Meet Scott Fella, Cisco Designated VIP for Four Years in a Row
Scott Fella is a Principal Consulting Engineer and Solution Architect with CDW. He says, “The posts show what’s working and what’s not for people all around the world. I pass that information to my peers at work and to our customers.
Tell us about your work with CDW.
I joined CDW almost 10 years ago, and am now a principal consulting engineer/solution architect. I’m also CDW’s subject matter expert for Cisco Mobility, which includes AireOS, Converged Access, Prime Infrastructure, and Mobility Services Engine. About half my time is devoted to customer projects, and the other half working with the Cisco Mobility business unit develop tools, test features and code, and support my peers.
How did you get involved with Cisco Support 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?
As you get more experience with networking, you grow as an engineer and come to know what works and what doesn’t. One day I read a post and thought, “I can answer that!” I was gung-ho for a while and then slowed down for a few months. One day, Steve Rodriguez, another VIP, emailed me to say he was catching up and was just a few points behind me on the Leader Board. That was really all I needed to hear: I went from 3,000 to 10,000 points in a hurry!
How do you find the time?
I try to dedicate one hour a day to the forums: Getting Started with Wireless, Other Wireless, Security and Network Management, Wireless IP Voice and Video, and WLCCA. I can usually reply to 15-30 questions an hour. The community has become such a part of my routine that I even visit the forums on weekends, using the mobile app.
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 of 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, CDW likes that I participate in Cisco Support Community. Customers choose a partner they trust, and helping them out in the forums builds trust. Many of our customers are active in the forums. My work in the community has even drawn some business our way. Customers sometimes request me because I’ve helped them solve other problems.
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!