Start of a new era for me

For the last eight years I have been a VMware Certified Instructor (VCI). This certification allows me to deliver VMware’s official courses at VMware Authorized Training Centres (VATCs). Over that eight years I’ve taught over two hundred courses with students all over the Asia Pacific region and had a great time. When I started I thought that VMware would be my focus for two or three years and then there would be something new. I’m surprised to still be primarily working with VMware after eight years. I was also surprised to find that I enjoy delivering training and am better at it than I expected. Now it is time for a change.


You may have heard that there is a change in education; the Internet is being used to deliver some education. Lecture based delivery, the teacher at the front doing all the talking and the class simply listening, is being replaced. Initiatives like the Khan Academy show the Internet as a viable delivery medium. I expect recorded video to replace a lot of lecture based classroom over time. I don’t think this spells the end of the in-person classroom, but it changes what that classroom needs to deliver. To supplement the recorded training we need to have interactive classrooms, more of a workshop. VMware’s design workshops have always been the most fun course, primarily because they are interactive. Unfortunately most of VMware’s courses are not structured like this; they are mostly lecture and labs.

Sometimes in order to open one door you must close another. I’ve been considering this for a few months and now is the time to move. One of the restrictions of the VCI program is that VMware Education does not want VCIs delivering non-VMware materials about VMware products. Today I have resigned from the VCI program to enable me to deliver other types of education. This is a big move for me as it closes the door on what has been my primary income for the last eight years. I’m really excited about the new types of education I can be involved in developing and delivering.


The first type is workshops. I have developed my own workshops around VMware products. These will be in-person classroom based and be one or more days long. I’m starting with a workshop for people who operate a vSphere environment rather than build one. I will also have workshops around Horizon View and Site Recovery Manager. Over time I plan to branch out into other areas of VMware and non-VMware products.

The second type is free online training. Right now in the form of videos on the notes for Engineers site. These videos are short so they are easy to consume. Some are the basics, for people who work a little with virtualization but are mostly doing something else, like supporting servers, applications and users. Some videos will be more in depth, looking at new and interesting technology or unusual usage.

The third type of learning resource is the AutoLab. This is a free tool that enables easy building of a training and test lab. The AutoLab started as a place to develop lab manuals for hands on learning about VMware products. I plan to return to developing those manuals since hands on experience is the best learning and some structure around the activities will help to make the best use of limited lab time.

The fourth type is the vBrownBag podcast and TechTalks. This is a great resource created by the community to help the community. The podcast keeps covering new ground and the TechTalks will be showing up at more conferences.

This new era is going to be awesome and busy, kind of like the last era.

© 2014, Alastair. All rights reserved.

About Alastair

I am a professional geek, working in IT Infrastructure. Mostly I help to communicate and educate around the use of current technology and the direction of future technologies.
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8 Responses to Start of a new era for me

  1. Ed Grigson says:

    Good for you, having the conviction to go with your instincts. I also see training changing to more interactive (community based) and online – just look at what Pluralsight can offer for very competitive rates. Best of luck.

  2. Andrew Dauncey says:

    Wow. Good luck Al. Your future will always be bright, no matter what you choose.

  3. Good stuff, Al!
    Best of luck with the new approach. I’m sure you’ll do well.

  4. John Martin says:

    Best of luck with the change, If there’s anything I can do to help out, feel free to ask.

  5. Great move Al! I’m sure you’ll do great. You’re one of the best trainers in the world, and I think the others who have been in your classes will agree with me on that. So I’m sure you’ll be successful in your new venture(s). Some of the best training courses I’ve ever been on had you at the front of the class. I partly credit the design workshop that I attended with you for me going on to pass VCAP-DCD and VCDX. So I fully endorse anyone who wants to attend one of Al’s workshops.

  6. Eric shanks says:

    Good luck Alastair. Wishing you the best of luck.

  7. Amy Ngian says:

    Congrats Alastair – very exciting news, all the best with your future endeavours!

  8. Mark Elliott says:

    Good Luck with the new venture Al. I am sure that everything will be great!

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