New Role: Cloud Ops Advocate

Last week was the first week in a while where I was beside myself with excitement. I had just walked into my new team’s building and started working in the office I had moved into over the weekend.

New job. New team. Clearer focus.

To be honest – it’s not really new. It’s an evolution of something I’ve been doing for 13 years since joining Microsoft in 2004. On May 29th 2018 – I joined the Cloud Developer Advocacy team (A.K.A the CDA team) as a Cloud Ops Advocate. I am building one of the groups (yes, there are a few of them) who will focus on advocacy efforts on the Operations side of the house in the Microsoft ecosystem.

I have been an advocate for the IT / Ops / SysAdmin / IT Pro / Technical Professional “audience” well before joining Microsoft. It’s who I can relate to. It’s what I’ve done as a job in some form or another since I started working in the industry. Like most Ops folks – I’m a tinkerer… a fixer… a lifelong learner… an architect of solutions to issues others have given up on. I believe helping someone learn a new skill or technical solution increases their self-confidence and proactively grows their sphere of influence at work. It ultimately makes them more productive, successful in their role, and inspires them to help others as well – continuing the circle of investment. Growing the greater good.

The Cloud Ops Advocacy team is not a different motion or separate silo’ed team from the Advocacy efforts at Microsoft. When you boil it all down – we’re ALL technical professionals who work in the industry, who have strength and depth in different areas such as Data, AI, C#, Containers, VSTS, Linux, InfoSec, Java, Python, DevOps, Windows Server, IoT, Azure Compute – the list goes on and on. We have different connections to unique audiences where we share similar passions and professional experiences. It is the Advocates job to go out to where these audiences are (online and in person) for a two-way conversation: listening first, talking second. Besides sharing technical solutions and building awesome content anyone can use – it’s also about collecting feedback to bring to the engineering teams who make the products. It’s not all about Microsoft – it’s about the right answer for the situation which could involve partner solutions, targeted expertise or even non Microsoft options.

A friend of mine who knew I was considering the job asked me why I’d go back to this type of role after I left it almost 3 years ago. Besides my personal passion and commitment to this audience, one thing tipped the scales for me.

Advocacy at Microsoft doesn’t sit in marketing or sales.  Advocates sit at the grown-up table in engineering… big difference.

This blog has mostly been silent or singularly producing/promoting “Tuesdays with Corey”. While that show will continue to grow – you’ll see this space evolving over the next while. This post is kind of a “watch this space” introduction to a long term narrative.

Enough about me and this new opportunity. Let me introduce you two a few of the team members who have signed up to take up the Cloud Ops Advocacy cause. (By the way – this list is growing…):

Michael Bender (@MichaelBender) (His blog can be found here)
Michael (A.K.A. Bender) is a teacher at heart. Coming from a career teaching at a community college in Madison, WI, his passion is for helping people learn the skills necessary to ‘level-up’ their careers. Along with teaching, he is passionate about the IT Operations community. For the last 8 years, he has lead up a global user group called The Krewe. This group provides a global network for sharing ideas and solutions for many in the Windows IT Operations community. On a personal side, he is a huge Badger Football fan and loves hanging out with his family in Sun Prairie, WI.

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Rick

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