Today is CTP and CTA announcement day – but what makes I.T. community so special?
I’ve been pretty active in the I.T. community for about eight years now, ever since I decided to stop spending so much time in hotel bars and concentrate on blogging instead. And I must admit, it’s been a very enjoyable experience.
My old dad can’t get his head around the concept that “I.T. community” represents. He always seems astounded that anyone would, for no direct reward, voluntarily share their knowledge and make it available for the rest of the world as a reference point. Surely it’s better to get paid for your knowledge, rather than to disseminate it on a public platform?
That’s never been how it’s worked in the I.T. industry, though, for at least as long as I can remember. I’m not long enough in the tooth to remember bulletin boards or IRC channels being widely used, but I can recall joining the NT SysAdmin mailing list (a forum that is sorely missed!) back in about 2002, and being fascinated that so much expertise was simply “on-tap”. Interacting with and learning from your peers was absolutely priceless, for me as a twenty-something young thruster keen to pick up new skills.
As is the case, you move on from asking questions to answering them, and start to realize what an important tool it is for anyone to be able to dip into the community. In a world where we’re all expected to be experts in everything almost at the drop of a hat, being able to call on the advice of broad peer groups is invaluable. I’ve lost track of the amount of problems I’ve solved due to reading blogs, watching videos, or simply contacting people with experience that I’ve been lacking in. The discussions on forums or within collaboration tools often go much further beyond the documentation and best practices available from vendors, exploring true real-world scenarios and offering priceless advice that can avoid huge amounts of unnecessary pain. Add to this community events – of which there are still some great ones, but some that have sadly faded away – you start learning even more, as you interact with and listen to your peer groups on a much more personal level.
And the vendors have (in some cases slowly, to be fair) realized that tapping into community, and encouraging it, is a great way to develop their products and extend their reach. Developers can often be very blinkered, focusing on changes that only benefit their own narrow view of how their products should be used, instead of seeking out real-world applications of their solutions to shape the future development. Many vendors have set up community programs to embrace this – Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, Parallels and Nutanix are some of the ones that you may be familiar with from the EUC space.
Of course, the Twitter cynics out there may just see a way for marketing to get additional exposure for free, but this isn’t necessarily the case, if the vendor really embraces the spirit of the community. I will admit, I have noticed “community awards” going out in some cases where they just seem to be handed out to partners in order to grease sales volume, but in the main, community seems, for the most part, to be used for good. Indeed, FSLogix were probably the poster boy company for community engagement – creating a buzz, getting the conversation going, and penetrating far enough into the community blogosphere to the extent where you can’t talk about anything EUC-related without some mention of their product suite cropping up.
I’ve been a member of the Citrix Technology Professional program for two years now (and a Citrix Technology Advocate for a year prior to that), and as you’ve probably seen from their blog posts, today is renewals day, and I’m proud to be a member of it for a third year. I think (and I’m not kissing ass here, this is my honest opinion) that the CTP/CTA programs are some of the best community initiatives out there, backed by the wider MyCUGC organization. The people who are brought into it are always judged on their community contributions, and they represent a broad church of experience right across the Citrix stack. It’s interesting that people think being a CTP or CTA represents a specific level of technical excellence, but it is not really that. There are, obviously, many members of the program who are technically brilliant across the various Citrix products (and some of them, amazingly, across all of the suite), but the common denominator is their contributions to the technical community, rather than an arbitrary level of experience or knowledge. The contributions they make comprise well-known things like blogs, articles, videos, webinars, books, speaking engagements, tools, utilities – but there are also other, lesser-known artifacts such as the organization of events and MyCUGC meetings, testing Citrix exams, working with product teams on defects or new features, checking the accuracy of Citrix online documentation, and many other tasks that feed into the community that we’re probably not aware of. Every aspect of the “Citrix community” is driven by these people, and they do, in my opinion, very much deserve the recognition.
For 2020, there are 64 CTPs and 68 CTAs, and I’ve done a quick rundown on the new additions to the CTP program below. We have six new additions to CTP, with a very European flavour to them – two from Denmark, two from the Netherlands (no surprises there), and two from the UK as well (good news for my beer reserves). I’ve asked each of them what being made a member of the CTP program means to them.
Leee is a familiar name to everyone who has used his PowerScale project, which is a community replacement for Citrix’s SmartScale. He’s also cropped up a lot presenting at UK CUG meetings and sharing his knowledge.
“I’m an IT Professional specialized in Citrix Technologies (CCV-E, CCP-N, Login VSI Technology Advocate). I write a blogs to share my experiences designing, deploying and troubleshooting technologies within the IT Industry. My main focus is in end-user computing, but I also works in other areas of IT covering hardware, software, project management and IT processes.
“Being a CTP means I get to share my knowledge with others on a wider stage, engage with the community and help others solve their technical problems. I see myself being part of a team and working together to address concerns and issues of the wider Citrix community. I’m looking forward to bringing what I can to the CTP team.”
Guy is another familiar face from presenting at CUGC events and E2E, as well as being a PowerShell junkie, author of many helpful scripts and purveyor of terrible puns.
