Microsoft Azure MVP

Photo by Greg Rakozy / Unsplash

This is a very surreal post for me to write, and I did not expect that I would get to this point this quickly. This is one of the top highlights of my career, a recognition of all the work that I have put in over the years. I have shouted this out every social media platform that I'm on, but I still haven't managed to get the mandatory blog post out. This is not only because I have had a busy schedule at work, but mostly because of the share amount of content and information that I have had to process. There are so many great benefits of having this title, so many new people to contact for help and so many possibilities.

Like many others, I thought that I'd explain what the award is and how I got it. How you get the award is very individual, and there are so many ways of getting it. If you have a goal of getting this award, highly recommend creating a plan for how to get it and sticking to it. It helped me to keep focus in the long run, while giving me the habits for becoming a helpful member of the IT community.

What is the Microsoft MVP award?

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional program has been around for more than two decades. It is a way for Microsoft to reward those who go beyond the call of duty, that always help others and that focus on giving back to the community. This award is invitation only, so an already existing MVP or someone working at Microsoft have to nominate you.

There are many ways to getting this award, but they all related to sharing knowledge for free. Things like blog posts, videos and free courses, creating websites dedicated to a Microsoft related topic, hosting online events, and more.

You can read a lot more about the program and find your local MVPs at mvp.microsoft.com.

My plan to become an MVP

At one point I realised that I couldn't just hope to become an MVP, but I had to decide to become one. That's when I started to plan how to get there, figure out what areas to focus on and reaching out to people to talk about what it takes.

I have mainly focused my efforts into three areas. The reason why I chose these three is because they are the most interesting and inspiring for me. I wanted to go for something that would be sustainable for me, something that I could do up to the point of becoming an MVP and beyond.

Community work

I believe that this is one of the fundamentals to success within IT. Through community you make connections and through connections you make opportunities. One thing is being part of the community, but giving back is what separates you from the crowd and makes you notices by your peers and in turn programs like this.

I started doing community work because I actually want to help build communities. I know that people have busy lives and that it is hard to pay attention to everything that is happening in the industry, even when you focus on just one area, so having people creating events and webinar is something people appreciate.

This doesn't just mean hosting meetups and webinars, but also speaking at conferences and other peoples events. I am hosting the Norwegian PowerShell User Group, but I also speak at several other user groups around the world and at conferences. Besides these two, I also sit in several working groups at the CNCF where I try to give back through defining standards, write and review white papers and help spread the word on great technology. More on that in the last section.

Knowledge sharing through content creation

This is by far the most common one. Writing blog posts, creating videos, this is an efficient way of getting to as many people as possible. Help one person directly is great, but if you could turn that into content that can be shared you can help an infinite number of people.

Scott Hanselman once said that if he got a question that would require him to write more a few sentences, he would turn that answer to a blog post so he could share that with the person who asked and with everyone else. If you already have to spend time writing something, why not somewhere public so you can reuse it? It's the Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle from programming but for helping others.

When I take notes for an exam or just on a topic, I will be doing that through my blog. If I found a solution to a problem that I had a hard time with, that will go on the blog. If I have thoughts or opinions on something, having a place to put it into writing helps to reflect on these thoughts and might be useful for others.

My blog is not filled to the brim with great information, yet. There are posts that I have removed, it has been moved from one domain to another, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it now. I want to create videos, but this takes a bit of time to get into. I'm changing roles at my company at the moment, and I think I would have more time for video creation when everything settles. I aim to have this up and running by the end of the year.

Make life easier for others

This one is kinda an extension of making life easier for myself. This can be PowerShell modules or other CLI tools, templates for code, anything that would make daily work more manageable. Some would keep this to themselves, to get an "edge" (whatever that means) but I rather share it.

Most of what I do for personal projects is open source and free to use by anyone. As someone who doesn't work as a programmer, I'm currently learning several languages and development practices so that I can contribute directly to more Open Source projects and through the CNCF I hope to help create standards and resources. An example of that is being part of the GitOps Working Group, an initiate through the App Delivery TAG, which created the OpenGitOps project.

Do you have questions?

Not sure where to take your career, what to focus on or want to learn more about DevOps, Cloud Native, or Azure? Feel free to reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn. I obviously don't know all the answers, but I might be able to help or at least point you in a direction.

If you have need a speaker or guest on your show, feel free to look at my sessionize and CNCF Speaker pages. I'm happy to help wherever possible.

Roberth Strand

Roberth Strand

Norway