Microsoft MVP Once Again

MVP-Logo-smallI never take these things for granted and try very hard throughout the year to provide service to the community. So I’m very happy to share the news that I have been renewed for my 10th year as a Microsoft MVP. My official community is Cloud and Datacenter Management, but I think deep down I’ll always be a PowerShell MVP.

I honestly enjoy the work I do and hope that you find it worthwhile. I will be continuing to contribute to the community through this blog, my articles at Petri.com, my courses for Pluralsight as well as conferences and user group presentations. I look forward to the next year. With the upcoming release of Windows Server 2016 there will be many opportunities. I hope you’ll stick around.

Thank you.

PowerShell Toolmaking Dos and Don’ts

During the last Microsoft MVP Summit, Channel 9 invited MVPs into their studios to record short presentations on anything they wanted. This was too good a deal to pass on, so my friend Greg Shields and I jumped into the studio to talk about PowerShell Toolmaking. To be more accurate, Greg, who knows a little PowerShell and is probably like many of you,  “interviewed” me about some toolmaking best practices.  The video is now available on Channel 9. Or you can watch it here.

Enjoy!

I Wanna Be Like You

orangutan Growing up, one of my favorite Disney movies was their adaption of The Jungle Book, and perhaps my favorite scene was King Louie’s production number “I Wanna Be Like You.” I think what really makes this song work is that we all have a desire to be like someone else, perhaps a role model or someone who is living a life you’d like to have. I’ve been living my life as an IT Pro for quite a while now and I must have crossed a threshold because I often am asked, “What can I do to become like you?” So I thought I’d share some thoughts on the subject.

First, let me state out right that what I do isn’t an easy way to make a living. I work for myself, from home and certainly put in more work hours than I would at a “normal” IT job. While working several projects at the same time, I am also developing future work plus dealing with all of the paperwork like invoicing, bookkeeping and taxes. Perhaps most importantly, I am able to do what I do because my family supports me and my wife has a good job with benefits. If you are the sole provider for your family, you might want to reconsider a life like mine unless you have substantial savings or lottery winnings.

Still with me? Ultimately I think if you want to pursue a career like mine it all comes down to reputation. I can only do what I do because I have spent years establishing a trusted name, reputation or brand. Whatever you want to call it. I did this by blogging, getting speaking engagements at conferences, finding opportunities to write online, contributing to forums. Anything that would demonstrate I was competent and trustworthy. Actually, it is more than that. You need to demonstrate to your community, that you are at the forefront based on quantity and quality of your contributions. That is the secret I think to becoming a Microsoft MVP, which I’m also frequently asked. Being an MVP definitely helps with your credibility and reputation, but it is a bit of a chicken/egg proposition. All I can tell you is that you have to put in the time demonstrating to your community and Microsoft that you are a valuable asset and a leader.

Today, social media is a much bigger presence than it was when I first started. You should be contributing valuable content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus and more. This takes active work on your part and it will take time.

You also need to find avenues for more substantial efforts through writing, training, or presenting. There are many user groups looking for speakers. You can even start locally. Find places where you can contribute written material. It probably won’t pay much but it gets your name out there. Submit session proposals to conferences. Not comfortable speaking in front of people? Then create video clips and build a following. At the very least, blog and blog frequently. One important point about content: quality counts. It may seem obvious, but don’t post or create something that is a re-hash of a help document or something without explanation. The whole point about reputation is that you need to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. So don’t post a blog entry with a 1 line PowerShell command. Explain it. How did you arrive at? What are the alternatives? Why is this a good solution? In some ways, this is like good customer service – you have to exceed expectations.

All of this takes time, probably even a few years. And even then, don’t expect to take 1 month vacation in the Caribbean every year and have a 6 figure salary. I’m not saying you can’t set that as a goal, but know that will take a great deal of time and work to reach that level. Personally, the journey has been just as rewarding as where I am now. I’ve met some terrific people along the way like Don Jones and Mark Minasi as well as IT Pros who have attended my conference sessions and training classes. I like what I do now and appreciate the flexibility of being able to work almost anywhere. But I had to pay my dues and you will too, but hopefully you now have a better idea of how much that will cost.

If you are starting down this path, I’d love to hear your story, your plan or any words of advice you have for others.

PowerShell MVP Again

MVP-Logo-small I am happy to say that I have been renewed for my 8th year as a PowerShell MVP. I am honored to be in such great company with other MVPs. I am also extremely grateful to members of the PowerShell community and I suppose beyond that, who find my work useful or at least worth a few minutes of their time. As with renewal, I feel empowered and challenged to bring you even more PowerShell related content, whether it be blog posts, Prof. PowerShell columns, online webinars, training courses or conference sessions. Thank you for your trust in me. Now I guess I’d better get back to work.

Hanging Out My Shingle

storefront Way, way back in the day professionals would hang out a painted shingle indicating they were open for business. Even if your literacy skills were lacking you could distinguish between a doctor and an undertaker. Although I think sometimes he did both, but that’s another story.

I thought I should officially hang out my “shingle”. In the 21st century, this more often than not means some sort of web presence. In my case, for the time being, this blog is it. I am officially open for business. But what kind of business?

I am an independent IT professional with over 17 years experience, author and trainer. My primary area of focus is Microsoft Windows-based networks and server technologies, with a special emphasis on scripting, automation and Windows PowerShell.  Here’s a short service menu:

  • White papers
  • Magazine features and columns
  • Guest Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Webcasts and online seminars
  • Private training ( I am an MCT and can deliver most Windows infrastructure based curricula) both online and onsite
  • Courseware or training material development
  • Public Speaking and Conferences
  • Custom scripting and automation
  • IT consulting

If your organization could use any of my services or believe I can add value to your company, I hope you’ll contact me: [email protected]. You can also find me on LinkedIn.  Even if you don’t have an immediate need, I would appreciate any referrals you could send my way.

While I obviously have bills to pay, I am always open to projects from non-profit and community-driven organizations. Depending on my current work-load, I am happy to help out on a reduced-rate or even free basis. I feel it is very important to help others who are striving to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Thank You.