a step back from the entire industry as a whole. For several years now I’ve been looking ahead, in what I do best as a visionary to ensure that people are making the right investments in their futures, that the right areas of focus are getting the attention they need so when the next wave comes along (whether pushed by me, or pulled by me), that wave WILL hit and its success will hinge upon our ability as an industry and as a community to adopt and support it. But my vision has been clouded (no pun intended :)). Clouded by various fits and starts in the industry, changes in direction, in trends. We’ve had multiple changes in a very short period of time, but also really no sheer leaps of innovation, of direction of the future, primarily speculation by analysts and short-term visionaries.

It is for that very reason I am entirely taking a step back.    Stepping out of and away from the business a moment, taking a step away from everything and looking at everything as a whole.   I need to get my visionary game back, so I can look ahead the 5, 10, 20 years and beyond and start to direct my focus and attention on what WILL be that next major change.    I heavily focus on the Macro and the Micro respectively and I’m taking several months off and away from pure-play business to clear my head and see what the future unveils.   Albeit, this won’t impact industry obligations I’ve already planned for, Presentations, Books, Live meetings, and so forth.   It is you the customers, the community, the industry which helps unveil that future through conversation and discussion, thus I’m not going to hole myself up to predict the future based upon my own crazy assumptions!

Building a Phoenix on the ashes of industry; new directions

So as I take this step back I am no longer bound by the constraints of a particular business, industry or emphasis area.   My subject matter expertise which many of you have grown quite familiar with are all on the table as I look ahead and look forward to where I want to invest my time, passion and employment.    Something you may not know about me is that I passionately *love* work.   Some people get stressed out by work, whereas I get stressed out by NOT working.    Some of you who have caught wind of my Sabbatical are already lining up interviews with your respective businesses and organizations and I respect and appreciate that.    Looking ahead past these next few months as I finalize my industry analysis I want to ensure that the next door is already open and waiting on what and where I’ll be investing my pure-play passion which you’re all QUITE familiar with.    I’ve always been one for very well defined and clear roadmaps, objectives and plans.     After spending years as an Individual Contributor, Researcher, Analyst, Consultant, Principal Architect, Engineer, Pre-Sales Sales Engineer, Advisor, Manager and and Global Leader of a prospering business my next direction is ready to be pursued.

At this point in my career, growth and capabilities my future calls for me in a Senior Director or Vice President role within an organization whom will embrace the sheer impact I make and bring to a business.   I love and adore EMC and will be looking in tandem for an opportunity which will be fitting within our fine organization to stake my next claim of Global impact influencing the industry as a whole.    Thus this open declaration is free-game for all businesses, all industries, all focus areas and more.    My skills, leadership and evangelist thrive will shift, shake and cause that next ripple which will turn into a raucous wave to set this industry off in directions many cannot even begin to perceive yet.    But where I dedicate and focus that time and attention; Well, only time will tell.    …. And yes, those of you who have been waiting for me to be free, to jump all over me and recruit me; Yes I’ll take your calls. :)

This industry is ready for an upset the likes of which we haven’t seen in a decade

So you big tech incubators out there or you smaller startups who have that next generation game changer; I’ll be looking at you.   Not only for my future and how we’re going to change this industry and hard; but also how we’re going to create that next generation major impact of tidal proportions.   A lot of people like to look at technology in terms of environmental factors, comparing the next big thing to come as a ‘wave’, well, here’s what I’ll tell you.

The next technology to make an impact will be another moon causing a tidal disruption

Welcome to the big time boys and girls.    Welcome to the big time.   The question is; which side of that tide do you want me on? :)

Those interested in being a part of the consideration process don’t hesitate to hit me up via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Phone, Txt, oh and Email! ;)

Look forward to an update on where I call home post sabbatical at the kick off to the New Year – 2013.

