Motivated to Learn
There’s a common thread that many people in IT share: motivation and self-education. Many learn about computers by tinkering with them. They take things apart, seeing which components go together, and then try to put it back together to make it all work again. They read guides, ask friends, and learn through trial and error.
Gareth Gudger’s story follows a similar thread. For him, it all started with his love for fixing things. He got used to the sound of his parents agonizing over yet another gadget in the house he managed to take apart. Troubleshooting was just something he did naturally. He got his start with PCs by working with 486s and Pentiums. After high school, he got a job working a computer repair store and then later worked as a system admin for a few small companies.
A big step for him came through his transition into consulting. At that time, he was very quiet and shy, preferring instead to be in the background, so being a consultant really forced him to step out of his comfort zone. It was a pivotal point in his life, because it was then he discovered he loved getting to see new places and meet new people. He realized that he didn’t just want to be that guy stuck behind the same desk looking at the same servers all day long.
Now into year thirteen of consulting, he wouldn’t change a thing. He found himself enjoying the chaos of an emergency call, not knowing exactly what he would find when he got there. Sometimes the stress of having to employ a ‘hail Mary’ fix and have it work is the best part about a job.
Becoming an Expert
Gareth found the site many years ago when it came up in a search result, but really wasn’t involved back then. It wasn’t until he saw Brian Clausen’s web presentation in 2013 where he really got excited about being an active participant on the site.
“Seeing the webinar with all the roadmaps laid out made me feel like I was connected and a valuable part of the community,” he says. “Brian is a great speaker, and he was able to answer a lot of questions at the end. Since then, Experts Exchange has done everything they said they were going to do, and that holds a lot of weight with me.”
He started to get really active on the site, monitoring the exchange server community. To help add more video content to that topic, he was one of the authors on an eleven part video micro tutorial series on MS Exchange Server 2013. Among them is one of the highest ranked videos on the site.
He also got to know a lot of the other Microsoft Exchange experts through his participation – people he would consider his mentors, who were also Microsoft MVPs. Occasionally he’ll dabble in Cisco switches, routers, and storage, but mostly he sticks to his core focus of MS Exchange.
For Gareth, Experts Exchange has been an invaluable resource for his consulting work. There’s always something surprising to find. The more he got involved, the more he got to see new problems that he wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. It allows him to imagine scenarios and issues he never would have thought of before.
“My consulting work allows me to help someone on Experts Exchange,” he says. “I might be able to fix something for a client, and then be able to assist someone on the site who has the same problem. The more involved I am with Experts Exchange, the sharper I am as a consultant. When life gets in the way, I notice that I lose some of that sharpness. It really does enhance your knowledge. I really wish I had more time to spend. Usually I can only commit to weekends.”
Let Him Eat Cake
Originally from England, he moved to the US after marrying his wife. They have two girls together – aged eight and fifteen – the youngest is a huge fan of Lego and Minecraft. Future engineer, perhaps?
As a hobby, he enjoys doing Mudathlons, which are just 5k runs but through mud. It’s something he enjoys doing with his eldest daughter.
“It also helps me tackle this ever-growing waistline, thanks to my love of cake.” It’s true. Cake is his favorite food.
As far as technology is concerned, he does admit to being a Microsoft fanatic. “I do drink the Microsoft Kool-Aid, yes. Bing is my default search engine.”
His favorite place he’s traveled to is the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa. He also really loves the historic downtown of Charleston, South Carolina.