1. How did you get your start in the industry?
In the early 1990’s, I was a manager over four separate teams at CompUSA Corporate. They were responsible for Hardware, Software, Technical Support, and Training. I noticed that the trainers seemed to be having the most fun. I also realized that my most fun days with the teams were when I was training them on something new. I found my passion for computers and training there!
2. What certifications do you have and are you pursing anything next?
I have the following certifications:
VCP 3, 4, 5
VCI 3, 4, 5
In the future, I’ll probably look into Cisco UCS, VMware View, NetApp, Citrix, WYSE, Compellent, and Equalogix. I may even teach some IPv6 classes when we actually start converting a lot of networks to it!
3. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
There’s really nothing surprising about me. I’m pretty much running in “parallel” with the topics that I teach, the training videos that I’ve produced, and the books that I’ve written; hence the name of my company “Parallel Connections”. God has been very gracious in blessing my business. I suppose they might be surprised to learn that the classes that I love to teach the most are the adult Sunday School classes at my church.
4. What’s your tech library look like?
I would need a wide-angle lens to take a picture of my “dead tree” technical library. I really can’t believe the number of books that I have read and highlighted. They include technical references on VMware, Cisco, Microsoft, Linux, and many general topics as well. My Kindle is also very full now with technical books and pdfs converted to Kindle form for easy reference and reading on the plane. Ain’t technology great!!
5. Any favorite blogs or sites that you can’t miss?
I love Yellow-Bricks.com, GabesVirtualWorld.com, GlobalKnowledge.com (White Papers) and many others.
6. What inspires you?
I love to learn and digest a topic so that I can teach it to others. The way I see it, “My job is to know the material so well that I can make it easier for you to learn than it was for me to learn.” Toward that end, I use analogies and stories to keep technical material from being dry and make it more understandable, whether in print, online, or in person.
7. Favorite author?
My favorite author by far is God. My favorite book is the Holy Bible. As I mentioned before, the classes that I love to teach the most are the adult Sunday School classes at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.
8. Care to speculate on the next big thing?
I’ve noticed that tablets such as the iPad and PDAs such as Android and the iPhone have redefined a person’s concept of a computer. Many people who have never had an interest in computers are using these devices and not really even realizing that they are using a computer. I understand that we will soon see virtualization in that technology as well. For example, a doctor or lawyer who has confidential information on that type of device will soon have a separate VM on the PDA that requires much greater security than the VM that contains “Angry Birds”. This will improve compliance with regulations such as HIPPAA and SOX.
9. How has being an author changed you or has it?
Being an author has made me a better instructor. The skill sets are very different but still related. Being an author is a very introverted activity that gives me a chance to “talk to myself” and decide the best way to explain a concept. Since I teach exactly the same topics that I write, I can immediately use my new “revelations” to myself in the very next class…sometimes even on the same day!
10. Please give your readers 3 tips for success
I don’t pretend to have a handle on three tips for success in general. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure that I know what success really is. I once heard a definition that said that it was more of a journey than a destination. One person’s success may not be another person’s success. I can however comment on my opinion of three tips for success in the IT world.
1. You work for yourself! – I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a loyalty to your employer, but you should remember that you are responsible for your own training and development and for keeping up with the latest trends and technologies. If your employer will pay for training, that’s all the better; but if they won’t, then it’s up to you to decide what is more important for today and the future of your business.
2. What you just learned is about to be retired! – The most fun and challenging aspect of the world of IT is that it’s in constant flux. What you learn today, may be obsolete tomorrow. This means that you never come to a point at which you “know it all” and can “coast”. The nice thing about these technologies though is that they tend to go “full circle” if you wait long enough. (For example, VoIP is putting phones back on lines that were originally made for computers so they could have different lines than the phones.) Because of this, your general knowledge will allow you to learn new concepts faster and faster; but only if you keep on studying and learning.
3. Don’t do this, if it’s not FUN to you! – IT is not an easy business to be in if you don’t have a real passion for it. In my experience, most people “put up” with computers for work and then don’t even want to see one when they get home. (iPads don’t seem to count!) On the other hand, there is a small segment of the population who can’t get enough of these things. You fall into one category or the other; and you can’t really change who you are. If you are in the small segment who love computers and networks and the challenges they present, then you are in the right place and you will do well to invest heavily in yourself and stay in IT. It’s going to be a fun, fun ride; and we are just getting started!!!The Official VCP5 Certification Guide
The Official VCP5 Certification Guide, Premium Edition eBook and Practice Test
ISBN: 0132965712 (Digital product that combines an eBook with enhanced Pearson IT Certification Practice Test)