Samuel LEGRAND wrote a post about how you become a Citrix Technology Professional and how the goal never should be becoming one, but rather giving back to the community and Citrix. I can’t write as well as Samuel, and his description of the process if flawless – which leaves me wondering what I can write about my process?
I’ve been thinking about it and maybe what may interest others is how I got to a place where I applied to become a CTP. I’m going to try and keep this concise while still (I hope) keeping it interesting.
How did I get in contact with Citrix?
“Once upon a time”… I was about 13 when I started understanding computers, and for some reason I started looking at Linux. It began slowly and I knew a lot about it when I was 16 and upper secondary high school began – where I met a teacher who shared my passion for Linux and documentation. We created a central directory by hand (LDAP), home shares that was mapped to users logging in to all computers and firewalls complete with documentation, which was used in the classes to teach Linux and networking. I had a few older computers at home which I used for storage, firewall and applications. These were old and I think I got my father to buy a server from the local IT firm in my town and I took all these older computers and virtualized them with Xen. Fast forward a few years and lots of knowledge later, I hear from a family friend that a company called Xenit has been created, which catches my attention and after looking at their website which offers a free trial of XenServer – which is what I’ve been using for a few years – but without all the nice GUI. I start using XenServer instead of Xen and I think this is the first time I get in contact with Citrix for real.
The beginning of my career
I applied for a job at the company when I was 19, and at the time there were only the two owners of the company (and still my mentors). They started the company to become the best Citrix consultants in Sweden, and I started working there a few months after the company was created. They told me that they didn’t know if they would have anything for me to do, but they wanted to see if I could learn other technologies than Linux and XenServer. I’m going to skip a lot of stuff here, but one thing I remember was being tested on setting up Microsoft AD and Citrix XenApp and publishing Notepad. I had never installed a Windows Server before and didn’t know anything about Microsoft AD (didn’t know it was built on LDAP at that time). I setup my domain and my XenApp server, but was never able to get the user account I created in my domain to work on the XenApp server – until I installed the Domain Controller role on the XenApp server. Worked great, but my manager told me it’s completely wrong to do it this way, but I did pass the test since he could launch Notepad.
How did I get good at what I’m doing?
I’ve worked with most Citrix products since then. It began with writing backup scripts in bash for XenServer, troubleshooting Secure Gateway and Access Gateway Enterprise Edition. I did it all and I spent a lot of my time at work learning from my co-workers and most of my personal time reading, doing labs and just trying to get better. I think I didn’t do much other than Citrix for the first couple of years at the company, and spending time on something you love will most of the time make you good at it. I took all the Citrix certifications, updated them when they expired and got larger and larger projects to work in, and in the last couple of years I’ve been certified in project management. I started feeling that I knew most of the technical parts of the work, and learned what I needed fast, which forced me to start looking at more technical challenges. I got in contact with a product manager for NetScaler and started beta testing builds, giving feedback on features and trying to keep in touch and keep my technical knowledge sharp. I was invited to Fort Lauderdale to help write an exam for NetScaler (CCP-N) and kept up the work. I wrote technical blogs about NetScaler, networking and everything I love about IT, tried to help on the forums, Reddit and where else I could. After doing this for a few years and meeting another Citrix employee in Sweden on something called “NetScaler Exclusive Club,” where I was inspired to take a deeper consideration of what CTP actually was – and I think I applied to become one a few weeks after being inspired by her.
What will I do now?
The easy part is over, now I need to get good for real. And as a newbie, I’ve got the best people in the world giving me feedback, inspiring me and making sure I’m worth this title. The hard part will be staying a CTP and I think it’s going to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. I hope to be able to write more deeply technical blog posts about how great Citrix products are, how we can use them together with Microsoft and their products and Cloud. I hope to do as many presentations as possible about areas I have passion for and helping/being helped by my fellow CTPs and the community to make sure everyone knows how awesome Citrix is and how fun we have using, testing, working and implementing their products.
This got longer than I expected, but I do hope to inspire more people to work harder and become better at what they love. That’s something I try to do as much as possible at work and maybe I’ll be able to do it with a larger crowd now when having the honor of being a CTP.