Operations -> Engineering

As part of human nature we tend to find something that we like and stick to it. We are often creatures of habit. While this can be a good thing, it can also be a bad thing. Too often I find people are afraid to make a change. With change comes uncertainty, with uncertainty comes fear, with fear comes…well, that is up to you. I bring this up as I have made the decision to move from Operations to Engineering at VMware. About four months ago, I was approached with an opportunity for change and after much consideration I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.

In terms of career changes there are several important things I always keep in mind:

  • You should love what you do – It should not be a job, it should be fun!
  • You should enjoy who you work with – While what you do might change, the people you work with often do not
  • You should believe in what you do – Do you think your company, your department, and that you yourself can be successful? If the answer to any of these questions is no then you may want to think a little harder about the decision you are about to make
  • You should be looking at the big picture – How does this impact your career? How does this impact your personal life? What does the future hold?

So how did these factors play into my decision?

  • You should love what you do – I love meeting with other people, discussing ideas, learning new things. In my new position I have the opportunity to meet with customers, to interface with different engineering teams, to learn things outside of my comfort zone, to really influence a product, and even write code for it.
  • You should enjoy who you work with – I work with some really smart people. I feel lucky in that I have always had the opportunity to work with talented and passionate people. The team I joined does a great job of making you feel like part of a team. One thing I learned early on is that they have nicknames for most of the people in the team. Very early on I was dubbed “The Solution” and it is a nickname I am honored to have.
  • You should believe in what you do – VMware is the #1 virtualization product on the market today, the engineering team I joined is working on a product that provides a lot of value and is entering a market that is not publicized or tapped to its full potential, and I have the opportunity to understand how the product is really being used and help improve the user experience along the way.
  • You should be looking at the big picture – Operations = long hours, night/weekend work, on-call, travel, etc. Engineering is much the same, but more meetings instead of on-call. My new position does afford me the opportunity to spend more time at home with my family. As for the future…well, I guess we will see 🙂

So what am I doing now? As my recent blog posts suggest, I have joined the vCenter Log Insight team as a Sr. Solutions Architect! Though things have been busy with the recent announcement of the product, you can expect a lot more posts from me on Log Insight.

© 2013 – 2014, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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