Derek Campbell comes from just outside Glasgow, Scotland. He is well known for his contribution in promoting Microsoft Azure in the UK and several countries around the World.
We were lucky to obtain a detailed interview from him with his current busy schedule, and appreciate his quick response and support. Just for the record, Derek was the second AzureCrazy fan to be interviewed on AzureCrazy.com
Derek recently achieved his MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) certification. There is no stopping him.
As you’ll gather from Derek’s interview he is a true Tech enthusiast, so let’s not waste no time and move on to the interview 🙂
Note: If you have any questions or feedback, please use the comment box towards the end of the interview. All comments are reviewed before we approve and notify the interviewee. Thanks
Derek Campbell Interview
Tell us about yourself?
I, Derek Campbell, hail from just outside of Glasgow, Scotland. I lived in London for 7 years, and then moved to Melbourne, Australia and did some work in Singapore.
I’ve worked in IT for about 15 years, but have had a passion for IT since I got my first 486 computer back in 1997 and jumped in to IRC networks pretty early on. I went from using IRC, to running IRC networks pretty quickly.
I come from a traditional Ops/System Administrator role, and moved into “DevOps” in 2012 with tools like Octopus Deploy, TeamCity and the Atlassian Suite. Since then, I’ve been slowly automating away the mundane tasks in Ops using tools like Azure DevOps, Octopus Deploy, Azure, Chocolatey etc..
I work as a Senior Solutions Architect at Octopus Deploy in the Octopus Advisory team and help our customers be successful with Octopus.
I have two chocolate labs who are brothers. I went to pick one, and couldn’t pick between them so landed up with both. They are 4 and a quarter years old and originally hail from Tasmania, Australia.
I’m a keen drone enthusiast and currently have 3 drones. I started out with a DJI Mavic Pro, and then built my own racing drone and also have a little whoop for indoors racing/tormenting my dogs and wife.
What is your greatest achievement whilst working in the world of Tech?
I think I’ve achieved quite a bit in technology in a fairly small period of time but I think I’m most proud of:
- Moving to London and then to Australia and making a success of it
- Doing lots of talks around the world. (7 countries and counting)
- NDC Talk/Workshop
- Azure Certifications
How did you get into IT?
I was quite young to IT in some ways, but old probably in comparison to today’s kids. I got my first 486 computer at 15 for Christmas and learned so much by breaking it, fixing it, breaking it, fixing it.. rinse and repeat.
I came to IT professionally a little later than most at 23 doing some personal learning and getting a help desk job, then moving to London and becoming a SysAdmin, then onto Systems Architect, DevOps, Head of Technical Services, owning my own IT contracting, and then now at Octopus. I studied Chemistry, Physics and Maths at Uni and wished I’d done Computer Science instead.
How did you get into the world of Microsoft Azure?
I’ve always been a fan of Microsoft Products, back when using Windows 95. I always leaned heavily towards Microsoft Desktop & Server OS.
I started using Microsoft Azure in 2014 when I moved to Australia to head up a team of Technical Services engineers. We had our own data centres in the UK, and it was too expensive so I jumped into Azure as it just launched in Australia and was actually at the launch event with Scott Guthrie and some others in the Sydney office.
Since then, I’ve been hooked as we move from IaaS, to PaaS to SaaS.
What are your areas of expertise? Are you still working with other Microsoft products apart from Microsoft Azure?
I’m an expert in most Azure products, but still lots of stuff to learn particularly in the AI and large computer resources.
What certifications have you achieved, or the certifications you are working towards?
AZ-900, AZ-103, and working towards a solution architect certification. I’ll be doing the 400 and 500 exams this year, and also want to do the AI-900 and DP-900.
What would you recommend for those wanting to learn Azure?
To learn Azure, the biggest recommendation I can give is to use it, use it, and use it some more. Look for internal projects you can work on as this will add some much experience, knowledge and context to Azure and how it improves the business you work for, and you as a professional.
I’d recommend doing the certifications if you can as it adds a lot of knowledge and best practise that will be invaluable to you going forward. It covers edge services you may not know about. Start with the Fundamentals exams. People often overlook them, but it’s good experience exam wise, and it also forces you to know the full stack, and why you use Cloud over On-Premises.
How do you keep up to date with the latest Microsoft Azure products?
Reddit, blogs, YouTube videos, Pluralsight, Skylines Academy, talking with other professionals & Twitter.
What would you recommend for someone who wants to become Azure certified?
Use the products. It’s the single biggest tip I can give. You will learn so much more and have better context than just reading about it. Use Microsoft Learn, Azure free resources, Microsoft Docs and other learning platforms such as Skylines. Look for internal projects that have Azure and stick your hand up for those projects if you can.
What’s your advice for someone who wants to become a public speaker but not confident, or not sure where to start?
Biggest tip I can give is to practise, practise and practise some more. The next step, just do it. Stop holding yourself back! Listen to the feedback, but don’t take all of it too heart. Some folk are horrible, and if you look at the bad all the time you will become deflated. Brush it off, move on, learn, improve and kick ass!
Encourage others as well! I do a bit at the end of my talks about Impostor Syndrome, and we all get it! Fake it until you make it!
- Talk about it with colleagues and friends
- Mentally reinforce yourself
- It’s ok not to know something.
- Don’t obsess about perfection.
- Fake it until you make it.
- Give speaking a chance, or if you know someone who wants to, encourage them.
What’s next in your Microsoft Azure journey?
I want to do my Azure DevOps and Security exams after I pass my architect exams
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
We’re not all Scott Hanselman, be yourself and improve everyday! Compare yourself to your yesterday, not to someone else’s tomorrow.
The most important question of all 😊
From a scale from 1 – 10 how crazy are you about Microsoft Azure?
End of interview
Name: Derek Campbell