Virtualization Pro of the Month: Jason Langer
Editor’s Note: Jason Langer is our Virtualization Pro of the Month for October. Jason is a Solutions Architect for a Value-Added Reseller in the Pacific Northwest, and is on the Seattle VMUG Leadership team. He blogs regularly at VirtualLanger.com.
How long have you been in the IT industry?
I have worked in the IT field for just about 15 years, got my start in the late 90’s.
How did you get into it? How did you prepare?
Honestly I kind of stumbled into it. I was working for a financial services company and found out a local PC computer game maker was hiring for entry level technical support phone representatives. As an avid gamer I was looking for a change and I thought I would take a shot. Lucky for me my PC trouble shooting skill were good enough to get my foot in the door. From there I began studying Windows NT and was able to secure a true systems administrator role a year or so later. After that everything seems to have been a stepping stone for the next opportunity.
What certifications do you hold and how did you go about getting them?
Besides the standard Microsoft MCSA/MCSE certifications I hold several VMware certifications. I currently have my VCP, VCP-DT, VCAP-DCA/DCD based on VMware vSphere 5.x and View 5.x
As far as obtaining the certifications I have leaned on both community driven study aids like the vBrownBag podcasting series as well as resources from companies like Train Signal. But by far the best resources has been the setup and access of my home vSphere lab. While reading and watching videos has helped, there has been nothing better than covering an objective with hands on time in the lab. The other added benefit of the home lab has been will we have been able to generate free study guides for those looking to obtain their VMware certification goals as well.
What is your current job?
After working the majority of my career in an operational role a year ago I made the move to working as a consultant. I work as a Solutions Architect for Value Add Reseller (VAR) in the Pacific Northwest and our key focus areas are datacenter and end user compute virtualization leveraging VMware solutions and their third party eco-system.
How do you stay current?
This feels like a trick question as I always feel like I am just keeping up. With how quickly things change in our field my prior resource is for new and information is Twitter. On top of that there are ten to fifteen key virtualization bloggers that I make sure I view their sites when new content has been posted.
What do you do when you’re not working or playing in your home lab?
When taking a break from the paying gig I have recently had the opportunity to be involved in being a technical reviewer for two upcoming VMware vSphere titles. From there I might be spending time working on generating content on my blog. If completely disconnecting from all things virtualization I will find time for a little gaming on my Xbox, but my favorite thing to do is go traveling with my wife.
Married, kids, pets?
No pets and no kids, but married to my best friend and strongest supporter.
Favorite technology product or tool?
Twitter, hands down. This also ties into the question raised above about staying current. Being active is social media and more specifically Twitter has brought tremendous value in both my career and me continuing education. I can directly map the growth in my career the last few years to the moment I decided to create a Twitter account and get active. The amount of knowledge and information you have access to at your fingertips is immense. If I need assistance with a question or issue I can always put together a tweet with some hash tags and nine times out of ten I will get a response that either answers the question or points me in the right direction to get it resolved. Twitter is definitely a powerful tool.
In the next year, what are you most excited about?
I am the most excited about what is taking place in the storage market around virtualization. With several companies bringing very compelling solutions to market around hyper-converged infrastructures or host based caching strategies, how you design and build your storage infrastructure will drastically change. These ideas are really going to challenge the status quo on how storage is delivered in the datacenter. Great times ahead!
What made you decide to start blogging at VirtualLanger.com?
The focus of my blog has been around creating study guides for various VMware certification exams. When I started prepping for the VCP5 exam instead of logging my notes into MS Word I changed gears and started to break each section out as blog posts. I figured I am taking the notes anyways and guessing other folks might find them helpful as well. Two study guides have been completed, one for the VCP5 exam and the other for the VCAP5-DCA exam. Happy to say this year at VMworld with the help of sponsors (Pure Storage and Veeam) we were able to give away free copies of each.
How did you get started blogging?
Well it took a couple of tries. I first started blogging in early 2010 and put out a few posts but didn’t really have a good sense of direction so I stopped after a few months. Then in late 2011 I attended my first VMworld conference and sat in on a breakout session with John Troyer, Eric Siebert, and David Davis about blogging. In talking with them I told them how in preparing for VMware certifications I take a lot of notes following the exam blue print outlines. John looked at me and said “There, that is your blog”. From that point on that has carried the overall goal for me, though I do blog about other things from time to time. Interesting note is that is where I met and became friends with another new blogger starting out at the time Mike Preston of blog.mwpreston.com fame.
What would you tell others who are considering blogging about virtualization?
As clichés as it sounds, just do it! It can be intimidating as there are a lot of great blogs out there, but your voice and expertise can help someone. The VMware blogosphere community is a great group and I have reached out to several people for post reviews, thoughts and comments, etc. Everyone has always been happy to help, just have to jump in.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just want to mention how supportive and great everyone has been over the years in the VMware community. By no means could I have accomplished what I have without the assistance of the great folks that I have met and become friends with in the community that has formed and is driven around VMware and virtualization technologies.
Final question…Does your wife working at Starbucks help to make you more productive in terms of the additional caffeine intake?
Let’s just say it doesn’t hurt for those late night home lab sessions.