Big thanks to Eric Beehler for inviting me to appear on CS Techcast 110 this week. We talked at length about some of the unique challenges facing mid-market IT.
Although the conversation was spurred mostly by the news of Microsoft’s cancelling Essential Business Server v2, we discussed a wide range of topics, including cloud-based services (big shock there) and virtualization.
If you want to skip ahead, my section starts at the 12:52 (or so) mark.
I’ll admit, it was kinda weird being on the other side of the microphone. Flashbacks of SBS Show kept running through my head, but being on the other side of the desk made this the fastest, easiest webcast I’ve ever done.
Last week, I had the good fortune to attend CMP’s XChange’09 event in Washington, DC. As a vendor-centric show, this kind of event gives solution providers like my company the opportunity to see new offerings from various vendors, give feedback, and forge business relationships that can mutually benefit our companies.
But this year, one of the initiatives taking place during XChange’09 really made me, and a whole lot of others, sit up and take notice.
CMP Media partnered with Microsoft and the Framsyn Initiative to sponsor Channel@Work, a program that sponsored a large group of young people from all over the country who expressed an interest in IT careers to attend XChange. The goal was to give them an opportunity to be mentored by industry veterans, and give them a boost into the IT field.
Activities included team-building, computer-building, direct interaction with executives from IT companies, and the ability to engage with the rest of us delegates. At breakfast one morning, I got a chance to talk with a young man named Che. He told me about his job as a junior network administrator, the kinds of things he’s learned how to do from that job, and his goals for the future. I talked to him about the importance of keeping both his resume and skillset current, of picking and choosing certification exams that give the most options for huim in the future, and the importance of learning not just a given product release, but really understanding the underlying concept about how and why something works.
As part of this program, these young people were working toward completing Microsoft’s 70–653 exam TS: Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuring, which earns not only an MCTS, but also a Small Business Specialist designation. Both of those achievements will immediately give those young people value to potential solution provider employers like me who focus on the SMB segment.
When the video above was played during the ARC awards dinner on the final evening of XChange’09, I was literally moved to tears. Seeing those kids so eager to learn and hungry for knowledge took me back to when I first started my IT career, and it made me remember how thankful I was and still am to all the people who first believed in me and gave me an opportunity in the industry, within which I’ve thrived for the last 15 years.
I truly believe that if the IT industry is to improve as a whole, it will come from mentoring programs like Channel@Work and others like it convincing young people that an IT career is one that can offer them the kind of fulfilling, rewarding life’s work that we all hope to find, and giving them the initial opportunity to find success.
1 thru 11 – The Career Express Tour, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC, Philadelphia PA, Cincinnati OH, Indianapolis IN, St. Louis MO, Kansas City KS, Denver CO, Santa Fe NM, Phoenix AZ, Las Vegas NV, Los Angeles CA
13 thru 16 – Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, New Orleans LA (click to register)
17–20 – CMP XChange ‘09, Washington DC (tentative)
2 thru 4 – SMB Nation, Las Vegas NV (tentative)
You know what really rocks tho? A new service call TripIt. Besides helping me track all my travel info in one super easy-to-use spot, TripIt also shows me which of the people I’m linked to will be nearby at the same time. Social networking for travel, which rocks! If nothing else, it helps cut down immensely on all the “You gonna be there? I dunno, YOU gonna be there?” back-and-forth that typically happens in the back channel around events.
MS Learning picked me as one of the six winners of a free trip to Tech-Ed 2009! Not only that, but I’m taking the road trip option. That’s right…cross-country via bus. Atlanta to L.A. in 11 days, with tons of stops in-between.
Here’s the current itinerary for the Career Express tour, straight from MS Learning’s kickass Born to Learn blog…
“Bring a Friend” Night at LANTech Training, Indianapolis, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Bring a friend interested in starting a career in IT, and you both might win a TechNet Plus subscription (and your friend might win a laptop, too!)
Wednesday, May 6th: Indianapolis, IN to Kansas City, MO
That’s a whole heaping lot of places where you can come get your learn on with us. We’ll be delivering technical intros and overview, career talks, and all kinds of stuff that’ll be so amazing, you’ll think you were stealing something. So if you’re within striking distance, I hope that you’ll come say “Heya” at one of our stops!
All that’s really just the start. The Career Express will also be at Tech-Ed 2009 with an “Are You Certifiable” booth where folks can play live rounds of the game for prizes. More details on all that later.
And you can bet I’ll be documenting the whole trip, right here at the Funcave. So stay tuned.