v2g: Moving From VMware To Google Cloud


In October 2019, after almost four years as a VMware pre-sales technical engineer, I left and found a position as a Customer Engineer at Google Cloud. I left for mostly personal reasons, and still regard my team, management, and executive leadership in a very positive light. I just needed to make a change. Doing the same job at Google Cloud has been a big change. Though there have been ups and downs, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I’d like to deliver on my promises to blog more on what I’m learning, but no promises!


First things first, why did I leave VMware? It was a combination of personal reasons, including the passing of my father, that came crashing together with unfortunate timing. I decided I needed to make a professional change despite having great relationships with my manager, peers, sales rep, extended team, and even my skip (director).

Almost ten years earlier, I’d set my sites on an SE position at VMware as my dream position. I could potentially have found a home in that position for many more years, but decided the best thing for me was to leave. I knew I’d miss my colleagues and the customers I’d build relationships with. Regardless, I moved forward.

The Google Interview Process

The Google Cloud recruiting team was who called me back. To be honest, I’d had a big blind spot when it came to Google Cloud in the Enterprise. To their credit, they knew they weren’t the market leader. Every person I asked throughout the process had no illusions about Google Cloud’s market position, but felt that the company had some key differentiators. They felt that the product and engineering was so good that the path to success was only dependent on getting enough high quality sales and technical sales teams up to speed; They felt that covering key customers fast was going to be critical.

After passing an HR phone screen, the process was fairly intense with 4 hours of on-site interviews to get approved as “eligible to hire,” by a hiring committee. That was followed by a matching process, with the managers who had open spots reviewing the interview output and possibly doing an additional qualification interview. If the manager wanted me, then the recruiter negotiated on my behalf with a separate compensation committee for an offer. It’s a fascinating process which is apparently well known in the software engineering industry, where people routinely investigate working at Google; I’d never heard anything about it, though. I had to seriously weigh what seemed like big factors at the time: Working from a Google office when not meeting customers and using Google’s office and productivity tools instead of the ones I’d grown used to at VMware. Leaving VMware’s Single Sign-On solution felt especially difficult, but ultimately those were just tools. The big change would be commuting to an office most days.

About halfway through the process, I remembered that I knew people who worked at Google, though not necessarily where I was targeting. They confirmed that the days of brain-teasers were far in the past. There were a pretty structured series of three or four interviews detailed at the How We Hire page (if you care). Topics covered included General Cognitive Ability (“learn how you approach and solve problems. And there’s no one right answer—your ability to explain your thought process and how you use data to inform decisions is what’s most important”), Role-Related Knowledge (“how your individual strengths combine with your experience […] how you can grow into different roles—including ones that haven’t even been invented yet”), Leadership (“how you have used your communication and decision-making skills to mobilize others”), and Googleyness (“how you work individually and on a team, how you help others, how you navigate ambiguity, and how you push yourself to grow outside of your comfort zone”). It’s actually all there on the web site, and now that I’m on the inside, it all seems very clear. Looking back, though, it seemed a bit mysterious.

Well, I passed the on-site interviews and was qualified to be hired. A manager from the San Francisco office wanted to interview me for an open position. My wife and I had had a serious, on-going discussion about the lifestyle change involved in me working in an office, but the overall opportunity seemed too exciting to turn down. Soon, I found myself restlessly tossing and turning the night before my first day at Google.

I had the standard first-day-of-school nightmares, but managed to catch a ride (and a selfie) on the Google Bus the next morning.

Up Next, Onboarding and the Early Rush

UX/Design Team at VMware is Hiring

I’ve been watching several internal programs, non-product demos, and ideas-stage discussions on design at VMware for the past few years. Just recently, I noticed that we’re in the middle of a big hiring push for the UX/Design team, so I thought I put up a couple resources for those interested in exploring that career path.

First, here’s my list of open UX/Design positions:

And just as a reminder I maintain more lists of open VMware positions by type and recruitment campaigns:

Next, here’s an interview with Jehad Affoneh and Anna Marie Panlilio of the UX/Design team back in June of 2018. The spoke about their philosophy of design, how they conduct end-user research into the design process, and some ideas on the future direction of VMware product design. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at the recording session, but fortunately, there’s a recording!

It was interesting to hear they’re doing NDA design sessions at VMworld. I checked and they’re almost all full. If you can sign the agreement and sign up, it would be interesting to see that information-gathering first-hand.

Also, here’s the design site they mentioned, and their design blog. If you’re interested in applying and are looking for some background on what they do and why, it’s worth a read.
VMware Design Blog on Medium

Oh and you might want to check out one of their public projects, the Clarity System.

Clarity on Github

Clarity Design System Training video (in a VMware Clarity YouTube Playlist):

VMware Career Saturday 2017 Week 19

This week in VMware job listings, I’ve changed formats slightly. I dropped market segment [EDIT: and seniority or role type] as that was taking a bunch of time to generate. I managed to automate things enough to post a refreshed version of every job category I’m monitoring: SE, Sales, Consulting, and TAM in the US/Canada and EMEA. Each of those has it’s own page with it’s weekly, refreshed, complete listing. In this post, I’m going to highlight the new jobs posted in each section. Those listings are in the single digits, so I’m not going to bother having them in a table with a sort/filter function. Continue reading VMware Career Saturday 2017 Week 19

VMware Career Saturday 2017 Week 18

UPDATE 2017-05-13: I’ve added individual pages (wherever my navigation currently has menu structure, currently on the left) with a weekly refreshed, complete listing of all listed positions for SEs, Sales, TAMs, and Consultants in both USA/Canada and EMEA. Those tables will have filters and sortability. My weekly posts will have new listings without the complexity of sorts and filters.