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Community, Jobs | Comments (0)

Top Paying IT Certifications, Skills and Capabilities

March 1st, 2012

The other day or so, I came across this article:

15 Top Paying IT Certifications for 2012 by Randy Muller, Global Knowledge Instructor, MCT, MCSE, MCSA, MCDST

And it got me thinking, other than the clear difference of opinion MANY of the readers had to feel about it, and the subjective thoughts around how much money people we’re being paid (Is that reflective of specific markets?)  As someone who regularly hires, recruits, and mentors for others I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring around what I see are the Top Paying Certs and Skills as I’m hit up regularly by recruiters (internal and external) looking for candidates.  I’ll try to break this up by section and I won’t go into the details of money because frankly I have deep insight into what people get paid, so I know just how relative it all is :)

Disclaimer: You may feel there is vendor bias in a lot of the choices of Certifications to be included, Let me just tell you, this isn’t just ME saying this.  This is countless hiring managers inside and outside of the industry looking for these certifications, so I want it to be clear if you have THESE Certs, your LinkedIn will EXPLODE with Job Opportunities. Seriously.

Top Certifications for the low-mid levels

  • MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional)
  • CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician)
  • VCP (VMware Certified Professional)
  • A+, Network+, Security+ (Okay, seriously, ANY CompTIA Certification)
  • EMCISM (EMC Information Storage and Management)

If you’re just getting started in IT depending upon the cross section you’re focused on, these certifications help build some credibility and skill-sets which are definitely to be required as you move up the stack.    For the most part, short of being “Product” specific in some sense, they each provide a decent “Administrative” foundation for the Microsoft, Networking, VMware Virtualization, etc.   Oh yea, and in light of NOT having these certifications, having an adequate foundation to fall back on of these skill sets work as well.    FYI: If you have the skills, just go take the test so you won’t have to prove yourself at every avenue.

Top Certifications for the growth-mid levels

  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library )
  • MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) [Technically doesn’t exist anymore refer to next line]
  • MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)
  • MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist)
  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  • VCAP (VMware Certified Advanced Professional)
  • EMC Specialist (EMC Certified Expert:Multiple Paths)
  • PMP (Project Management Professional)

So you’ve been in IT for awhile and you’re looking to go to the next level, or advance your career or want to focus maybe a little more in a different direction.   These certifications really give you that foundation to take the next step, further enhancing your credibility.   Some of you may be wondering “Why is the PMP included in this section?!” Honestly? The PMP is sort of the defacto standard for a Project Manager, and most PMs are in that growth-mid level.   If you want to find yourself evolving to the next level and moving up the chain to making more money, taking on more responsibility and potentially doing even less work [Read: Less Administrative, more strategic]  these are those foundations.   Oh, and I do want to call out ITIL Specifically for a moment.   Let the record show, I absolutely despise and HATE ITIL. (Yea, that’s going to be well received with a LOT of you! ;)) Okay. Let me clarify, I don’t hate ITIL per se, I am NOT an administrative/operational guy, thus I do not want to DO ITIL related activities.    I like the objective outcome when implemented correctly though.   That being said however, ITIL is a HOT BED of opportunity.  You want a job? Get ITIL Certified.  You want to always have jobs thrown at you? Tag some ITIL to that.  Okay I’ve said that particular piece because EVERY DAY I’m being asked “Do they have ITIL?” So take it as is ;)

Top Certifications for mid-architect levels

  • CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  • EMCCA (EMC Certified Cloud Architect)
  • EMC Expert (EMC Certified Expert:Multiple Paths)
  • What?! No VMware Certifications here?  Yea, we literally JUMP over this right into the next section! grin

Honestly, I originally didn’t even write this section in but felt it had to be broken out as there are numerous certifications which sit very clearly here in the middle which need to be called out.    I won’t go into too many specifics, but a lot of these sit in that odd space between clearly operational and clearly architectural.   Each of these certifications help further cement that foundation which solidifies your path up the stack and to the next levels.   Or to clarify, as a hiring manager I EXPECT you to have at a minimum the skill-sets in the previous 3 sections before I am confident you are the clear lead in the next section.

