79 episodes

John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_) are two IT Pros turned VMware Solutions Engineers. Each week, they identify and bring you the best career advice they wish they'd been given, with some general IT discussion is sprinkled in as well.

Nerd Journey Podcast John White | Nick Korte

    • Careers

John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_) are two IT Pros turned VMware Solutions Engineers. Each week, they identify and bring you the best career advice they wish they'd been given, with some general IT discussion is sprinkled in as well.

    When Life Disrupts Your Work-Life Balance

    When Life Disrupts Your Work-Life Balance

    Today we discuss handling situations where our lives demand more attention than normal, whether from sudden crisis or low-level wear and tear. We also collect some ways to help care for ourselves.

    • 42 min
    Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 2

    Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 2

    Welcome to episode 67 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical 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 have the second half of our discussion with John on his move from VMware to Google Cloud. The first half was Episode 66 if you’d like to listen to it first (or if you missed it last week).

    Original Recording Date: 2020-01-25

    Topics – Checking in with John White on Life at Google (Part 2)

    2:11 – Changes to John’s Professional Development Strategy?



    * Many of the skills we’ve discussed on Nerd Journey previously like HR screening calls, etc.

    * Google does a multi-step onsite interview process and gave John some advice on how to prepare for them.

    * John knew who he is and what he brought to the table, taking every opportunity to prepare.

    * There was a great deal of room for advancement at VMware, but Google as an organization is pretty young with ambitious growth goals and funding from the parent company. It feels like working for a startup.



    * For example, folks wanting to move into management were encouraged to start having those conversations with their managers since the organization knows more managers will be needed as the company grows.







    8:01 – Changes to Family Life?



    * John wishes he had heard Mike Burkart’s advice before making this move (see Part 1 and Part 2 of that discussion).

    * John did not anticipate how much of a change consistently going into the office would be versus working from home.

    * The office hours are not set specifically. Getting work finished and being present for meetings is more the emphasis. John has seen people at the office at 6 AM.

    * John plans his schedule around the food served in the office (sometimes).

    * A benefit of being at the office daily is the proximity to coworkers for bouncing ideas, asking questions, etc.

    * For the first year, John plans to be in the office 5 days per week to build relationships with colleagues. This was the recommended approach from others who were seasoned Google employees.



    * Building as many relationships in person as possible is important to John.





    * Sometimes John’s wife would work from home, and he used to be able to take a short break to catch up with her. Being in an office every day takes this perk of working from home away.

    * Remember there is a cost of giving up time to commute and be at an office all day. Consider this when taking a new role.



    15:06 – Proximity to Management



    * John’s manager works in the same office as he does. Google seems to be organizing teams this way when possible based on geography.

    * John has met colleagues who were completely field facing due to no local office.



    16:57 – What John Misses at VMware



    * That is easy…the people. He had great colleagues, management, and enjoyed interacting with his customers.

    • 31 min
    Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 1

    Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 1

    Welcome to episode 66 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical 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 Nick checks in with John three months after his move to Google Cloud.

    Original Recording Date: 2020-01-25

    Topics – Checking in with John White on Life at Google

    2:10 – The New Gig and Making a Move



    * What does John actually do at Google?



    * John is a Customer Engineer, which is still a pre-Sales technical role. He talks with customers, understands their business, and aligns solutions to help solve technical problems that map to business problems.





    * What would make John want to pursue the SE role at a different company?



    * There were some challenges with the Sales territory John covered at VMware despite him loving his colleagues.

    * In some ways the change was unexpected, but he enjoyed the SE role enough to consider pursuing it somewhere else.





    * What other roles had John considered as being a logical next step after getting great experience as a SE?



    * He considered Technical Marketing and Management but had not put a lot of professional development time into it.

    * John took time to look around for internal openings at VMware from time to time. There was nothing that jumped out as an attractive next step.

    * A recruiter from Google had reached out to John a while before despite him not looking at the time. This got John’s attention enough for him to consider it for a call back.





    * How does John feel about moving to a competitor?



    * At first, John was concerned about this. After the move, he is not as worried.

    * As part of the interview process, John did deep dives into the Google Cloud portfolio as much as he could. Virtual machines and virtual infrastructure were a small portion of the portfolio.

    * In John’s opinion, there is some overlap in VMware and Google offerings, but Google seems to be targeting a different audience. There are likely more opportunities to partner than opportunities to compete.







    11:31 – How is Life Different Now?



    * John works with "enterprise" customers (which is defined differently by different vendors). At Google, more of the portfolio is attractive to companies who have never purchased their own servers (i.e. smaller companies with large technology spend). As a result, "Cloud Native" customers are more represented in Google’s "enterprise" segment.

