In my German blog post on vExpert – What, Why, Why, How, I mentioned the idea to find out more about the background of the program. Luckily, Corey Romero, the Senior Social Media & Advocacy – Manager who looks after the vExpert program agreed to have an interview with me.
First, thank you, Corey, for taking the time out of your busy schedule!
Q: When was the vExpert program started and why?
Corey: The vExpert Award program started in 2009. The idea came from Eric Nielsen at VMware.
The vExpert is an award for those who share with the IT community, who give back the IT community. Giving back is sometimes not fully understood by everyone. But giving back as vExpert means you share your personal experiences with others, you reach out to the community, you are willing to help. Every content created by vExperts is unique because everyone is using VMware technology differently, even though we might share the same knowledge.
VMware started the vExpert program to recognize those IT practitioners who started to share their knowledge and experiences with VMware products. VMware had dramatically changed the life of IT practitioners by providing technology which gives more freedom to those who work with it. The result was that a lot of the IT practitioners started to share how VMware has changed their work. They started to write blog posts about their experiences with the VMware technology. How to install ESXi or what issues they ran into. They spread their content on social media and some of them even used Google ads to spread the word.
What is most amazing about the vExpert program is that if someone asks a question, multiple people will respond. They offer their knowledge immediately.
Q: How much has the vExpert community evolved over the years?
Corey: The program has grown in number of vExperts over the years. The program qualifications have not changed but other activities besides blogging have been acknowledged – e. g. public speaking, helping in schools, being a VMUG leader or having achieved the VCDX.
This does not mean that everybody who applies makes it into the program. There is a level of quality which needs be achieved to make it. But if you do not make it the first time, you can reach out to any of the about 200 vExpert Pros and they will help you with your next application.
One of the areas of the vExpert program which has greatly evolved is the level of support the program receives from VMware leadership. In the beginning, the visibility of the vExpert program was partially limited.
Another area is the awareness of the program within VMware. The available subprograms are managed solely by the respective business units. Being part of any of the subprograms gives the vExperts a chance to directly talk with VMware, with the business units.
Also, the vExperts themselves, the variety, the diversity of people has changed over the years. Besides bloggers there are consultants, admins, CTOs, and CEOs in the community.
Q: When did the first sub programs start?
Corey: The subprograms started in 2015. The very first one was vSAN, the second one was NSX.
Q: How can you become a vExpert Pro?
Corey: Just for like any of the other subprograms, you must apply for vExpert Pro. The award is like with the vExpert award – for one year.
For the vExpert Pro subprogram, it’s not how much you are giving back to the community but how much you are willing to give back by helping others to become vExperts. There might be language barriers you can help with, or you are reaching out people in emerging markets and help them to become vExpert.
The number of vExpert Pros is tied to countries. Bigger countries, like the US, have more vExperts Pro then smaller ones. As a vExpert, you represent your country in the community. You put yourself out via the vExpert directory with your name and contact details. You show that you are willing to help when someone reaches out to you.
Your vExpert Pro activities also counts towards your next year’s vExpert application.
Q: How many countries are represented by the vExperts?
Corey: Currently 75 countries are represented in the vExpert community.
Q: How is the vExpert community seen in the IT industry?
Corey: Being a vExpert is very highly viewed by the IT industry. It’s not a certification but it’s an achievement. It shows that you are a community person, willing to reach out and help others, you care about others. It’s a solid point in your resume. Some vExperts have received additional bonuses because they achieved the vExpert status.
Thank you, Corey, for taking the time for the interview! I learnt a few things about the history of it and I am happy I am part of this community. Also, a shoutout to all current vExperts and those who are vExpert Pros.
The current application period has been extended to January 28, 2022. You can still apply if you have not yet.