Top Certifications for Architect and above levels

  • MCM (Microsoft Certified Master)
  • MCA (Microsoft Certified Architect) [This Program started to be overshadowed by the MCM…]
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert: Multiple Specialties something many don’t even realize!)
  • VCDX (VMware Certified Design Expert)
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

I chose to differentiate this area a little bit establishing Architect credentials because frankly that is what it is.   The first two sections were VERY tactical, operational, on-call 24×7 type of certifications and roles, the third section started to combine those roles a bit.  If you’re reaching this point, you’ve had some time in the game and you’re either looking to get paid VERY well, absolutely LOVE what you do, and want to advance up that stack.    A lot of these Certifications in fact do not have hard $$$ associated with them because they carry with them the ‘assurance’ of a level of expertise, years of experience, etc.  That being most of these are difficult to ‘fake’ there’s a pretty good chance if you hold one of these pedigree you MIGHT know what you’re talking about. :)

Certifications Summary

Certifications are not the end-all-be-all, and I know some of you are staunch certification opponents. “I KNOW EVERYTHING, AND I’M HAPPY WITH MY NON-EVOLVING JOB SO I DON’T EVER NEED TO CERTIFY”. yea guys, go back to your mainframes, but seriously.   Certifications do the work for you to help validate your capabilities and grow your potential salary.   Without them you may be fine, but if you are like me (and so many others) who do not do their job because it pays the bills, but because you enjoy it greatly and it takes you to the next level of your career and life evolution; well, certification should be PART of that transition.  Note: Part of that transition and not the only vehicle.   There comes a time when you don’t want to Certify anymore and you need to find other ways to differentiate yourself.   Which brings us to the next section!

Specialist Skills which are ripe with opportunity!

Note: I didn’t mention ANY Developer, Database specific or similar certifications in the previous sections for a few good reasons.    First of all, there really aren’t a whole lot of mature certifications out there worth mentioning, and secondly these are really entirely skills based.    However, when it comes to what skills people are CONSTANTLY hiring for that you should either have, further develop, or invest in for the first time?  Yea, I’ll call those out here.   Anything I mention here, there is DEMAND for.   Don’t phone it in certainly, but there are lots of companies and partners hiring for these skill-sets, period.

  • vFabric, Spring Framework, CloudFoundry
  • Java Developer Space environments (Flexible enough to leverage the vFabric/Spring Framework)
  • SAP SAP SAP.   Seriously, you has SAP skillz, you has SAP Job. It’s as simple as that.
  • Vblock or similar *Storage, UCS, Cisco stack capabilities and offerings.
  • Orchestration tool and Workflow skills.  Don’t pigeon hole yourself into only knowing BMC, or CIAC, ITO; Learn them all and you are #win
  • I’d say Oracle, but seriously there are way too many damn DBAs out there who really don’t cross train, but that leads me in to
  • Hadoop skills.   If you can start to spell Big Data and everyone seems to be coining that from us these days, there be mad skillz and jobs y0! ;)
  • Scrum/Agile is really a foundation for any dev careers, so have/know that and you’re cool.
  • The “Year of Sharepoint” has been over for quite some time, sure there are jobs but I wouldn’t say you’d be unique if you pursued that path.

So that covers the bulk of general skills which hiring managers truly cannot find the right skill sets for.   A little investment goes a LONG way.

Top skills and capabilities for top paying jobs!

Whoa whoa whoa! What’s this?!? Skills?! Capabilities?!   What is this, the guidelines what separates a transition from Job to Career or from Customer to Partner/Vendor?   Hmm, maybe.

In most customer focused environments, unless you are an absolute rockstar who is also a master negotiator you are not very likely to be paid what you are worth.   I feel it fair to be honest with you because it’s just a fact, customers TYPICALLY don’t pay at the top of line, hell hardly the mid-line.   And while you’ll become an expert in your own environment it is just that.   So if you happen to love working on a single project which at completion will prepare you for the next project in your particular company which can often be ‘comfortable’ to ‘highly stressful’ depending upon where you transition throughout the stack and often ripe with reduced opportunities for advancement (entirely depending upon the business) let’s lay out some skills which are applicable in EVERY environment.  The true set of skills which differentiates you from your peers and the competition respectively.

