How to keep current in IT while living in the Midwest by @jbcompvm

This guest post is by James Brown who blogs at, where you can find his back catalogue of posts. Find out more about the guest blogger program here.

Good morning, afternoon, and evening to all the blog readers.

I was challenged by Eric Wright and the #vDM team to do two things. First was to write 30 blogs in 30 days. This seems to be working out, The second was to step up even further and be a guest blogger for #vBrownBag. We will see if I am asked to do it again.


So with the explanation out of the way, here we go.

The above introduction was more than just an explanation. In January of 2014, I decided it was time for me to start getting my name out there to maybe move up into a better career.  So I started a blog, updated my Linked-in, and started a Twitter account. The community I found on twitter was overwhelming.  One of the first people I followed on Twitter was Bryon Schaller.  He had just been accepted to participate in the #VirtualDesignMaster program.  So I started watching and following. I became more and more interested in the VCDX program and becoming a Virtual Architect.  From there I have gather 132 twitter followers.  I have followed 318 people/vendors.

So getting back to the topic.

I live here:


Yes the middle of nowhere. Cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City are three or more hours away from my location.  So I need a way to keep involved and up to date.

I follow many main line/printed publication.

The main stream of my knowledge has comes from my newly found Virtual Community.  Within this community there is never a dull moment.  From Chris Wahl using SpongeBob slides to Jason Nash and his lucrative Cigar collection.

I work for a small company that only has 43 employees.  There is a very limited budget for training and conferences.  So I have to make do with what I have.

We have a 30MB fiber connection to a local ISP that feed directly into Level 3.  So I have the ability to stream live events, YouTube videos, and other social media streams.  Without the internet and the online connections that I have made, I would stay hopelessly trapped in a System Administrator position forever.  In a previous blog post, I explained that I my next logical job move would be into an Architect position.  You can read that blog post here.  I am still on the lookout for that opportunity.

Sean Massey and myself are talking about doing a podcast about IT in the middle of nowhere.  Ok not quiet nowhere, but far way from any big metropolis.  Only time will tell.

I owe this virtual community all of my respect.  Without their support I would not have been able to achieve my VCAP-DCD.  Everyday I try and give something back, even if it is from the middle of nowhere.

I am currently pursuing the VCAP-DCA and the VCDX. I hope to achieve them before the end of 2015.  Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading.

One thought on “How to keep current in IT while living in the Midwest by @jbcompvm”

  • It is good to hear your story and congrats! I too, am in awe of this great community –Mr. Nash & Mr. Wahl are a tough act to follow — Mr Wright show is fantastic also. There are too many names to mention in this community! I love this community! Even though I tend to sit on the sidelines and just listen. We are inspired by your story, Good stuff! 🙂 Wish I was as articulate and had the discipline to write. Thanks for sharing, good luck and best wishes on your journey to VCDX! Awesome!

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