Here’s to 2019.

As sweat our way through the first days of 2020 (Thanks Melbourne), I think it would be good for me to write a post on the crazy 2019 I’ve had. Probably a bit obnoxious, but who cares – My blog my rules.

For me, 2019 was a huge success. I started out the year as a consultant, with no particular goals aside from presenting at some community events. I finish as a technical lead, with 5 speaking engagements, 8 certifications exams completed and quite a few blogs/webinars outings under my belt. Lets start at the top.

Speaking

I started 2019 with the knowledge that I sucked at public speaking. I wore a suit for the first six months of my consulting career because it made me feel secure when talking to three or four people. I knew I sucked at presenting and wanted to get better. At the end of the year, I really do feel that I’m getting there. That whole cliche of Practice making perfect. In order of my appearances, I presented at:

  • Global Integration BootCamp – Azure Service Bus
  • Global Azure BootCamp – Securing Azure DevOps
  • Melbourne PowerApps & Flow Meetup – Vulnerability Scanning with PowerApps
  • Azure Security Meetup – Securing Azure @ Scale, The Basics
  • Melbourne MultiCloud Meetup – One Cloud to Rule them All

I really enjoyed presenting at these events, especially the Global Boot Camps. I think the funniest story I got from these presentations was the Securing DevOps talk – I arrived at the event with no knowledge that I would be presenting, fully intending to spend the day learning. I yelled some jokes at the MC, at which point I was asked if I was ready to present that afternoon. Queue confused expression. I had originally put my hand up to speak, but due to a communications breakdown, I never received any confirmation. I spent the full day locked in a room scrambling to get a talk together – In the end, I cheated and talked about governance. Half the room fell asleep and I skated out with an alright presentation!

Getting Certified

What a labor of love getting certified is. Thankfully I am fully supported by my employer 🙂 . I started in March, with a goal to get Azure Certified at the Architect level. First up was AZ-100/101 and I really found the certification process an interesting one. I left the 100 exam feeling extremely underwhelmed, and absolutely died in the 101 exam. I do think that the administrator exams didn’t cover the level of detail I would expect from an actual service Administrator, but I’ve had different feedback from multiple sources. It was pretty disappointing to realize that not long after stressing through the 101, it was retired in favor of the new 103 exam! Live and learn I suppose.
From the success of the Azure administrator exams, I did my best to sort my architect exams by the end of July, just scraping in before August with both exams! These were a lot more in depth than the admin pair, although there was definitely a couple of “vendor speak” questions. These are easily the most frustrating types of questions for me, because often they translate into real world product selection by architects or administrators where the product isn’t best fit for a company!

After finishing those four exams I was invigorated, setting myself a goal of doing 12 in 12 months. I’m currently 8 in, having also passed two AWS certifications, Azure Security & Okta Professional! Easily the most difficult exam within these was the Okta Pro; Firstly they use a ridiculous exam format designed to induce stress and anxiety – Check out DOMC for all your heart palpitation needs. Secondly, there just isn’t affordable and accessible high quality content! I love ACloudGuru and Pluralsight for this – They provide world class content for next to nothing.

I’m starting 2020 off with GCP & AWS exams in January before taking a break to get married in February. Two months from March to April to hit 12 in 12, wish me luck!

Blogging & All the Other Successes!

Blogging & Other – What a category 😀 . One of the ways which I learn concepts is through explaining them to other people. This was the primary reason I started blogging here. Once I got the hang of it, I found that I really did enjoy writing here. I’m proud to have published 10 blogs on my site (and on xello.com.au). This year I want to write focused blogs on cloud security & identity topics. If you’re reading this and you have any requests, please reach out! I also contributed to a couple of webinars, mostly work based topics. These are something I find really difficult, as it takes time to actually get a decent attendee list & the shorter time frames are quite difficult. I think the success I am most happy about is to have got Multi Cloud Melbourne off the ground! Community events are honestly the best way to dip your toe into a topic, and the community in Melbourne is actually insane! If you’re not signed up to attend an event, head on over to meetup.com and register now – Seriously it’s great.

I was also extremely blessed to be made a technical lead @ Xello this year. This role has been really fun, and I’ve loved getting involved with more customer work & technical challenges.

Thankyou

Most importantly, I wouldn’t be writing this post without a cadre of people who support me, both professionally and personally. A big thank you to all of these people, they all know who they are. Another big thank you goes out to you – my network. Thank you for engaging with me, on whatever medium you choose. Its always a pleasure to meet another person who is cloud obsessed. Here’s to a brilliant 2020, may all your plans come to fruition!!

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