  • Consulting Skills.   Whether you’re a consultant or not, being able to be ‘consultative’ will not only differentiate you, but also open the doors to more opportunities than you can imagine.    The only thing equally as valuable as that is …
  • Sales Skills.   I’m not saying you need to ‘be a sales guy’, I mean cmon, how many of us are? (Those of you who are, great for you!:))   But it takes a certain set of Sales type skills to be the ‘trusted advisor’ which earns you credibility in your business, in the industry and in your career.    Think of it like trying to give a child medicine they don’t want.   A lot of customers, business units, etc don’t WANT to do what you’re suggesting even though it NEEDS to be done, so your ability to make it palatable even with the objections can differentiate yourself.   Oh and that separates and Admin from becoming an Architect, and an Architect from becoming CIO.   
  • Project Management Skills.   I’m not saying OMG BECOME A PMP RULE THE WORLD. Quite the opposite.  The best projects are executed well because the entire team has a good foundation of how to manage a project and their portions of it.   A Project Managers job is to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, quite frankly few of them have a clue what the hell it is you do, it’s just that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do.   When I get a GC over to build a house, he’s not watching his guys to make sure they level an area before they pour concrete; you just expect it to be done.   Get your work done and your projects will run a lot smoother. ;)
  • Presentation & Speaking Skills.   Hey, have you heard of Toastmasters?   Do you say ‘uh’ ‘um’ ‘you know’ ‘like’ ‘so’ and many other things often in your presentations, speaking, etc?   Listen to your leadership, do they? (Often times they will)     What will differentiate you from your competition is the ability to cooly, calmly and collectively deliver your thoughts in a comprehensible fashion that is understood by your audience.    If you can do that and even avoid conflict.  Wow.   You’ll put yourself head and shoulders above the competition, your peers and even your leadership!
  • Confidence and ability to reach consensus.    Did you know that if you believe in what you’re saying, chances are others will too?   Oh and from a recent conversation at #VMwarePEX, the shared thought was, “It’s not what you know, it’s what other people think you know”.   It’s very true and can set you apart from others if you can share that knowledge in such a way others have confidence in you as well.    That eases reaching consensus, which is further compounded by one very poignant point.    Asking the ask moves things forward.   Meetings which end with no clear action items may as well not have happened.    So, always have something to walk out of the room with, off the call, oh whatever.  You’ll be seen as a leader because you’re taking charge, even if you’re not taking any of the action items yourself to work on; just asking is enough.

Take the skills above, combine them with the certifications relevant to your skills and your prospective career path and you can double your salary in 2-3 years.   Oh yea. I’m serious about that.   If it makes you feel any better a combination of the skills above across the spectrum result in salaries ranging from 30k-450k [NO THAT IS NOT A TYPO] (Oh and above, but you gotta have a little time invested to go above those numbers).

Clearly you can see why I was befuddled from the original post about the salary figures projected because WTF?! :)

As always, I am here for your commentary, any certifications I missed you’d like to share in the comments, and of course feel free to share job opportunities present in your own companies you’d like people to know about.    While researching this for anecdotal points, I noticed that EMC, that tiny little tech company has 1820 job postings. WTF? IT’S A RECESSION, HOW DARE YOU HAVE NEARLY 2000 JOBS POSTED!. Yea. Seriously.   We’re hiring like mad.  So let’s roll with this! ;)

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Posted in .NET, Careers, Certification, Community, emc, Jobs, Microsoft, Technology, Toastmasters, vmware | Comments (13)

Recruiting Virtual Talent: Tips and Tricks to hire and get hired at #VMworld

August 24th, 2011

This is specifically written for those attending VMworld, it doesn’t HAVE to be exclusive to there, but it’s next week and I want to lay out some things between now and then, maybe start a hiring revolution! :)

Let’s be realistic and practical. Not everyone in the world is GREAT at finding out who is hiring, and on the same sense of it, it can be a great challenge to identify the right resources to transform your organization, or even to find people with the right skills you’re looking for because lets face it, I’ve only met a handful of recruiters who know WTF they’re doing.  A HANDFUL. If you disagree; yea lets be serious, you DON’T disagree :)

That said, lets skip the BS and go right to the hiring managers and the candidates, get down to brass tacks; or AKA: Lets CHEAT!

The hiring managers way to cheat in recruiting – Tips for #CXIParty

I had this idea WHOA, WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF

  • People put an “H” on their name badge if they’re a hiring manager
  • Put an “H+” if they’re a hiring manager and have REQs open
  • Put an “H-“ if they’re hiring but do not have REQs open yet?

Whoa, I didn’t just oversimplify and CHEAT THE SYSTEM.  Yea that’s right bitches! It doesn’t have to be complicated.   But you might ask “Why go through this form of parlance? Why not simply let people engage in conversation” Oh, I encourage that, but please allow the following scenario to play out.

