This year I wanted to create a blog post highlighting the VMware vExpert program and was on my list of goals for last year but didn’t get it done. I am very honored to be selected this year for the second year as a VMware vExpert! This is an extremely exciting program that is community oriented and full of very talented and dedicated professionals. If you haven’t heard of the vExpert program hopefully this post will help shed light on what it is, how you apply, the benefits, and the community it is supported by. Let’s take a look at the VMware vExpert program and see the tremendous benefits for those who are chosen as well as the vast community of users these vExperts give back to by way of knowledge sharing, community events, and other leadership.
What is the VMware vExpert Program?
A great resource to get the official overview of what the VMware vExpert program is and links regarding applying, etc is the official VMware vExpert portal page:
“The VMware vExpert program is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program. The program is designed to put VMware’s marketing resources towards your advocacy efforts. Promotion of your articles, exposure at our global events, co-op advertising, traffic analysis, and early access to beta programs and VMware’s roadmap. The awards are for individuals, not companies, and last for one year. Employees of both customers and partners can receive the awards. In the application, we consider various community activities from the previous year as well as the current year’s (only for 2nd half applications) activities in determining who gets awards. We look to see that not only were you active but are still active in the path you chose to apply for.
So what is VMware looking for in a vExpert candidate? Unlike a certification or an exam you take that is filled with questions that you have to get so many right to pass, the vExpert program awards those who go above and beyond their day job activities to promote VMware knowledge and give back to the VMware community. So, the emphasis here is not in what you know, but rather the effort you give towards helping others to at least increase their knowledge level and have visibility to VMware solutions to solve challenges in their environments. The different vExperts are awarded based on a number of different activities that may include the following: blogging, writing books, magazines, Facebook groups, forums such as VMTN and other forums that may include non-VMware forums, public speaking engagements, VMUG leadership, authoring videos, and really any other platform that allow evangelizing VMware knowledge, technical solutions, and products and giving back to the community.
The process to select vExperts for the year basically happens twice per calendar year. At the end of the year, applications are called for to submit to the vExpert program for the upcoming year. Then, there is another opportunity to submit for vExpert status midway through the year. I really like this process in that someone may not have been able to do much for the first part of the year do to circumstances and other things life throws their way and then later in the year, they may be able to pick back up with VMware community-based activities. In this way, they don’t have to wait an entire calendar year to apply for vExpert status once again. So, it makes for a very reasonable and frequent process for those qualified.
What are the benefits of achieving vExpert status?
- Invite to our private #Slack channel
- vExpert certificate signed by our 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 our 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.
I have to say personally the VMware vExpert program rewards those recipients very well for their contribution to the community. My personal favorites of the list above is of course access to software license keys which is great for home labs and testing various functionality to create content and evangelize the platform, the Slack channel is a quick and easy resource to stay in contact with this powerful community of very sharp individuals. I can assure you, if you have a question regarding something VMware related, you can post the question to the official vExpert Slack channel and someone will be able to give you the answer. This is a tremendous resource. Additionally, the early access, VMware VMworld vExpert identification, community access, and many other great benefits, make this program well worth it.
Many may feel intimidated to apply for vExpert status. However, if you regularly contribute to the community and are involving in evangelizing VMware products and solutions and stay involved with helping others to solve challenges they are experiencing in their environments using VMware technology solutions, you most likely have something meaningful to share and be recognized for. Don’t hold back from applying. Even if your application isn’t accepted, it is a learning experience and allows you to continue to grow and set goals in both your career and in helping others in the community.
A much needed shout out to Corey Romero and the great staff working with the vExpert program for making the program possible, engaging VMware professionals like you do, and keeping the program growing and gaining momentum as it goes along. Again, I am humbled to be a part of this exciting and talented group of engineers and VMware professionals and advocates!