Road to CTP

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It has been more than a week since the announcement of the #CitrixCTP class for 2017 and I was honored by being selected to be part of this group for the first time. This has been a long time personal goal and on this blog post I would like to share my road to Citrix CTP and what helped me to get here.

Some of my fellow #CitrixCTPs have written great articles about the process to become a CTP and you can read those articles here, here and here. This blog post is dedicated to thank the people that helped me to get here and to share some of the great advice I was given.

I started working with Citrix technologies back in 2001 in my beautiful Costa Rica when (as a lot of other people) we needed to fix slow access to client/server applications. When I’m talking about slow access, I’m refering to applications hosted on a data center in a capital city of a Central America country being accessed from a banana farm 100's of miles away over a 64Kbps or 128Kbps links, yeah.. that is slow. Complain about your 3G connections now ;-)

Initially I was part of a technical helpdesk, helping to troubleshot application coding and database issues but I had always known that I wanted to do data center stuff so, when I was asked to participate in a regional Infrastructure Team I jumped in head first. During the first week I was asked what I knew about Terminal Services (Windows 2000) and Citrix (WinFrame 1.8)… I answered the only way I knew.. “I don’t know anything about it but I can learn it”; the journey started and I have never looked back. Thank you, Mr. Carlos Bolivar, for pushing me so hard those few first implementations

After the first implementation, my manager told me that he was bringing Citrix Professional Services from the USA to take a look at what we had done. As a young 22-year-old, that felt terrible, but I quickly learned that it was one of the best things we did. I learned so much from Jo Harder (also a CTP) that week despite my broken English. Thank you, Jo, for all your support.

In 2002, I was invited to go to an IT conference called Citrix iForum in Orlando, FL. I had NO idea what I was getting into. I had never been in the USA nor had I ever been in an IT conference– man that was a wild ride. I remember telling myself, "one day I’m going to try to present in a conference like this one." Since that first iForum, I have been to every single iForum and Synergy.

After attending iForum 2002, I started participating more on the Citrix Forums and, because of that and my coding background, I started working with the Citrix SDK and was able to meet more people in the years to come like Dr. SDK and Vishal Ganeriwala.

Back in the mid 2000’s, there were a few websites that we all had to visit to find answers for Citrix: Brian Madden and Doug Brown websites were like a second doctrine. It was there, where I learned about the CTP program. In 2007, while I was at Synergy, I saw Brian and Doug presenting. That presentation reminded me that I still needed to present at a conference, and I added that I would like to be a CTP some day.

It wasn’t until 2010 that I got really serious about both of those personal goals, started my blog, and started trying to meet some of the CTPs–learning from them, asking for coaching, speaking at small local conferences and user groups. Through my conversations with the CTPs, I quickly learned to two things: the journey wasn’t going to be short, and it won't be simple, but I was up for the challenge.

Throughout these years I have learned that, in my humble option, a #CitrixCTP is not only a person that has a lot of knowledge (and deep knowledge, some of these guys are like dictionaries, they know everything), but a CTP is also a person that gives back to this great IT EUC community in multiple ways. Like helping others with technical advice, providing honest and candid feedback to manufacturers, a person that spends tons of personal time testing new technologies or looking for ways to improve existing technologies. As I mentioned before, this is not an easy or fast journey, but getting to know others in the community is important. After a couple years of knowing some of the CTPs, I took a leap of faith and shared with them that I would love to present at a conference and I couldn’t believe how fast they said “Yes, let's do it." I remember telling my wife that two CTPs agreed to co-present with me. Thank you Jarian Gibson, Andrew Morgan, Shane Kleinert, Carl Webster, CUGC and RoundTower for allowing me to fulfill this objective.

I have only been a CTP for a little over a week and the overload of information that comes at you all at once is enormous, and you must be ready to deal with it. It is expected from you to dedicate time to review and provide valuable participation and feedback. So, when you read that one of the most difficult parts of becoming a CTP is staying a CTP–it's completely true. Let's see where I am in 12 months.

It is really important to be involved on your IT community, actively participating on CUGC and VMUG meetings. Collaborating with fellow IT administrators on support forums, helping educate the broader IT community about what is EUC and how it can help their organizations, presenting at conferences are some of the things we all do.

My last recommendation is to not give up on this goal if you don’t get into the program the first time you apply. There are a lot of really good candidates that apply for this award, so build upon what you did the year before and add a little more, be persistant, ask what can be improved and go for it. Thank you to Shane Kleinert, Carl Webster, Steve Greenberg, Dane Young, Thomas Poppelgaard, Chris Rogers, Kees Baggerman, Theresa Miller, Esther Barthel, Mike Nelson, Perrine Crampton, and Eric Havaarstein for your advice.

I don’t want to close without giving thanks to the MOST important group of all. I want to thank God for giving me so many opportunities and the closest team in my life, my wife Diana, and my twin boys Felipe and Tomas. Thank you guys for allowing me to spend the time, to read, to write, to prepare presentaions, to be in meetings at crazy hours of the night with guys in Australia or England. The amount of time we dedicate to this, outiside of our regular jobs, is crazy but you guys are always there. Honey, I love you and I would always be thankful for your support to these crazy dreams I have. I couldn’t be here without you.

Finally, I wanted to thank the myCUGC community and my employeer RoundTower for all your support. I’m going to need it even more now.

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