You are attending VMworld with your CompanyX you may be traveling with co-workers, your management, whatever.   You’re officially or unofficially looking to change careers, companies, whatever.   Do you walk up to people and go OMG I LOVE YOUR COMPANY I WANT TO WORK HERE. Yea, you’re talking to a guy who will never have a REQ in the history of REQs. Seriously. You pass your resume to him, and he hands it off to some clueless recruiter who ignores all of the good candidates and sends them to a heaping pile of crap.   Oh do please stop me if I’m wrong.   But the difference between a GOOD recruiter and a BAD recruiter is the ability to pick up the phone and send an email. Bad Recruiter… I think they’re busy trying to find their next job. #grin

Okay, taking a step back from the little Recruiter tirade (it’s true, and it’s honestly frustrating :))   Imagine how much easier that would be! What I’d typically ask people who DO have REQs are where they are in the chain, how serious they are, and what kind of skills they’re looking to fill (also what travel is involved) not because *I* am looking but because I know a lot of you (okay, most of you) and I talk with you regularly about your careers; it’d be nice to help out the two of you [hence this blog post as well ;)]

So I encourage you hiring managers attending VMworld and attending #CXIParty to put a H and/or H+ on your badge… you might just find yourself filling reqs like mad y0! :)

The hiring managers way to cheat in vetting a candidate!

Now that you’re being hit up by various people noticing the H on your badge, what next?  You find a nice guy or girl who seems to have some passion, some drive, some interest; they expressed an interest in talking to you about your company that’s encouraging right? Sure it’s a good start. But let the vetting begin!   One thing you’ll find is the case at someplace like #CXIParty is.. a lot of us KNOW each other. And if we don’t know each other it’s a good way to hit it off.    So lets say you find a candidate you’re interested in; you can get LIVE REFERENCES [omg, right!?] but what if they’re not someone who is known by everyone, don’t fret!   One thing you’ll also find is… OMG WE’RE GEEKS. Okay, not all of us are, but a lot of us are, and if put into a situation to show off our mad street cred around something like virtualization it’s a good way to determine how one would respond and react to the situation.   Sure you can ask them HOW MUCH RAM AND HOW MANY vCPUS CAN YOU SUPPORT. Wow, I couldn’t figure that out from a Google search, but force them into a deep heated conversation around architectural considerations of an obscure environment and how they’d go about deploying and designing a self service provisioning architecture driven by a portal… or something…. And you’ll see JUST what kind of candidate you’re getting.  It’s not WHAT they know, but how they react and think on their feet.   If you’re looking for your rockstars, your architects, your OM-vG That’s a good way to work it out.

Yes that was a long paragraph (hah, more like novel! :)) but the added point is, after you get the ‘candidate’ to engage in that conversation with various vetted or unvetted members of the community… you’ll all have made some great friends and it’s a chalk full of win! :)

OMG I TOTALLY WANT TO WORK AT COMPANY ‘X’

Screw the damn man, am I right?! Err, wait what?! :) Yea.. this is for you the non-hiring manager, the guy who works for the public sector looking to go private, or the admin who wants to get into more of an architectural role.  The partner looking to go Vendor; the vendor looking to change vendors.  Factually it does not matter so much why you’re looking for a new opportunity, just that you’re prepared when that time comes!  Here are some tips!

