Nerd Journey 007: Professional Networking and Training Revisited

Welcome to episode 7 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss and professional networking and revisit the topic of training.

Original Recording Date: 2018-08-06


2:30 – Professional Networking

  • Have you checked out The Tech Village Podcast?
  • This segment dives into Tech Village Podcast # 2 – Get Your Head out of Your Valley
    • We found a common theme on professional networking in this episode.
  • First guest – Adam Eckerle (@eck79) stressed the following:
    • Professional networking as a remote worker
    • Tough without regular on-site visits
    • Face-to-face meetings inspire better electronic responses.
    • Find out what you can do for your network.
    • Professional networking is a Journey and is not instantaneous.
      • The first step might not get you the dream job.
      • Working for a VAR helps you to meet people.
    • Networking within a company should go horizontal, vertical, and diagonally.
  • Second guest – Joep Piscaer (@jpiscaer,
  • Third guest – Marie Mauer (@doxly_marie)
    • She experienced an acquisition and needed to connect with people in other geographic locations to synchronize office culture.
  • Washington Post Article –  How to Network Within Your Company
    • The Washington Post’s jobs blog has solid career advice in general.
    • Key takeaways from the article:
      • Invest some personal time
        • Spend lunch with others, and attending social networking events outside of work.
      • Attend some personal events
        • Make the personal connection with others first.
      • Network at your level
        • John shares his networking strategy when attending conferences.
      • Network up
      • Move up and out

20:35 – The Ins and Outs of Training…Revisited

  • This started from a conversation between Nick and John on personal training plans.
  • We gave some ideas on the “what” aspect of training in episode 6 but did not address adjacencies.
  • What is an adjacency?
    • An area outside of your main focus
  • Nick shares some examples of adjacent areas under the IT umbrella.
  • Why are adjacencies important?
    • Know what is important in the adjacent areas that affect your core competency.
    • Knowledge of adjacencies can build rapport between teams.
    • Customer example – a member of the development team moved to operations to help improve processes and better support developers.
  • What if you get really interested in an adjacent area?
    • An adjacency that’s interesting enough could eventually be a specialty.
    • Dip a toe into another area without leaving where you’re comfortable.
    • Knowledge of other disciplines makes you more valuable and better able to support other teams.
    • John says “take their job now.”
  • Ideas on “How” to train for adjacencies
    • Leverage specialist teams to cross-train other teams to a baseline level of knowledge.
    • Train to understand the areas of concern in adjacent disciplines.
  • Ideas for “What”
    • We talked about technical adjacencies earlier in this segment, but what about the non-technical adjacencies?
    • John stresses the importance for technical people to understand how Sales organizations think and operate.
    • Understanding how your boss is being measured helps with prioritization alignment.
    • Train on concerns of business executives to better position and get funding for IT projects.
      • revenue
      • expenses
      • risk
      • time to market
      • quality of service
      • Networking
    • Individual contributors can learn about managerial skills.
      • Helps in getting hired later
      • Or promoted in place
      • Or hired diagonally within the organization
      • Understand how performance is measured
    • Most people think about training for certifications or in another area under the IT umbrella.

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