vexpertHow do you become a VMware vExpert? Well, there’s now several paths you can take to get there. First and foremost, the title is slightly misleading and most likely will be revamped in the near future to reflect the true meaning of the award. It’s not a certification, it’s not saying you are an a subject matter expert or VMware know it all. The vExpert award is given to individuals who have gone above and beyond their day job to talk about VMware, evangelize it, organize community events, lead a VMUG, write a blog, speak at VMworld or other tech events or give back to the community on a regular basis. Did you do any of those things in 2012? Well, you’ve got a pretty good shot at becoming a VMware vExpert for 2013. Here’s an official explanation of what a vExpert is from VMware’s social media king John Troyer:

Each year, we bring together in the vExpert Program the people who have made some of the most important contributions to the VMware community. These are the bloggers, book authors, VMUG leaders, speakers, tool builders, community leaders and general enthusiasts. They work as IT admins and architects for VMware customers, they act as trusted advisors and implementors for VMware partners or as independent consultants, and some work for VMware itself. All of them have the passion and enthusiasm for technology and applying technology to solve problems. They have contributed to the success of us all by sharing their knowledge and expertise over their days, nights, and weekends. They are, quite frankly, the most interesting and talented group of people I’ve ever been in a room with.

What do I get?
Let’s start with what you don’t get. This award doesn’t entitle you to badger John or anyone at VMware for free stuff. Don’t ask for free licenses, don’t ask for logo gear, don’t ask for discounts, chances are if there are available John has always come through for the vExpert community. Don’t be that guy/gal who gives John and the community team a headache, this has happened in the past. Now for what you can expect to get. If 2013 is anything like 2011 and 2012 (the two years I’ve been a vExpert) you are in for a treat! You will receive beta licenses for most of the coolest things that VMware is currently working on. You will receive a license for most of the current software for at least 365 days if not longer. Many 3rd party companies will give you licenses for their products as well. As a new vExpert you will get a certificate and a gift of some sort, here’s what I received for 2011. Each year at VMworld there is an awesome vExpert briefing with finger foods and drinks (I only drink Diet Coke, but there’s libations for everyone). John briefs us on what the year ahead should bring for the vExpert program and what to look for. Last year there were special awards given out to a select few vExperts who really went above and beyond.

How do I apply?
Applying to be a vExpert is a piece of cake thanks to the easy to use application form. Fill it out, put down anything you can think of that you did in 2012 that would qualify you; blog posts, organized events, VMUGs you spoke at, or anything you personally contributed to the VMware community. There are three paths to becoming a vExpert; the Evangelist path (blogger, speaker, author types), Customer path(end user, system integrator, administrator, influencer types) and Partner path (VMware partner, VAR, etc.). Maybe you fall into two or more of those categories, just pick the one you best fit into. There are different requirements for each path, here’s a quick explanation:

Evangelist Path
The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, VMTN contributors, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public or were in a language other than English.

Customer Path
The Customer Path is for leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have been internal champions in their organizations, or worked with VMware to build success stories, act as customer references, given public interviews, spoken at conferences, or were VMUG leaders. A VMware employee reference is recommended if your activities weren’t all in public.

VPN (VMware Partner Network) Path
The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning through accreditation and certifications and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements. A VMware employee reference is required for VPN Path candidates.

The application is now available and open to anyone who wishes to fill it out. Not everyone who fills out an application will be selected, but I’m sure you already know if you deserve the award. Please don’t inundate John with emails about whether or not you got in, the results will be posted when they are done with the selection process. This is not a small process, VMware puts a lot of time, money and effort into the vExpert program so please respect the process and don’t be a bug. Submit your application and forget about it, it’s fun to be surprised when you get the email from VMware letting you know you’re a new vExpert (or repeat offender, Jason Boche). The application is now open and the deadline to apply is April 15, 2013 at midnight (isn’t something else due then?). There you have it, apply now and good luck to you.

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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