    * John was in a field resource at VMware (lived in geographic region he was serving but worked mostly from home when not visiting customers). At Google, because of the numerous office locations, employees are asked to spend time in the office multiple days per week.



    * He had to get used to going in to the Google office in San Francisco. Commuting every day was a big change (45-50 minute commute).

    * John had to change his sleep and wake times to adjust.

    * John prefers to use public transit and take it during times when it is not extremely congested.

    * The Google offices provide meals for employees as well.







    17:05 – Product Portfolio and Team Dynamic



    * John is responsible for everything at level 100. He is asked to have a major in one technology and minor in something else. a href="https://gsuite.google.

    • 33 min
    Your Position Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart Part 2

    Your Position Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart Part 2

    Welcome to episode 65 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical 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 the interview and evaluation process with Mike Burkhart in the second half of our interview with him about and unexpected job search.

    Original Recording Date: 12-03-2019

    Topics – Mike Burkhart

    03:00 – The First Interview Happened When?



    * Mike reached out on LinkedIn to the person he knew had an opening to get an idea of the role.

    * This time around in the job search, Mike looked really hard at company culture.



    * When asking about culture, choose your questions carefully to penetrate the rose-colored glasses effect.



    * Ask about performance interviews, how they operate, potential for upward mobility, etc.

    * Ask about whether people have been able to successfully take leave / vacation. What exactly is the process of taking PTO?





    * One of the reasons Mike wanted out of the architecture space was because of organizational politics. He does not enjoy navigating the political waters.

    * Look for how you want your life to look (traveling, coding, speaking at conferences, break stuff as part of a security team, etc.). Translate that into current skills and the type of work you can do.





    * Consider the simple questions about your career / current role such as "what do you like most about your job?"



    * John shares a great story about an interaction with a recruiter.

    * Much of Mike’s journey was finding the right questions to ask.



    * It’s easy to ask about yourself about now. What about yourself in a year or several years?

    * Mike shares an interesting story about leaving an employer that did not value him.





    * What do you value when you’re working?





    * John reiterates finding out if a new job is a culture fit is crucial.



    * One of Mike’s questions was "how do you celebrate as a workforce?" This could be holiday parties, births of children, or celebration of success.

    * Are you willing to trade your life for whatever gain you’re getting / whatever you are willing to build with another company?

    * Many of the things done in IT are not celebrated like we might want them to be.

    * The value of IT is not easily quantified by business people. They don’t quantify it in terms of time you did not get to spend with your family.



    * You should care an extreme amount about how you spend your time.





    * Is this type of thinking the equivalent of a systems thinking mindset?





    * We should make tips for determining cultural fit an ongoing conversation.



    22:20 – How to Examine Culture before You’re in Crisis Mode



    * How do we get started when we’re semi-comfortable?

    * Comfortable is not complacent.

    * Understanding what your goals are is important.

    * We don’t always think of ourselves as a person in our own lives.

    * If thinking about a job change / role change that involves going elsewhere, examine whether it is the employer you work for now or the job you are currently doing.



    * Mike’s transition to his current role has been the first time he has felt real joy from work in about 10 years.

    • 43 min
    Your Position Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart

    Your Position Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart

    Welcome to episode 64 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical 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 navigating unexpected career pressure with Mike Burkhart.

    Original Recording Date: 12-03-2019

    Topics – Your Posiiton Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart

    03:21 – Mike’s Career Overview



    * Mike recently took a position as a curriculum developer of instructor led courseware at Nutanix but followed an interesting path to get there.



    * He started off with IT help desk work, which often involved testing DSL lines.

    * This led to a systems and networking background. He also did software testing.

    * He stumbled upon ESX 2.0 at some point and got an introduction to virtualization, which was extremely interesting.

    * Mike’s journey involved him following his passion / interests and making some bets on following them.

    * He became a consultant around the ESX 4.0 days. This involved heavy travel…but not to places you might envision.

    * The consulting firm was a VMware training partner, and Mike was asked to be an instructor.



    * He said yes and decided to try it.

    * "If given an opportunity, take the opportunity if it is something you can imagine yourself doing."

    * Mike is an extrovert and stage musician.

    * Mike believes we are all here for the purpose of love. To love someone is to share experiences, impart knowledge, and have them impart knowledge on you.



    * Education is the pursuit of this connection and pursuit of growing as an adult.









    * Pursuing this instructor role opened his eyes to a completely different passion. Ever since becoming an instructor for a brief stint, Mike has focused (as time allowed even after he became a Solutions Architect) on many different things in the education space.

