In the fast-paced world of Information Technology, learning from industry veterans is crucial. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean Massey, a seasoned professional in IT with a diverse career. Sean has played a significant role in shaping End-User Computing, particularly focusing on VMware Horizon, and has made valuable contributions to the VMware community.
Beyond being an IT professional, Sean is a dedicated learner, community advocate, mentor, and inspiration to many in the tech world. In our interview, he shared insights into his personal and professional journey, his role at VMware, motivations behind his presentations at VMware Explore, his unique approach to work-life balance, and more.
This blog post aims to share Sean's rewarding journey, providing valuable insights for IT professionals and enthusiasts alike. Whether you're an aspiring IT professional, an industry veteran, or simply curious about the IT realm, you'll find something worth exploring in this conversation.
About Sean Massey
Sean Massey, an IT veteran boasting a dynamic career spanning 16 years, now holds a pivotal role at VMware, at the intersection of multi-cloud and End-User Computing (EUC). Yet, Sean's path hasn't always been laser-focused. With a professional history that includes a diverse mix of experiences, from handling the IT department of a cookie factory to implementing a Horizon environment for a Catholic Diocese, Sean's career tapestry is as varied as it is profound.
Journey to VMware: The Power of Community
Sean's journey to his current role at VMware is a compelling narrative of dedication, hard work, and continuous learning, deeply intertwined with the vibrant VMware community. As a young IT professional, Sean found himself longing for more than what his Sysadmin role could offer. His aspirations extended beyond the daily operations of a singular environment; he craved complexity, challenge, and the thrill of incessant learning. This yearning to break free from conventional confines led him towards a decision that would become a turning point in his professional journey - the pursuit of the prestigious VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) certification.
Allow me to take a moment and clarify what the VCDX certification entails.
What is VCDX
The VMware Certified Design Expert, or VCDX, is VMware's highest certification. It's for IT professionals who excel at designing, building, and managing extensive VMware systems. It requires mastery in areas like troubleshooting, performance optimization, and managing systems. To get this certification, candidates must create and defend their design for a large enterprise VMware solution to a panel of experts. This makes it a very challenging certification to achieve.
For Sean, this was more than a certification - it was a quest that challenged his technical prowess and conceptual understanding, pushing him to go beyond the limits of what he thought was possible.
During his journey towards this esteemed credential, he dove deep into the VMware community, leveraging the collective wisdom and shared experiences to hone his skills and understanding. Attending events like VMUG and VMworld, he had the opportunity to connect with industry stalwarts and likeminded peers, establishing friendships and networks that would prove invaluable throughout his career.
It was the rich community and the exposure gained from blogging, his involvement with the VMware User Group (VMUG), and his transformative VMworld experience in 2013 that accelerated his career trajectory.
This period of intensive learning and interaction culminated in Sean achieving his VCDX certification while working at AHEAD. However, this was not a final destination but a new beginning. The certification opened doors to new opportunities and professional experiences.
The fusion of his technical expertise, underpinned by the VCDX certification, and his deep-rooted community involvement eventually led Sean to his current role at VMware. Here, he continues his journey at the intersection of multi-cloud and End-User Computing (EUC), constantly evolving and sharing his knowledge with the community that played an integral part in his journey.
Sharing Knowledge: The YOLO Presenter
"Embrace the YOLO strategy when it comes to presentations - It works for me because spending too much time preparing makes me nervous."
One thing that shines through Sean's career is his passion for sharing knowledge. It was this drive that led him to start blogging, which evolved into presenting at various events, including VMware Explore. His approach to presenting? In his own words, it's "YOLO" - still working on his slides as he walks up to the podium to present. Sean believes in focusing on the spoken content over slide content, challenging conventional presentation methods, and making the knowledge sharing process more engaging.
Contributions to the VMware Community
"I’ve done a lot around End User Computing, and I’ve been an active supporter of VMUG
and the vExpert Community."
Sean is an active supporter of VMUG and the vExpert Community, with a particular focus on End User Computing. His expertise and support have helped others navigate their VMware journey effectively.
His active involvement in VMUG and the vExpert Community illustrates his commitment not only to professional growth but also to the collective progress of the VMware ecosystem. His specialized expertise in End User Computing serves as a beacon for those delving into this niche area, guiding them with invaluable insights and in-depth knowledge.
Sean's story reminds us that career isn't solely defined by climbing the corporate ladder, but more so by the power of community engagement, never-ending learning, the cultivation of meaningful relationships, and the unyielding quest for challenges that fuel our inspiration and drive.
VMware Explore Experiences
"Networking and knowledge sharing is what Explore is all about. The hallway track and Solutions Expo is where I’ve always found the most value."
Sean's extensive involvement with VMware Explore is marked by diverse roles that have enriched the event. Starting as a panelist, he shared invaluable insights, aiding the growth of the VMware community. This platform enabled him to engage with other professionals, nurturing a cohesive, informed community. Beyond being a panelist, Sean led vBrownbag, Tech Talks, and Code sessions, diving deep into VMware's technical facets. This not only showcased his prowess but also provided a comprehensive learning space for attendees.
One of Sean's standout qualities is his ability to deliver dynamic, interactive presentations. His use of real-time audience participation tools magnifies this dynamism. These tools have transformed his sessions from mere lectures to vibrant discussions, emphasizing active learning. A hallmark of Sean's approach is the unexpected live demo, which he confidently employs to give attendees firsthand experience of VMware's functionalities. These demos not only infuse surprise but also practically illustrate the tools and strategies he discusses.
Looking Ahead: VMware Explore 2023
For the upcoming VMware Explore event, Sean is planning several sessions. His main focus will be on 'Building Your Own Lab: Keeping Pace with Change Across the Industry,' where he'll discuss the significance of building a lab for professional development. Here, Sean aims to convey the critical role that setting up one's personal lab plays in their professional development. He will address how it enables individuals to keep up with the dynamic, constantly evolving landscape of the industry. In this hands-on session, attendees can anticipate learning about the nuts and bolts of setting up their labs and how such an environment can serve as an incubator for innovation and continuous learning.
His additional sessions are set to cover a broad range of topics, including exploring the intricacies of Horizon, diving into the automation of Minecraft Server template builds, and dissecting the ins and outs of running a Home Lab with his co-presenter Dr. Jayme Manning. He will also delve into automating Horizon environments utilizing Go, presenting a deep dive into this high-performance language in a virtual environment context. With this breadth of topics, Sean hopes to cater to a diverse range of interests, ensuring that all attendees walk away with new and practical knowledge.
Sean hopes that the attendees will find something interesting in his sessions and leave with new, useful knowledge. Sean is also eagerly looking forward to the networking opportunities that VMware Explore affords. To him, the event's main allure lies in the confluence of minds it brings about, with attendees and presenters alike converging to engage in thought-provoking discussions and share insights.
His anticipation for this collaborative exchange of ideas underscores his belief in the importance of community and the role it plays in driving the industry forward.
VMware Explore 2023 Sessions
In all, Sean Massey is a brilliant example of an IT veteran continually evolving and contributing to the broader IT community. His journey underscores the importance of community, constant learning, and sharing knowledge, reminding us that even as technology evolves, these core principles remain key to a fulfilling career. Whether you're new to the IT field or an experienced professional, Sean's story is sure to inspire.