Microsoft Ignite 2017

As I sit in my hotel room in Orlando, FL revising my Microsoft Ignite conference schedule for the week, I realized I needed to set some goals for the week. I have been busing adding meetings to my calendar and reminders on my smartphone for offsite events, networking opportunities and critical sessions I do not want to miss. All the while I have not taken the time to step back and think about what my goals for the week should be. To be honest I have thought about them but have not put aside the time to write them down and narrow them down to the top five things I want to achieve this week.

After some time revising and hashing my thoughts out here are my five goals for the Microsoft Ignite conference.

  1. Identify one work problem to solve
  2. Get to know my team better
  3. Work on my MCSD certification
  4. Learn about AI and AR
  5. Network with new people

If you are attending Microsoft Ignite this week or have attended any other conferences what goals did you set for yourself?

If you want to see how I did and my takeaways from the Microsoft Ignite conference read my follow up post!

Identify one work problem to solve

What's a work conference if you do not try to get some real work done, right? My focus here will be on how to monitor Azure Service Bus Topics and Queues in a fault tolerant enterprise solution. When you have messages that are for a business process that flows through many Topics or Queues how do you ensure the process was a success? Compound that problem with the complexity of a solution installed to multiple Azure regions.

This problem then gets into how do you monitor the monitor, as in where do these issue notifications go? In the event you have Application Insights configured and running with alerts to send emails, who is watching the emails? If you have created custom dashboards who is monitoring the dashboard? Maybe tie this into a new REST API!

Get to know my team better

Team building is critical and you should never stop taking the time to improve your work relationships. We are often focused on getting our stories and tasks done and do not spend the time learning more about the teams we work on. The better the relationships you have the more your team can accomplish. Teams that have well-developed relationships trust each other and know the strengths and weaknesses of each other and help one another to grow while getting work done more efficiently.

Therefore, this week I am going to make a concerted effort to get to know my team better through conversations and experiences.

Work on my MCSD certification

Early on in my software development career I obtain several Microsoft Certifications and earned my MCSD and MCSD.NET. I took exams on Visual Basic, SQL Server, Visual C++ and C#.

I then had the opportunity to step into a management role and had to focus my attention on other types of IT problems, such as implementing Business and Test Analyst roles to the company I worked for. During this time I learned a lot about myself and that I love to teach others about anything, but especially about problem-solving.

After some time in similar roles at different companies, our family decided it was important to be closer to grandparents and my two oldest sons. I am now primarily focused on solving IT Cloud Architectural problems and writing software day to day.

My goal this week is to push myself and pass at least two certification exams. This will help me by exposing myself to different aspects and offerings that Microsoft has in their Azure products. Additionally, this will help our team solve problems faster as I share what I have learned. Most importantly it will be an opportunity to show our customers that we are the best at what we do and that is a big reason they should continue to work with us.

Learn about AI and AR

First off, I know this is two things...I said I was going to list five and a top six just sounds wrong and would lead me to create a top ten. To be honest this is also because I have come to love odd numbers, thanks to my wife!

I love to be imaginative and think outside the box. Software development and business problem solving is my "art space." It is where I get to create and solve problems which are like little games in my mind. Thus, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) has peaked my interest and it is time to see what I can find this week.

This goal came to me after reading about the new Star Wars Jedi Challenges game. You MUST watch the video!! After watching that it got my brain running a thousand miles an hour with ideas on how this could be a potential area and new way of solving some business issues.

One of the logical jumps my brain made off this original interest was regarding how can we use AI like Microsoft Machine Learning and Cognitive Services to improve our problem-solving capabilities.

So, this week I will be looking to attend some AI sessions and seeking out anything I can find about AR to see what could be useful.

Network with new people

Networking is important because engaging with people face to face can sometimes be a lost social skill, especially since technology has allowed us to communicate remotely through smartphone apps and other means. Secondly, this is an extension of your direct work relationships mentioned in goal number two. Peers in your field of study and not just developers can help you foster new learning opportunities. Take the time to meet people in all facets of IT.

My goal will be to meet 25 new people of diverse areas of IT expertise and strive to foster those relationships to see what I can learn from others.

Read more about how I did and about Microsoft Ignite 2017 in my follow up post!