    * At one point in the last several months, one of Mike’s friends suggested he talk to someone who had an opening in an education related role.



    * The person who referred him was a fellow instructor and VCDX candidate with Mike.





    * Mike has been a VMUG leader for several years and an avid public speaker. His current role is a mixture of all the experience he’s had to this point.







    14:23 – Necessity of Career Analysis



    * "I wasn’t looking for an employer. I wasn’t looking for a role. I was looking at how I want my life to operate for me, what skills I want to flex, what skills I want to learn, and what I want to leave behind."

    * Mike was in field Pre-Sales as an Architect before taking his current role.

    * He did a current vs. future state analysis on his career.

    * This process was something Mike needed to do because of circumstances with his employer.



    * This is the second time in his career he was being "made redundant in the field."

    * In this instance, Mike was given the job of applying for the same / other roles within the company as a result.

    * For the architects out there, be wary of the changes you help make within a company having ramifications you may not like.

    * Mike believes he took the right role to support what he wants at this point in his life.





    * The first time this situation happened to Mike was when he worked for an aircraft ma...

    • 47 min
    Managing Online Communities and Career Path Pt. 2 with Nic Tolstoshev

    Managing Online Communities and Career Path Pt. 2 with Nic Tolstoshev

    Welcome to episode 63 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical 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 online community management and career paths with community manager Nic Tolstoshev. Once again, here’s the Nic Tolstoshev fan art Flickr feed we mentioned.

    Original Recording Date: 10-26-2019

    Topics – Community Management and Career with Nick Tolstoshev

    02:35 Community Manager Career Path and Time Commitment



    * Do community managers get actively recruited for roles at other places?



    * That is exactly how Nic ended up at Automox.





    * The career path is all over the place. Some people burn out after a few years in the role, while others get into community management as a stepping stone (i.e. considering it entry level before making a lateral move).

    * For those in it for the long haul, your skills will eventually be required / wanted elsewhere.

    * There is not a great path to climb the corporate ladder from the community manager position, but this is starting to change with some companies making a whole department for it.



    * A company’s having an online community is a differentiator which could potentially decrease the need for head count.

    * Nic talks to some things that come out of communities that you never expected.



    * Examples – SpiceRex, a special community award









    * 08:38 – What about the time commitment for this role?



    * Don’t make it an hourly position. There is more that goes into it.

    * Nic likes to keep an eye out after hours since online communities aren’t just in use during vendor business hours.

    * As a solo community manager, you can leverage power users of the community as moderators to help.



    * Nic likes to select an informal backup within the company that is passionate about community so he can take vacations, sick days, etc.

    * There is a certain social contract that applies to online community participation.





    * Getting additional funding / resources requires showing proof of added value to the bottom line.



    * Look at things like number of engaged users, page views, traffic, if questions are getting answered (reply %), etc. as key performance indicators.

    * Product feedback can be requested and given within the online community through feature requests, focus groups, beta tests, etc.

    * Nic shares a story from Intuit in the QuickBooks for Mac forum when he helped the product team uncover a bug and had to act as the DeFacto PR person in this situation.



    * Community managers have to help keep the public informed in a corporate disaster.















    22:47 – Advice for the Would Be Community Manager and Closing Thoughts



    * Technical skills won’t stay as sharp. Nic mentions missing out on getting his hands dirty in the virtualization movement.



    * He worked on the community team at a company outside the technology space but found himself doing a great deal of technical work (back end maintenance on the community platform).

    * Nic recommends getting very hands on with the products a vendor sells and shares examples of what he has done since joining Automox. This helps members of the community and also allows for very direct feedback to internal...

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

DebbiRobertson ,

Interesting Listen

I stumbled across this show, started listening just to see what it was about and found myself not wanting to hit the stop button. Why? Because it’s great information and I found benefit. And besides, these guys are fun to listen to with their "nerdy" personalities, along with their expertise. Give it a listen!

num1k ,

Accelerate your career journey...

John and Nick bring straightforward, practical, and informative information about career advancement that is relevant not just to technology professionals, but to anybody looking to improve or enhance their careering. It has been awesome having access to specific, focused conversations from both of the hosts, and informative guests from across the industry.

If you are looking for help in sharpening your skills, getting insight navigating career changes, or just want to know more about career advancement, take a trip with Nerd Journey.

furiousmuse ,

Just download it!

Super smart, indubitably informative, and undoubtedly unique, this new (to me) podcast is a gem for those in any industry. If you’re looking for solid, thoughtful career advice, John and Nick deliver it in expert amounts with witty asides to spare. So glad my friend introduced me to it!

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