On Wednesday, I found out I was awarded the VMware vExpert designation for 2013. It is such an honor to be recognized by Vmware. It is an award that recognizes individuals who share their passion for virtualization and technology through contributions to their community and their willingness to share their expertise with others. For me, this is an extremely gratifying award, as I have written in the past, I enjoy inspiring high school kids into becoming the next generation of IT professionals.
I’ll admit that when I first signed up to speak to kids, I didn't fully appreciate what I was doing. However, it only took that one volunteer event to show me just how many young people there are in our community who need a role model, someone to inspire them.
I wrote about this topic last year; in 10 to 15 years most the people I know in information technology, from infrastructure support to developers to IT leaders, will be near the end of their careers or retired. Scary! No really, it is very scary. A recent conversation I had with one of my colleagues reflects this sentiment; "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only a couple more years before I retire." Fortunately, if history serves us right, when the market place opens up due to the significant retirements (estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 a day for the next 12 years) there will be a flood of ambitious young individuals diving into the IT job pool to take advantage of the burgeoning salaries. But will they have the skills required?
I am not just talking about technology skills, think about the skills required to be a successful IT professional. Soft skills like communication with customers, collaboration with IT colleagues and business partners, basic business skills to evaluate the cost effectiveness of a solution, IT governance, and understanding the volumes of process that embodies any corporate environment. I have worked with a lot of people over the years, and I can tell you that understanding the dynamics of working for a global organization is typically more daunting then learning the latest technology.
By 2014, 2.5 million STEM jobs will be created. We need to motivate our next generation to become the IT professionals of tomorrow. I am truly and honestly thrilled with this recognition, and very humble to be in the company of so many inspirational IT contributors.