This is my weekly Saturday update of new open positions at VMware. I’m hoping this helps anyone looking to start a VMware Career! There were no new Field Sales and TAM positions posted in the US, and only a single SE and two Consulting positions posted. At readers requests, I added the listings for EMEA sales, EMEA SEs, EMEA consulting, and EMEA TAMs. I must not know anyone in Canada, LATAM, APAC, or ANZ. There’s some Bay area local positions I want to highlight and a note about what the open position on Advisory Services is all about. Continue reading VMware Career Saturday 2017 Week 18

Thoughts on VMware Certification and Education

Last week, I appeared as a guest-host on Episode 386 of the VMware Communities Podcast [TalkShoe | iTunes | PlayerFM]. It’s something I hope to do on a fairly regular basis, time permitting. We had a great discussion with Karl Childs, the Senior Manager – Certification Development on the topic of the VMware certification program. We talked for an hour about the state of VMware Certification landscape. I wanted to summarize my thoughts on the conversation and write about some follow-ups I did. Continue reading Thoughts on VMware Certification and Education

VMware Career Saturday 2017 Week 17

UPDATE 2017-05-13: I’ve added individual pages (wherever my navigation currently has menu structure, currently on the left) with a weekly refreshed, complete listing of all listed positions for SEs, Sales, TAMs, and Consultants in both USA/Canada and EMEA. Those tables will have filters and sortability. My weekly posts will have new listings without the complexity of sorts and filters.

After receiving a lot of interest last week from my previous post on open jobs at VMware, I wanted to put up an update on Field Sales and Systems Engineering positions. I shouldn’t be surprised that there were 6 new requisitions posted, more than one per work-day. VMware is increasing the size and reach of it’s sales and systems engineering force on a pretty consistent basis. I don’t know if I can keep up a weekly cadence, but I’ll try as long as there’s interest in starting a VMware career.

In addition, I got asked about asked about implementation and other post-sales positions at the company, so I’ve included those. There are two kinds of positions I’ve listed here, Consultants and Technical Account Managers. If you want to see everything that was open for Field Sales and SEs as of last week, check out last week’s post. This is only the new SE and Field Sales jobs. As always, you can head to VMware’s recruiting site at Rolepoint and conduct your own searches. I’m watching the “United States” as a location and four types of positions: “Sales-Field Sales“, “Sales-Systems Engineering“, “Services and Consulting-Consulting“, and “Services and Consulting-Technical Account Management“.

Continue reading VMware Career Saturday 2017 Week 17

Jobs at VMware Sales/SE Saturday

UPDATE 2017-05-13: I’ve added individual pages (wherever my navigation currently has menu structure, currently on the left) with a weekly refreshed, complete listing of all listed positions for SEs, Sales, TAMs, and Consultants in both USA/Canada and EMEA. Those tables will have filters and sortability. My weekly posts will have new listings without the complexity of sorts and filters.

UPDATE 2017-04-29: I’ve got a new post with the newly posted jobs as of April 29th, 2017 (2017, week 17) here. In that post, I’ve included new SE and Field Sales jobs as well as post-sales jobs in the Consulting and Technical Account Management categories.

I’ve been tracking open jobs at VMware in enough areas for enough people that I decided to put up my findings for other people to search. Of course, you can head to VMware’s recruiting site at Rolepoint and slice and dice searches on your own. I’m watching the “United States” as a location and two types of positions, 38 in “Sales-Field Sales” and 41 in “Sales-Systems Engineering“.

One area that I haven’t had good luck in organizing for content is on the software development side. There are currently 130 open software engineering jobs at VMware (in the US) which doesn’t seem like a large data set to organize, but the question is how. For the Network and Security Business Unit, previous experience with network stacks is a constant theme. However, some specialties don’t sort that way (UX design, for example). Sorting by languages and tools doesn’t seem like a good idea, though an anlysis of what’s being used by Business Unit might be a separate, interesting task. At any rate, if you’re looking for a software development position at VMware, head to the recruiting site and choose “Engineering and Technology-Software Engineering” from the department drop-down.

Regardless of the type of role you’re looking for, I’m happy to chat about my understanding of the job roles and team structures, eyeball a resume for format and impact, and chat about what it’s like to work at VMware. I’m including a contact form at the bottom if you’d like to get in touch with me. And of course, I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Continue reading Jobs at VMware Sales/SE Saturday

VMware 2016 – Another Job Change

fireworks photoWell, it’s happened again. I wasn’t looking to make a job change, but an opportunity I couldn’t turn down found me. In November 2015, I joined VMware’s San Francisco Bay Area Enterprise Systems Engineering team.

My previous role had me educating solution providers on the VMware software portfolio as well as teaching partner Systems Engineers about pre-sales systems engineering for their customers. I now find myself working for VMware directly as a Systems Engineer, assigned to cover a group of Enterprise level named accounts. My fiancée and I moved from Southern California to the Bay Area for me to take this job. An upheaval (and a risk!), but also an amazing opportunity to work directly for one of the most innovative and disruptive software companies around.

What does that mean for my writing? Well, I pretty much fell on my face when it came to maintaining a regular cadence during my time in the distribution channel. I’m going to try my best to do better now. There’s certainly a different emphasis within the portfolio for enterprise customers. Hopefully I can provide insight into the solutions engineering process from the inside.

Some things you probably won’t see from me:

  • Product speculation; Even with limited insider knowledge, this seems inappropriate.
  • Competitor bashing
  • Customer information; Maybe it goes without saying, but I’ll have to generalize my lessons learned.

Things I’ll try to add to the topic list:

  • Career advice that I’m finding helpful
  • Industry news that I’m finding relevant and impactful
  • Products I’m discovering within the portfolio

So thanks to anyone who’s found my writing useful so far. If there’s anything you’d like to see my thoughts on, please ask away!