“One thing I do remember after over 25 years of working in the Citrix EUC world is that I will forget things. To that end I tweet useful tidbits of relevant technical information, usually daily, and the odd Dad joke or three. Initially this was just to help me so I could use Twitter as a searchable, online knowledge base and then I realised it can help others too. In addition, my background is as a software developer so I also enjoy writing scripts, mostly in PowerShell, to troubleshoot, fix and automate many things which I then share with the community via GitHub and blog posts. Having now been recognised by Citrix for these contributions to the community, a community I love being a member of and gaining knowledge, and friends, from myself, by being awarded the CTP title, is truly an honour and proves that age is not a barrier (I am a young 53).”
Mads isn’t a cyclist (that’s Mads Pedersen), but a Citrix networking guru who you’re far more likely to have heard of, and who seems to know way too much about Citrix ADC than is healthy 🙂
“I am a Solution Architect from Denmark, my main focus area is in Citrix Networking, and I have been a member of Citrix PTEC for 5 years.
“I’m extremely proud to have been given the honor of being a CTP, it’s something that I think most people working with Citrix products would like to achieve in their career.
“When we got mail and the congratulations from the other CTPs started to roll in, I could see that I had joined a family that cares about each other and the community. Over the next couple of days this was even more clear as we had our first meeting and got invited to slack.
“I’ve always tried to share my knowledge with everyone that would listen and by joining CTP my reach will be global, so hopefully I can do what I love more. I feel that it’s important to always educate yourself, and this is where the community is strong.”
Another promoted from the ranks of CTA up to CTP, Martin is well-known for his automation work within the Citrix stack.
“I work with automation, MicroApps, Cloud and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops with the focus of helping companies and employees deliver their best by providing the best workspace possible.
“One of the things I have started to enjoy more and more is sharing knowledge, teaching and helping others out with whatever I can. Becoming a Citrix CTP will hopefully help me reach more people and at the same time allow me to better interact with the Citrix product teams at the same time. As I work with Citrix Technologies on a daily basis with our customers I learn what works well with Citrix and what can be improved, being able to provide this feedback to Citrix is something I really look forward to.”
Eltjo van Gulik
Eltjo will be yet another familiar face, particularly for his work around mysteries such as digging through the OData interface within Citrix’s products, his contributions to the www.go-euc.com blog, and his very distinctive look 🙂
“Citrix aficionado. Wannabee PowerShell buff. Blogger. Father and husband. Social, a tad pedantic and suitably lazy.
“One of the primary reasons why I wanted to join the CTP Program is because CTP is a community driven program. Full of likeminded peers that love to share knowledge on Citrix and its products. A lot of people I always looked up to like Carl Webster, Carl Stalhood and Tim Mangan are part of the current program.
“To be part of that community of likeminded peers, does not everybody yearn for that?
“To be recognized for my technical knowledge and contributions to the community, who would not want that?
“Just like the CTP program, sharing knowledge is a huge part of my current job. Whether is an internal event, or mentoring junior and mediors, or blogging and speaking at events, there is always an opportunity to share knowledge. Sharing knowledge keeps people motivated and helps them grow. For me personally it (and yes this sounds very cliché) gives me a sense of purpose. With my community platform www.go-euc.com we do just that. Share insights and knowledge. And we do that for everyone. It’s content is not just Citrix related, it spans the whole EUC field. By change I got the opportunity to speak at the last Synergy and it was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have had over the last couple of years of my life.
“So to conclude what does being a CTP means to me: I strongly believe that being a CTP will make my life just a little bit better, and allow to make the life of other people around me even better.”
Last but not least, we have Ryan, another of the contributors to www.go-euc.com, and yet another Dutch CTP (I’m sure that they show Citrix videos on children’s TV out there, it’s the only explanation)
“I work at ICT-Partners by day, and am a performance and automation geek by night.
“Being accepted in the CTP Program is the cherry on the top. My personal goal is to learn every day and share knowledge with the community. The CTP program is the confirmation of the value of my contributions. I’m very excited and honored to be part of the program. I have been part of multiple programs but never experienced a warm welcome like the CTP Program, it is becoming part of the CTP family.”
Big congratulations due to these guys on being the new CTP members for 2020 – it’s a great personal milestone, well done all!
You can see that every one of these new members mentions the word “share”, because that’s the heart of I.T. community. Working together to both educate and learn at the same time. And there’s also a lot of the word “family” – and I’m sure that everyone within the program can attest to that feeling of belonging that is purveyed.
For posterity, here’s the full list of the 2020 CTP and CTA awardees, with “new for 2020” highlighted in bold.
Citrix Technology Professionals 2020
Alexander Ervik Johnsen
Anton van Pelt
Eltjo van Gulik
Trond Eric Haavarstein
Wilco van Bragt
Citrix Technology Advocates 2020
Jan Hendrik Meier
Patrick van den Born
I.T. community is an awesome thing, and on the Citrix side of the fence, it is thanks to people like those above that make it as good, and as rewarding, as it is. My old dad isn’t wrong about a lot (don’t tell him I said that), but on this subject, he’s way off the money. Long live the community!