Two Incredible Years at Microsoft: A Journey of Growth, Connection, and Remote Collaboration
As I sit at my desk, keyboard beneath my fingertips, I’m reminded that it’s been two years since I first embarked on my journey with Microsoft. Joining during COVID meant that I did not get the onboarding experiences of a lot of Microsoft employees, a trip and onboarding in Redmond. Today, as I write this reflection, I’m filled with a mixture of nostalgia and pride over how much I, and the team I belong to, have grown—despite the miles that separate us.
Even before my first day, I was living in Teams. I interviewed over Teams, went through NEO Training and onboarding over Teams. My day to day, my virtual office, is in Teams.
While I use and prefer Microsoft Teams over other tools, we do share a classic love-hate relationship. Some days, it’s the camera playing hide-and-seek, on others, it’s the audio doing the silent treatment or the occasional unexpected crash just to keep me on my toes. I’ve learned to embrace these quirks, and they’ve become an integral part of my remote work experience. For our team, Teams is a space where ideas, laughter, and solutions flow freely. We’ve faced challenges, celebrated victories, and everything in between, all while being fully remote.
My Evolving Team
When I joined Microsoft, I was brought on board with the Fast Track for Azure team, an integral part of Azure CXP, which is led by Billy Anders. Our team operates under the broader umbrella of C+AI, a division headed by Scott Guthrie. Being nestled within Azure engineering, our team plays a pivotal role in the larger organization that designs and nurtures Azure.
Earlier this year, our team felt the ripple effects of the widespread industry layoffs. Amidst these challenges, we embarked on a transformative journey, evolving into what we internally call Fast Track Gen 3. This transition is shifting our focus to Adoptability and resiliency challenges that our customers face. Through these times, we’ve solidified our bond, becoming more cohesive and even more dedicated to offering the best for our customers. In collaboration with various leaders across Microsoft, we’ve refined our focus, aiming for an enhanced experience for our clientele. I love how we’ve incorporated the principles of DevOps, especially methodologies like feedback loops, enhancing our processes and upscaling our deliverables.
The Power of Initiatives
Throughout these years, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to several groundbreaking initiatives—all from the comfort of my home:
Customers: Working with customers has been a truly enriching experience. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with several customers, helping them navigate the Azure ecosystem. I’ve been involved in several projects, from helping a customer migrate their on-premises infrastructure to Azure to assisting another customer in their journey to the cloud. We’ve helped customers with their DevOps journey, guiding them through the intricacies of Azure DevOps and pipelines. I’ve also been involved in several customer workshops, helping them understand the nuances of Azure and its offerings. I’ve taken their feedback and submitted it to our PGs building Azure. These interactions have been a great learning experience, and I’m grateful for the chance to work with such a diverse clientele.
Mentoring and Culture: My journey at Microsoft has been one of continuous growth and learning. One of the greatest privileges has been the chance to mentor several newcomers. Witnessing their progress and seeing them carve out their niches has been deeply rewarding. Beyond individual mentorship, I’ve been deeply involved in numerous cultural initiatives, particularly those focused on Diversity and Inclusion. My active participation in ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) like Blacks At Microsoft (BAM) and The Hispanic and Latinx Organization of Leaders in Action (HOLA) has been both enlightening and fulfilling. Taking what I’ve learned about allyship, I crafted a talk that I’ve been honored to present at multiple conferences. Every event and initiative reaffirms my pride in being part of a team that genuinely values diversity and inclusion.
Azure Architecture Center: Crafting content for the Azure Architecture Center, I delved deep into the intricacies of Azure, ensuring that our users have a clear roadmap. Each article, each tutorial felt like building bridges in the vast ecosystem of Microsoft’s offerings.
FTA Live: Engaging with our customers virtually brought both challenges and exhilaration. This was a great opportunity to scale our reach and connect with a wider audience. I’m proud to have been part of this initiative, which has now become a staple of our team.
WAF (Well Architected Framework): Being part of WAF reinforced my belief in creating robust and efficient architectures. I contributed to a few different areas in the past 2 years, like IoT, Security, and Operational Excellence. I’m excited to see how this initiative will evolve in the future.
IoT Training Pack: This was a great opportunity to collaborate with our IoT team and create a comprehensive training pack for some production scenarios. I feel it really helped plug a gap in some of our IoT offerings.
The AI Revolution
The past year has been a whirlwind in terms of AI shaping our daily routines. OpenAI’s creations, ChatGPT and Dalle, have found their way into many of our processes, making tasks smoother.
One tool that’s genuinely changed my workflow is GitHub Copilot. It’s not just another fancy tool on the list – I genuinely use Copilot every day. Its code suggestions often feel like having a co-developer beside me. Beyond just using these tools, I’ve delved deeper into the AI realm, learning about concepts like the semantic kernel, diving into prompt engineering, and even building internal AI tools and copilots. This continual learning and exploration at the forefront of technology is truly invigorating. And as Microsoft ventures further into the AI domain, it’s evident we’re all part of this exhilarating journey of technological evolution.
Future Focus: Content & Enablement
Looking ahead, my trajectory is clearly marked by two guiding stars: Content and Enablement. I am driven to produce content that not only explains Azure but also empowers its users. Beyond just explaining, I aim to unravel complex topics, making them accessible and comprehensible to all. I want to showcase the application of DevOps principles, from infrastructure as code (IaC), pipelines, to automation — demystifying these critical aspects of modern cloud computing.
Security, reliability, and scalability are pillars of any robust cloud service, and my goal is to enlighten users on best practices around these elements. Parallel to this, I’m passionate about championing enablement initiatives. My aspiration is to ensure that anyone interacting with Azure feels well-supported and is fully equipped to leverage its vast capabilities. Using the platform every day, I’m intimately familiar with its nuances and intricacies. Sharing this knowledge, making it accessible and actionable, is what drives me.
Speaking My Heart Out
One of the unexpected joys of this remote journey has been the myriad of speaking opportunities on Teams. From giving lightning talks during our weekly team sessions to presenting at FTA Live, these platforms have been avenues for both sharing and absorbing knowledge. More than just presentations, they’ve been a medium to assist coworkers, to exchange insights, and to foster a culture of continuous learning. Every virtual interaction, every blog post, and every lightning talk reinforces the fact that, thanks to technology, distances have become negligible and our world, smaller and more interconnected. The support and encouragement from my team to voice ideas and share experiences has been invaluable, proving that every member’s insights are cherished and essential.
As another year beckons, I’m energized by our past achievements and the endless horizon of future possibilities. Physical boundaries have been rendered irrelevant, and it’s the bond of purpose, our shared mission, that keeps us united.
I would be remiss if I didn’t extend my deepest gratitude to my incredible team, knowledgeable coworkers, and supportive managers. Your guidance, camaraderie, and unwavering support have been the backbone of every success and the silver lining in every challenge.
Thank you, Microsoft, for an unforgettable two years. To my team and everyone who’s been a part of this journey, thank you for making it truly special. Here’s to many more years filled with innovation, growth, and limitless connections!