Operations -> Engineering

Steve Flanders

Steve Flanders

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, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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