I explained how I got involved with the vCommunity here. Around that time (mid-2015) I started hearing about the term "vExpert". Lots of the people putting out cool blogs or tweeting good stuff had that designation in their twitter profiles.
It sounded uber cool. Is it a certification? I investigated a bit and turns out it's not a technical certification, but a "badge of honor", i.e., an award, bestowed upon those that devote their time into expanding and enriching this vCommunity. That's cool!
I looked at the then current list of 2015 vExperts and I was really mad there wasn't a single "Sanchez" in the vExpert list.
Why was I mad? Sanchez is a really common last name in Spain and Latin America. It's like being called John in the US - we're everywhere. And in this long list of people all over the world there wasn't a single Sanchez.
So - only one way to fix that - I got to work. What did I need to do to be a vExpert? The post said "a “vExpert” is not a technical certification or even a general measure of VMware expertise. The judges selected people who were particularly engaged with their community and who had developed a substantial personal platform of influence in those communities." Ok. Mmm - so what exactly is it?
I hope my tale will help you if you decide to apply. I recommend this excellent post by Dan McGee which inspired me into thinking anything was possible.
I reached out to the friends I had made in twitter and current vExperts and sought advice. I told them I participated in VMUGs, in vBrownBag, had my modest blogs, and was generally engaged in the twitter vCommunity. A friend told me that was probably good enough, and the fact that I participate in two regions and two languages may also help - but there's no way of knowing until I tried.
vExpert nominations are open at certain times of the year. You really want to monitor the blog posts by the vExpert community manager, Corey Romero. Here is a link that shows anything he publishes:
Once the 2015 applications opened I clicked the link and studied the application. Considering there's a lot of vExperts already and there's a lot of information required I had to try to make this easy to read and verify, but I definitely needed to "toot my own horn" if I wanted a chance at this.
I don't have the first application's full text but I tried to put everything in my website so the person reviewing could just click on everything. I left anything that could be linked ready. Before I did subsequent changes to this page, I printed it out in PDF - you can review it here. My company's SE also allowed me to put him as a reference since he knew my involvement internally in my company very well from our weekly calls.
I recommend, if you are applying for the first time:
Show proactive involvement with the vCommunity (quoting from the 2015-2H announcement: "Contributing is not always blogging or Twitter as there are many public speakers, book authors, script writers, VMUG leaders, VMTN community moderators and internal champions"
Note the different paths in the application. You might not have public facing proof but be a rockstar within your company and there's a path for that
Make it easy for the reviewers. don't just say I blog and tweet. Send links, examples, videos, etc - these people go through hundreds of these
Always be yourself. The only reason to be a vExpert is so you can have more help doing what you are already doing. Earning vExpert has to come from a desire to promote VMware use and helping others :)
After I applied I waited - and a good friend notified me through twitter that I had been selected! Yes! Finally a "Sanchez" in the list! This was really cool. There's a good amount of VMware related perks in being given the designation, although I haven't taken much advantage of them from being so busy with work... Nonetheless, I am very proud of this.
2016 applications came and all vExperts had to submit again. This time I did make a copy of my application (the free text part) and it's here for you to check and maybe use as a comparison point when you do your own submission. Having been granted the designation once was already a huge honor, and I got it again for 2016!
I will continue blogging, tweeting, presenting on vBrownBag and helping others as much as I can. That's what it's really about - helping others who also are excited to work with VMware tech.
Some of the friends I was cheering for made it as well, which is great, because they are excellent and are really putting a lot of effort. I hope I can help more people achieve vExpert if they want to pursue it.
I'm overall happy with this past 2016. I've really increased the quality of my interactions and have made new friends without losing the old, and taken far more responsibility than I originally planned, but it came organically and not forced. I really appreciate my wife's and my colleague's time and commitment - this is not possible alone!
You can see my fast-track application contents here