#VMware‘s Center of Advanced Learning (#VMwareCAL): We did it … and it was quite an interesting ride

Almost two weeks are over and I am back at the SFO airport. I have written about my expectation of VMware’s center of advanced learning and it is about time to wrap things up.

First of all. Congratulations to Yves Sandfort & Jens Hennig and therefore the whole comdivision for being involved in multiple post-cal awards e.g. as a top-scorer on the class besides Mr. triple VCDX Safouh Kharrat & Rachit Srivastava more about that later).

Besides that Yves’ team an our team were awarded with the best final presentation based on a case study and a customer C-level sales pitch simulation.


What was it all about? All participants have proven upfront that they understand VMware’s technology. Does that make you a good architect?

Not at all ….. Being an architect is about mapping the technology to a business need. Having an MSc. In Information Systems this is nothing new to me. But even if you know that, I have realized that once in a while I am too focused on technology and forget to step a little back and think about the business.

Especially the first days were putting a lot of focus on that. What is the role of an enterprise architect. How can VMware solution be used to solve business problems.

######## Concept of Center of Advanced learning

Every participant has been put into a team. The team has been build based on the skillset, so that every team should have an automation, EUC, SDDC specialist.

You get a case study upfront, on which you will work on through the entire two weeks. At the end of the CAL class you present a proper VMware solution in a C-level pitch simulation. The whole concept is based on being a stressful simulation. Presentations & Interactive tasks from 08:00 AM to 5PM, a knowledge test in form of a quiz afterwards & team deliverables for this specific evening. Besides that we were getting scores for everything and it required 70 out of 100 points to pass the center of advanced learning.

–> Sound like a lot of stuff to do, correct? It has been … but we as a team

Elina, Selva, Joe and myself …….

… have been able to set ourselves up in a way, that were able to solve the tasks and problems properly …. while having fun [and win the whole thing]….

I am very proud how we as a team transformed in this short amount of time….

Let’s get to the positive & negative things of CAL.

#### Positive

  • Thinking like an enterprise architect is the most important thing. Keep the customer’s business needs in scope is so important and easy to miss due to the technological overflow we are experiencing every day.
  • Working together as a team that has origins from 4 countries (USA, Kazakhstan, India & Germany) was a great experience.
  • Getting out of your comfort zone all of the time.
  • Networking with very smart people & Learn from their experience.
  • Improve your presentation skills. We had a complete day about presentation skills by mandel communications which was really good. Not all methodologies trained here might be useful for my personal way telling a story – but overall I learned a lot to become an even more enthusiastic story teller.

#### Negative

  • I arrived Sunday night and were jet-lagged during the whole first week. Every night I was awake at 4AM which was quite difficult since especially the first days been long.
  • The room we had during the whole week had now windows at all. Kind of a breaker if you have a jetlag.
  • The scenarios and situation we were put in was quite stressful. I have known such scenarios from my management classes during university. So I knew that we should not get stressed too much on the ‘workload’. But as I have realized others were taken these tasks quite serious.
    I would have preferred to have less work-consuming tasks in the evening and instead spent more ‘good’ times with our fellows instead. In certain tasks & quizzes I did not really see that I have benefitted personally from that. That time could have been spend more efficient.
  • The scope of the class-presentations was kind of mixed. Some presenters were starting with basics of certain technologies, even though we had certain prerequisites. At the moment things got deep and interesting the time was already over.

Summarizing all of it, it was a good experience. Not just that we had a great road trip with Yves & Jens to Reno, I realized that as an architect I can compete with other brilliant people in our field and learned the one or other thing for our future projects.

### Outtakes

During the week we did a good transition from being overwhelmed by the amount of work to seeing things quite relaxed and work on the problematic areas in an efficient and good-feeling way.

### Working on Sundays & Applying new skills

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