Sunday, October 24, 2010

New employer, new Azure role

For over five years, I’ve been fortunate to work for RDA, a consultancy headquartered in Baltimore, MD. The company is a class act, with great people.  I’ve worked on nearly 20 engagements, with technology all over the .NET map. My last day with RDA was Wednesday. Let me elaborate a bit…

About two years ago, I started working with Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. My first project was with Coca Cola Enterprises. Then, in 2010, I spent almost 6 months “on loan” to Microsoft, as an Azure Virtual Technology Specialist. In my V-TS role, I worked with over a dozen customers, helping them with Azure migration solutions.

Over the past year, I’ve been speaking about Azure all over the Mid-Atlantic, at user groups, code camps, and even an Azure Bootcamp. If you couldn’t tell by now, let me spell things out for you: I really, really enjoy working with, and teaching, Azure.

On October 1, only a few short weeks ago, I was honored with an Azure MVP Award from Microsoft (I blogged about this earlier). I couldn’t be happier! Through the MVP program, I’ve met some seriously-talented Azure folks that share my enthusiasm and passion for the platform.

Ironically, at the same time the MVP announcement came out, I had been looking into a new role at another company. A perfect-fit role, one that I simply could not say no to. A role that would be dedicated to Azure.

The role? Azure Architect Evangelist, Mid-Atlantic.

The company? Microsoft.

I'll be a member of the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) team. My primary responsibility will be working with ISVs, helping them migrate their applications to Azure. As this position specifically covers the mid-Atlantic area, I won't have to relocate.

And that brings me to today. I’m sitting on a plane, en route to Redmond. I officially become a Microsoftee tomorrow morning, only 3 days days before the Azure-heavy Professional Developers Conference, being held on the Microsoft campus. The PDC will be a great way to kick off my Microsoft career.

With Microsoft as my new employer, I’ll have to step down as an active MVP, effective Monday morning. However, that little technicality has no bearing on my developer community participation. In fact, I have three talks scheduled in November: Two Azure talks Nov. 6 at CMAP Code Camp in Columbia, MD, and an Azure+MongoDB talk at the Mongo DC conference, Nov. 18.

I’ll close this post out now, as I have lots to do (including another Azure post). I’m totally stoked about this career move!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Presentation Materials: Richmond Code Camp, Fall 2010

For those who attended either my Azure Quick-Start or Azure Tips n Tricks, I posted the slide decks and a few demo projects that served as the basis for those talks.

The tips-n-tricks slide deck has more details than what we covered during the session, along with links to various reference articles, blog posts, and company websites.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Richmond Code Camp Oct 9, 2010: 2 Azure Talks

Code Camp season is underway, and for me, the season kicks off in Richmond, where I’ll be presenting two back-to-back Azure talks:

  • Azure Quick-Start. In this intro-level session, I’ll show how to quickly get up and running with Azure, including a tour of the Azure portal, Visual Studio integration, and what it takes to build and launch your first app.
  • Azure Tips, Tricks, and How-To’s. This session goes a bit deeper, and assumes you know the basics of Azure (if you attend my first session, you should be all set). I have a bunch of real-world items I’ll be running through, complete with code samples, that you can use in your own Azure projects.

There are about 40 sessions overall this year at Richmond Code Camp. If you’re in the Richmond, VA area on the 9th, please come by, say hi, and enjoy the day!

Learn more about Richmond Code Camp and sign up  here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I’ve been awarded Azure MVP!

October 1, 2010: A day I’ll remember for a long time. I was on an early flight home from Seattle after 3 amazing days with the Azure team, participating in a Software Design Review (SDR). I was headed home to my family, and to support my wife during this difficult time (she lost her father a week ago).

Being October 1, I knew that it was MVP award day. Naturally, my plan was to stare at my email client , hoping my magic powers would help deliver some good news to me.

My flight took off at 7:15am. I distracted myself with Vittorio Bertocci’s new Windows Identity Foundation book until WiFi was available. The book caught the attention of the gentleman next to me, who develops against Amazon’s AWS, and we spent a bit of time discussing Azure and its benefits.

Shortly after crossing into Montana (courtesy of FlightAware),  I received “The Email,” welcoming me to the inaugural group of Azure MVPs! I found it only fitting that we were passing through cloud cover at the time, and ironic that the first person I told was an AWS guy (and yes, I now have his business card and plan to visit his group in Atlanta).

I’m truly honored to be the recipient of this award, and thankful for all the support I’ve received from the developer community. I first got involved in the community back in October 2008, when Microsoft’s Dr. Z invited me to speak at techdays ‘08 in Washington, DC. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at many user groups, code camps, webcasts, podcasts such as Community Megaphone, and even an Azure Bootcamp. I’ve met some great people at these events, and it has greatly enriched my life (I can only hope I’ve had some positive effect on theirs as well).

My family has been very understanding and supportive of my speaking and blogging activities (although my wife no longer believes that I’ll be off the computer “in just a minute…”).  RDA, my employer, supports my efforts as well, and co-sponsored the Azure Bootcamp. And, last but not least, I owe a debt of gratitude to Microsoft for presenting me with an MVP!

Sheesh – I feel like one of those long-winded Academy Award winners who rambles too long and get-off-the-stage music kicks in. Time to get back to techy goodness, especially Windows Azure Goodness! I have some cool things to blog about, including my adventures with MongoDB running in Azure.