Meet Scott Fella, Cisco Designated VIP for Four Years in a Row.
Scott Fella is a Senior Service Engineer at Microsoft. He says, “The forum helps me better understand what’s working and what’s not.” There is great information from all levels of engineers around the world. What I might learn today, I can pass that information to my peers, previous customers, etc.
Tell us about your work at Microsoft.
I joined Microsoft about 7 years ago and moved to Redmond, WA. Being a consultant for most of my career, I took on the challenge of supporting of one of the largest Companies in the world. I worked on the wireless team that managed Cisco and Aruba wireless for all campus building. It was a great experience, worked on some exciting projects and help standardize the Cisco wireless for Microsoft. After 2 years I decided to move to the retail side to help them with their wireless. The retail team allowed me to use my experience in Cisco wireless and created projects to improve user experience, standardize on code, configuration, and processes. Took on Cisco ISE, DUO and helped on the switching. Had the opportunity to migrate ISE from v2.2 on ESXi to Azure. Built new tacacs policies along with radius policies. Migrated away from on-prem AireOS controllers to 9800-CL in Azure and migrated to 9136 WiFi 6E access points.
How did you get involved with Cisco Community?
I started back in 2001. When I got my first networking job, you could say I was thrown into the fire. My manager said, “Here’s a project. Now go figure it out.” That was rough, and the forums helped me quite a bit. I found myself frequently thanking people for helping me out.
What inspired you to start answering in addition to asking?
When I started on the forums, I was asking for help. It makes sense to me to return the favor and help as many folks as I can. I enjoy reading and possibly answering questions. Sometimes it’s a challenge because you don’t’ have access to their equipment, so it’s more of asking the right questions and helping to provide the best recommendations. When I started getting more and more points for correct answers, I was hooked. Why not take a few hours in your day or week to challenge yourself and help those that might be new to the field or someone that is struggling post installation.
How do you find the time?
I tell myself to login and check every morning. When I have time during the day or in the evening, I will spend some time to answer.
You’re very generous with your time. Why do you do it?
The main answer is that I like helping. I don’t want people to struggle like I did when I first started in networking. Also, staying active in the forum keeps my skills honed and gives me an early look into trends. Many posts show what’s working and what’s not for people all around the world. I’m able to pass all the valuable information I obtain from the forums to my peers, the folks I collaborate with, and to our customers.
Does your employer support your participation?
Yes… Microsoft is big on helping others. The forum is a data source that I use in my day-to-day activity. I will ask questions when I’m in a bind and when my questions gets answered, that helps me resolve issues, answer questions that my peers have or resolve issues our team is experiencing.
Any advice to fellow members to make the community even better?
When you answer questions, remember that people who are just starting with a new technology might not understand highly technical language. So, try to write your answers simply, in a way that makes sense for someone who might be a beginner. Also, learn how to ask the right questions to elicit the information you need to solve the problem. People from other countries often have different ways of communicating. If you’re polite, you’ll get better information with less effort.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted a nudge to start contributing?
Try to spend half an hour a day for a week or so. You’ll get addicted just like I did!