Nerd Journey 046: Career Advancement – Keiran Shelden Pt. 1

Welcome to episode 46 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution 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 Keiran Shelden’s battle with career advancement in the first of two episodes with him.

Original Recording Date: 07-05-2019

This discussion is partly a follow up to Keiran’s blog on You, Your Health, and the Datacenter.

Topic – Keiran Shelden, Career Advancement, and Unexpected Feedback

3:15 – Career Journey

  • This episode gets off to a rocket start based on Keiran’s first comment! He is our first international guest on the show and definitely a humble guy.
  • Keiran started playing with computers at 9 or 10 and eventually did computer support for his school here and there.
  • In high school, had the opportunity to do a coop program that gave him experience in the workplace.
    • This is an optional extracurricular type of activity in Austrailia.
    • School is an option, but the school based training that Keiran did is an option as well. It involves a day out of school (which students have to make up) that students use to immerse in a real work environment (industry of your choice).
    • He chose to work in the IT industry through this program.
  • After finishing school, he worked at a computer store. Customers fom the store recommended him for a new job, and a manager came in to interview Kieran on the spot.
    • Kieran took a new role based on that interview managing technology for a high school. It was more responsibility (owning things cradle to grave) than while he was in school
      • Keiran learned a number of different technologies here including Novell.
      • A key project was unifying the networks of a number of different schools (each very similar), which allowed Keiran to move around a bit.
  • Keiran was not making much money at the time and leveraged an IT mailing list to find his replacement and to make his goals of getting a new job clear. He wanted out of education.
    • A very large school in Brisbane ended up calling him about a job.
    • The school was not yet virtualized.
    • Keiran learned about a number of different certification options (CCNA, MCITP).
      • He failed the MCITP twice due to lack of review. This was a humbling experience.
    • At this point he started learning about VMware products and involved himself in community.
    • He started to see where he wanted to progress (into the VMware space). The school’s small environment made it challenging to move to companies with larger environments and more feature usage.
      • He ended up being too focused on this specific technology area (but did not realize it yet).
  • Listen to Keiran’s stories from multiple interviews with a particular CEO.
    • The CEO did something very unexpected, and Keiran has never forgotten it.
      • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback in / after an interview.
      • Despite not getting the job, Keiran still received feedback. What was the impact of the feedback?
  • Keiran’s current company took a chance on him despite thinking his focus was still a bit narrow.
    • The range of technologies he gets to touch in this role has helped him build skills in other areas that were previous blind spots.

21:20 – Getting into Blogging

  • How did Keiran get into blogging?
    • He was heavy into Mac when he worked for the school (mentioned earlier) and thought about creating some tutorials.
    • Keiran had met others through that encouraged blogging.
    • He wasn’t quite sure what to blog about at first and pumped out a wide variety of content. The posts became less frequent but still contained an element of education in them.
    • Due to the impact of his blogging, Keiran also participated in Tech Field Day 18 in February 2019 in Austin, TX.
      • Keiran had been at Storage Field Day 16 as his first experience.
      • There are some folks in Brisbane who have been past delegates who encouraged to Keiran to participate and also made a formal recommendation that he be selected.
      • Because of Tech Field Day and his increased following, Keiran is more critical of blog posts he publishes (more time reviewing the blogs, etc.).
      • The event is live streamed, so not everything is about the blogging. Questions to vendors can be delivered in person, or contributions can be made via blogging.
      • The Tech Field Day experience makes you want to go back again.
  • Keiran goes back to the interaction with the CEO (who referenced his blog in their discussions).

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

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