  • Be a rockstar.   Yea, that totally means throwing a TV out a window, err.. no. It means be yourself. Be confident in WHO you are, even if WHO you are is not confident the least you can do is be you. :)   I mean you’re looking to change roles right? You should have an idea of who you are and what you want to do/be [It’s okay if you don’t…. a lot of people don’t, let me know and we can work on that! ;)}
  • Get to know other people.   You don’t have to be a social butterfly.   But you also need not be a social outcast or do something to make a fool of yourself (unless that works for you, I’m cool with that.  Side tip; wearing cat ears is not a fools game ;)
  • BRING BUSINESS CARDS.   This will delve into some sub-topics because I’ve discussed this extensively with some folks.
    • “Should I have business cards made up with my own name and not my companies”
      • Lets say you work for a major company, like ACME.   ACME carries with it a well known brand and image of making great weaponry, traps and explosives which are almost certain to work [with some roadrunner based exceptions]   You’re doing yourself a disservice with disassociating yourself with the company.   Having a business card says “Hey, look I’m employed! but please contact me at my personal email address” It also says “Hah! I got some fool to hire me, so you can’t do MUCH worse right!?!” ;)
    • “What about making up my own cards not-associated with my company”
      • Absolutely, it has its place.   Some examples;
        • Free-lancers who have/currently working the Consulting gig land and that’s how you get your business; Respect.
        • People with a brand who may or may not work for a major label company
        • People who are unemployed and thus do not have company business cards.   Nothing wrong there, but it’s important they know the difference.  I can usually tell these ones because the business cards are made on paper stock; thin as flash paper!
  • Oh and did I mention to Bring Business cards? (Yea, you should totally do that ;)) Also good to enter contests like at #CXIParty
  • Show your Passion.    Why are you passionate about your job? Are you? Are you passionate about another job but not so much what you’re currently doing?  Please don’t let the jaded bits leak into things.   You’re in the craziest city on earth for the show… surrounded by the top minds in virtualization and the best businesses transforming the future of IT.    Show your passion. BE that Guy/Girl!
  • Be honest.    Be honest about who you are, about who you want to be if you’re not there yet.   You’re not a VCP because the class is too expensive? Totally understand that.  But don’t be this guy; “I’m not going to learn anything new unless my company invests in me to do that” Yea. I don’t want you, and neither will a lot of hiring managers because you become the guy who gets a LITTLE bit of training and jumps ship.    There is value in being opportunistic but invest in yourself and it will pay in loads.
  • Don’t lie / Tell the truth.    These are tips I’d usually provide to people going through the interview process when I do my career counseling.  They do sound SO similar, but they’re so different.     Here are some examples:
    • Don’t Lie:
      • Oh yea I totally invented the internet. GO AHEAD AND SEARCH FOR MY PATENT.
        • I interviewed that guy.  (No it was something else, and NO we couldn’t find his damn patent!)
      • I designed and architected environment x and was the project lead.
        • I remember that interview well.   And then one of our interviewers asked him details about WHY he named the environment they way he did and specifics about it.  He couldn’t answer those questions. Why… Why can’t you remember some simple details about an environment you designed and architected? It couldn’t possibly be because the INTERVIEWER had actually been the one who designed and architected the environment before leaving the company and joining us.  Yea, so seriously? Seriously, don’t be THAT guy who’ll lie about the work you did :)
      • Click my link to learn how to get a zillion twitter followers!
        • Okay, that’s not very specific but it’s intended to focus on a broad assessment of accounts. Basically saying most of these people who share these links tend to have 0 or fewer followers.   So don’t just make any blatant lies, the truth is a lot easier to remember (unless it’s wikipedia… then we can just turn it into the truth! :))
    • Tell the Truth:
      • “Have you worked with vCloud Director before?”
        • Hey, tell the truth. “No, WTF is vCD?” or “I was a lab manager guy but our ELA blah blah blah, we never got to play with vCD” “I wanted to play with it in the lab but couldn’t get the code” “I hate vCD and all it stands for, TIDAL AND NEW SCALE FOR THE WIN!” err, whoa, we’re getting ahead of ourselves but seriously :)  This can apply to almost any/all technologies and scopes.   Tell the truth and be honest with yourself.     Here is the WRONG answer to most questions: “No”.
        • To provide some color on that. Answering with a simple Yes/No gives no recourse, it doesn’t let either of you know if you’re capable of willing to learn a new technology or coming back to the previous points of investing in yourself.
  • “Always… I mean never, forget to check your references” – Special prize for anyone who can give me the source of the quote ;)
