I decided to find sometime before the end of the year and about a month before closing the application submission period for the vExpert program for 2022, and write this blog post about this amazing program which is all about knowledge sharing and giving back to the greater vCommunity, which is the community formed by other passionate VMware professionals just like yourself.

In this blog post I will try to share my experience in becoming a proud vExpert and what are the awesome advantages I gained in my career by becoming one. I will also share some tips and recommendations that might help you while you are filing your application.

What’s a vExpert?

VMware vExpert program is a community driven program and it is all about sharing VMware knowledge openly with anyone globally by means of different channels such as blogging, public speaking in events like VMUG (VMware User Groups) or other events where you can advocate for VMware and your passion for VMware technology. So yes, it is an advocacy program but it has no commercial targets neither driven by any sales or marketing entities from VMware. Any IT professional over the global who is in touch with VMware technology and would like to share experience and be part of this amazing program is always welcome, and the rewards and benefits of being part of vExpert are endless. Being accepted as part of the VMware vExpert program is one of VMware’s ways of saying “thank you” to these individuals.

How being a vExpert boosted my career

When I joined the vExpert program I found myself part of vExpert community network (Slack and mailing DL) and I was surprised to actually meet customers and partners who I was working with them already on different projects, and while being part of vExpert I started meeting them in different vExpert exclusive events and this lead to a major step forward on my working relationship with those people, so my professional network has just grew exponentially.

In addition to the power of the vExpert network, as a vExpert you get free access to free VMware licenses for your home lab which are valid for 365-days (the time of your vExpert validity as well). This helped me expand my home lab independently of any other shared lab environment I was using to actually write my blog posts which I used to apply for the vExpert program. Once I got my own vExpert licenses (which covers most of the VMware products) I was able to build and learn more about VMware products which I was interested in, such as Tanzu and NSX Advanced load balancer. Having the time to build those labs using vExpert licenses has elevated my level of knowledge and was able to engage more in architectural and design discussions with my customers and eventually I was able to give them clearer and faster advice, which resulted in amazing feedback on my work.

As a vExpert you also get entitled to receive gifts from VMware partners to help build and/or expand your home lab, this in addition to exclusive access to private webinars featuring the latest VMware technology and that of VMware partners. In addition, as a vExpert you have exclusive access to events and parties which are organised during VMware Explore which are only for the vExpert community members.

Lessons I learned from being a vExpert

One of the main lessons I learned during my journey in becoming a vExpert is time management and that you do not have the time, you actually MAKE time for whatever priorities  you have. Having busy personal and business live had faced me with a challenge of making the time to sit down, learn, develop my technical skills, build my home lab and share the knowledge I gained through my blog which entitled me to the vExpert program.

Another positive effect of being part of the vExpert community, is that now I much more eager to speak and participate in different events which are either organised by the vExpert community or my local VMUG. This also boosted my exposure within the VMware professionals network and I learned how to give back to the bigger global vExpert community.

The power of the vCommunity

The vExpert is a community driven appreciation program, which means you do not need to pass an exam to be member of that community. What you need to do is to show your passion for VMware technology by sharing it with the wider vCommunity and keep doing it. This results in an amazing community of global professionals who all have one thing in common, which is passion for knowledge and giving back and supporting each other. It is very common to see questions being asked and dozens of other vExperts just jump in and share different ideas and answers which help you definitely move further.

A part from the technology support and knowledge sharing, the vExpert community built a sense of belonging within its members, resulting in networking events which is actually meant to strengthen the human connections between the individuals aside from work. For example, local vExpert get together BBQ, or vBeers and many other non-technology related meet ups. personally I made couple of new friends by joining couple of those local events and getting to speak to people about general life subjects.

How to apply for the vExpert Program

The vExpert program is based on an application which is open now the whole year so that you can fill out your application at anytime to keep track of all your activities throughout the year and submit once submissions are open. Once submissions are closed,  the reviewers committee will revise your application and either accept or decline it. Currently, the application for the 2023 vExpert program is open and will close on the 13th of January 2023 and you can apply via (https://vexpert.vmware.com/apply).

vExpert sub-programs 

If you contribute heavily in one specific field, you can also apply for one of the vExpert subprograms which are listed below:

  • vExpert Application Modernization
  • vExpert Avi
  • vExpert Cloud Management
  • vExpert Cloud Provider
  • vExpert Desktop Hypervisor
  • vExpert EUC
  • vExpert HCX
  • vExpert NSX
  • vExpert Security
  • vExpert VMware Cloud on AWS
  • vExpert PRO

The above sub-programs entitle you access to specials sub-communities (private slack channels and vExpert pages) with other subject matter experts such as yourself. In order to apply for one or more of the above vExpert sub-programs you need first to be admitted in the main vExpert program. The application to apply for the sub-programs opens after the results of the vExpert main program are announced.

Criteria for joining the vExpert program

If you are interested in becoming a vExpert the criteria is simple. You need to show that you are an IT Professionals who is sharing VMware knowledge and contribute that back to the community. The term “giving back” is defined as going above and beyond your day job. There are several ways to share your knowledge and engage with the community. Some of those activities are blogging, book authoring, magazine articles, , active in Facebook groups, forum (VMTN as well as other non VMware) platforms, public speaking, VMUG leadership, videos and so on. VMware Social Media Advocacy does not count towards the award since this is not original content. 

vExpert Program Benefits

  • Network with over 2,000 other vExperts
  • Opportunity to apply for 10 Official VMware Business Unit lead vExpert sub programs.
  • Invite to our private vExpert #Slack channel
  • Opportunity to apply for 10 product BU led vExpert sub-programs
  • vExpert certificate signed by VMware CEO
  • Permission to use the vExpert logo on cards, website, etc. for one year
  • Exclusive gifts from various VMware partners
  • Private webinars with VMware partners as well as NFRs
  • Access to private betas (subject to admission by beta teams)
  • 365-day eval licenses for most products for home lab
  • Private pre-launch briefings via our blogger briefing pre-VMware Explore (subject to admission by product teams)
  • Featured in a public vExpert online directory
  • Access to vetted VMware & Virtualization content for your social channels
  • Yearly vExpert parties at both VMware Explore U.S. Europe events or Gifts for attending vExperts.

Hop you have found this blog useful and motivating to join our amazing vExpert community. To stay updated about all the vExpert announcements and updates make sure to follow our Twitter handle (@vExpert).