    • You know what I hate on peoples resumes? “References available upon request”  Use that space you’re wasting to put something else useless… Preferably funny.  maybe “References are for wimps” or something like “I know Chmod” but please don’t waste our time on your resume!
    • A verbal reference will win hands down every time.
      • If you have someone who can vouch for you, and they’re within an ear-shot, you’re on your way to winning.   If you don’t.   Get to know those people, make friends, grow, learn, enhance, blah blah etc :)
  • Please know what you want, or why you want it.
    • Get to know who you are, what you want and what you’ll get out or changing companies or roles. If I could ask you to come up with answers to the following questions you’ll be FAR better off.   Hopefully you can come up with answers on any/all of these.
      • Do you want to travel / Are you okay with travel / How much travel (20%, 50%, 80%, 100%)
        • FYI: Figure out what EACH of those mean.  80% travel usually means you’re traveling Mon-Thurs with Friday to catch up.
      • What motivates you
        • Is it money? Is it a challenging environment? Is it doing the same shit every day at a different place? Is it the people you work with?  Figure out some of that.   What happens if you lose your motivation? How do you get your mojo back?
      • How much money do you feel you’re worth?
        • While some companies have a ‘range’ they’re willing to pay.  What are you worth?   What do you REQUIRE to survive and what will allow you to be comfortable. Etc figure those things out, base pay, bonus, what matters to you
      • “What do you do”
        • This is a question I would ask of people. It’s not what you do day in and day out, it is more akin to who you are.   Example: Regardless of what my JOB is, I’m solving problems, sharing knowledge and innovation and helping others to advance while trying to automate things so we don’t have jobs; freeing us up to do other jobs.   Figure out what you do, what you’re most passionate about, and what drives you and you’ll be WELL on your way to winning!
      • Have you ever fought a bear?
        • I mean, a small bear is still a bear, so you should be able to talk to this point.  What size of a bear are you willing to go toe to toe with give the circumstance.  Would you require it to be a fair fight? You prefer the two of you wear gloves in an open ring? Trained bear v wild? You have a particular species of bear, I mean Polar bears are nice but they tend to carry bottles of coke around with them and if you’ve ever had a bottle of coke broken on you it’s PAINFUL, OMG. I have scars still.
      • Err, WTF was that bear question?
        • … I didn’t say anything about a bear.
      • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
        • Celebrating the 5 year anniversary of you asking me this question! (Is how I HAVE answered that question, thanks to the late Mitch Hedberg) but seriously.  Do you have any kind of a plan? Where do you want to be, what do you want to do? (I’m 3 years into my current 5 year plan, and after my next blog post you’ll see just WHY I’m WELL on target! :))
      • What is your “Objective”
        • “Seeking a position in blah blah blah in a challenging environment” While all of that may be true.  Getting an idea of what your actual objective is.  Allow some further colour on this.  I’ve talked with people who simply say “I want to be challenged” WTF does THAT mean.  Without something tangible around that I can challenge you by making you deal with a crazy political environment which will leave you in tears daily trying to figure out how to navigate change management requests.   But is that what you REALLY want to do? :)    Sure if you make it too specific you can lock yourself out of opportunity (likely to be opportunity you REALLY didn’t want in the first place ;) but I digress)  
        • Be specific.    If this is an objective you’re interested in “Advancing a career in virtualization by transforming an IT organization through efficiencies, cost effective strategies and learning new skills; ultimately to advance me from an individual contributor to providing leadership to evolve and transcend the business”  … I just came up with that off the cuff, I’m sure some of you will say YES EXACTLY THAT. Sweet.   But try to come up with something tangible. Be your future, don’t just HOPE for it.
  • Buy a lottery ticket.
    • There is this old tale of a man who would pray every day asking to win the lotto. “Oh please let me win the lotto, oh please let me win the lotto” And there he lay on his deathbed, moments before his death, his creator appeared before him to take him away; with his frail and weakened breath he says “Oh being my creator, why were my prayers not answered” and in his infinite wisdom, his creator said “Buy a damn ticket already!”
    • Maybe that story resonates with you, it may insult some of you? (hey it’s from a joke! ;)) but the point is.   You’ve heard of the secret right? “Put it out to the universe and it will return to you?” Yea, I have a little secret for you. INVEST IN YOURSELF. You’re likely to get a greater outcome.   Don’t assume someone is going to send you to training and don’t assume you’re going to know things you didn’t invest in yourself to learn.    You know one of the best ways to FIND a job too? Is to say “Hey, are you hiring?” Step up, get serious and put things into your own  hands.   If you want to ‘put it out there for the universe’ I’ll be honest.. that server isn’t going to P2V itself, so hop to it and start P2Ving yourself to the next level. :)

Hopefully you found some of these various tips useful, not too offensive and valuable/useful.  If you’re looking for a new role comment in the post; if you’re hiring, let it be known! Virtualization is still very strong and shows like #VMworld show that to be so true.    Hopefully some of you adopt the H and H+ model.   Good luck and see you at #VMworld and #CXIParty :)

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Posted in Careers, Jobs, Technology, Virtualization, vmware, VMware Fusion | Comments (2)

Certification and MeasureUp Discounts 20% off Certs!

July 26th, 2009

For those of you who know me, and I know some of you do very well, you know how much I love education, learning, Certification, and most importantly.. Sharing the goods with everyone else! Well, this situation is no different!

I’m now able to take advantage of this special promotion for MCT’s which allows me to share discount vouchers with you! Discount vouchers to the tune of 10% to 20% off on Certification exams (depending upon the country)

All you need to do is let me know you want a voucher, provide an email address and country (and number of vouchers you’re looking to use) and I can supply that to you! You can reach me on Twitter @cxi, here by a comment, or sending me an email

You have no idea how excited I am to have this opportunity to share with you, so lets take advantage of it, I know I will :)  Below are the details and a brief look at what is available.

Microsoft Certification Exam Discount Voucher

Schedule Your Certification Exam

This voucher is redeemable for one Microsoft Certification Exam delivered at an Authorized Prometric Testing Center™. This voucher expires June 30, 2010. You must take your Microsoft Certification Exam prior to this date

 

Why you should get certified                                                     Learn more

When you earn a Microsoft Certification, you are demonstrating your knowledge and skills with Microsoft products and technologies, while validating real-world skills and job-related experiences that are used every day. Whether you are new to technology, changing jobs, or a seasoned IT professional, becoming certified helps you prove to peers and employers that you are committed to advancing your skills and that you are a candidate for new opportunities and career growth. Plus, as a Microsoft Certified Professional, you’ll have access to a vibrant, worldwide community of other certified professionals.

Save 40% on a 60 Day Online MeasureUp Practice Test      Learn more

You’ve made a great decision to certify your training and experience. Now make sure you are ready to pass the exam using a MeasureUp Practice Test. MeasureUp Practice Tests questions are written by subject matter experts and designed to test the concepts presented in the actual exam. Performance-based simulations are included in some practice tests as an additional test of the student’s capabilities.

Save 40% now using your voucher number and prepare for certification success.

Proof Points of Certification

Prometric and Microsoft Learning

1 2006 MCP Customer Satisfaction Survey 2 Redmond Magazine’s 2006 survey of compensation for Microsoft IT professionals 3 IDC Study: Value of Certification: Team Certification and Organizational Performance, Nov 2006 This voucher may not be combined with other vouchers and discounts. It is no longer valid after the expiration date; This voucher is nontransferable and is void if altered or revised in any way. It may not be redeemed for cash, credit, or refund and may only be applied towards Microsoft Certification exams. Microsoft ,Prometric™ and Authorized Prometric Testing Centers™ are not responsible for vouchers that are lost or stolen. Any resale of this voucher is expressly prohibited. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Prometric and the Prometric logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Prometric and its affiliated companies.

The fine print:

* Only MCTs can request MCT Rewards Discount Vouchers. You can offer MCT Rewards Discount Vouchers to students who have attended one of your instructor-led classes or one of your colleagues’ classes. You can also offer discount vouchers to people who you reach through your personal network or through your blog, website etc. These vouchers will be personalized and will include your name as the trainer that provided the discount voucher and you will receive points for each redeemed voucher. Please note that MCT Rewards Discount Vouchers may not be resold. Discounts may vary by country. For a list of discounts by country, (let me know ;))

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Education, Evangelist, Jobs, MCT, Microsoft, Technology | Comments (76)

Microsoft helps you Thrive in a down market

April 9th, 2009

Welcome to Thrive from Microsoft!

image

If you recall past posts about Microsoft and Social Responsibility, this is just another measure of ensuring that our technical future is secure, or if you’re looking for a career change that the resources are available to ensure you have a future in technology.

They have this broken up into several core areas

I'm Thriving

Why yes.. I did go through the entire site, reviewed a lot of the material and even INCLUDED ALMOST ALL OF IT HERE! Yea, I know sometimes people will look at the post, but never visit the site – So here are the goods, visit the site if you’d like, but this is exactly what you’ll see (at this point in time :))  Good luck on there – whether you’re job hunting or retaining your job!

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Posted in Blog, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Education, Free, Informational, Jobs, Microsoft, Technology, Virtualization | Comments (3)

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