Hugo Barona is a MVP, an independent contractor and Cloud Solutions Architect residing in Dublin in Ireland. Hugo has become a popular member within the Twitter tech community and is a great guy always willing to help. There are a number of techies I would like to meet at the next in person Microsoft event, and Hugo is definitely one of them. He has a massive passion for sharing knowledge and a great role model.
Hugo is also a Plural Sight author and a public speaker who has taken part in many events. Not just that, he also runs the Cloud Lunch and Learn initiative and the title says it all, it does what it say on the tin, Eat your lunch whilst learning for free. We’ll find out more about this great initiative as we move on, so let’s get started.
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Hugo Barona interview
Tell us about yourself?
I am an independent contractor and Cloud solutions architect, helping clients design, build, and implement solutions on the Cloud to achieve the expected business results. As a side job, I am a Pluralsight author, focused on creating courses related to Microsoft and Open Source technologies, and help the community to learn more about these technologies and how to use them to achieve the expected outcomes. In my free time, I try to be involved in the community, provide contributions, and build ways to enable the community to collaborate, connect, and learn together. Also, I am a huge fan of traveling, explore, and get to know new cultures, and experience the best the world and life have to offer to us.
What is your greatest achievement while working in the world of Tech?
I think we all should be proud of every accomplishment that we have in our lives, independently if it is small or big accomplishments. When I started to work in IT, I had a great manager and leader, Paulo Benjamim, that taught me that the process of solving a given problem might be more or less complicated, depending on the way we approach and solve it. And many times, he used to say: “The best way to eat an “elephant” is to cut him up into little pieces.” And I believe we can apply the same concept for accomplishments, given that significant accomplishments are composed of various small accomplishments. So, if we focus on each small accomplishment on our daily basis, without losing the vision of the big picture, we can accomplish more and faster. With all of that, I may say that one of my biggest accomplishments was the ability to decide to move from my comfort zone and hometown and come to a different country, different culture, different language, and start working to stabilize my life and get my stuff there, and of course with the support of my family and friends, but moving by myself was definitely a good hard challenge. Another great achievement is finding the opportunity to be doing what I am happy doing. I am really lucky for that.
How did you get into IT?
When I was young, my dream was to follow sports, but after talking with a coacher during high school, I quickly realized that the opportunities could be limited in my home country at that time. So, I started to think about what I like. Soon I realized that I really wanted IT, so I started to code in high school, doing a professional course at 15 years old. Then I just continued my education in IT, up to graduate at university. Then, I started to work and decided to continue studying, but this time moving to another area of my interest – management. So, I decided to do my Masters in Management and started to learn more about Management. Because in the end, we are all managers in our life. We need to manage our money, manage our time, manage our tasks, and schedule. So why not learn some management skills to improve your quality of living and potentially apply some of them in your daily job as well.
What would you recommend for someone wanting to start a career in IT?
Find your passion, even if it is in IT or somewhere else. I have met so many people moving to IT with the intention of winning lots of money and getting rich. Honestly, that’s not easy to happen, and it is not only in IT that you can achieve that. But, for sure, I know some people that they count down hours and days to go home, go on vacations, and they spend their days frustrated with their job. Do you want that for yourself? Of course, if it is a question of surviving, if you do not have any other option in terms of the profession to have a good life, then that’s fine. We all need to find a balance in life. But, if you can follow your dreams and do what you enjoy doing, then go for it, and try to find ways to succeed while doing what you like to do. If it is IT that you really like, I believe you do not need my advice to start or continue, since you have the most important factor already – passion. With that, comes naturally your commitment, your effort and everything else will happen naturally.
How did you get into the world of Microsoft Azure?
Well, a few years ago, I started to work with a client that wanted to use Cloud services. We started using some of the Amazon services, but soon we realized that we would need some Azure services as well. So, to leave things consistent and organized in a single place, we decided to use everything on Azure and it all started from there. With that, then I started to be involved more in the Azure community, did a few certifications to improve my knowledge and apply it in my daily job to get more experience on Azure.
What are your areas of expertise? Are you still working with other Microsoft products apart from Microsoft Azure?
My background is a Software Developer. I have been doing development using Microsoft and related technologies for more than 15 years. Currently, I work on my daily basis architecting, designing and implementing Cloud solutions while leveraging many Cloud technologies, including Azure Serverless, Azure Data and Azure Compute (PaaS & SaaS). (No VMs please! 😊 )
What should companies look out for before migrating their servers/apps to Azure? Is there any lessons learned that you would like to share?
There is a lot of documentation provided by Microsoft approaching all the important aspects to take into consideration when migrating to Azure, including the Cloud Adoption Framework, the Azure Well-Architected Framework and Compliance Center. So, I would recommend clients to process the documentation available, and try to identify what makes sense or not to their context.
What certifications have you achieved, or the certifications you are working towards?
So far, I have the Azure Developer Associate and Azure Solutions Architect. Now, I am looking for to get the Power Platform Solutions Architect and the IoT Developer certifications.
What would you recommend for those wanting to learn Azure from scratch? Where is a good place to start?
Use Microsoft Learn, since it is a guided learning process, and you can learn almost everything you need in the same place, without losing time searching for information, and with great quality content.
And then, of course, join us on the Cloud Lunch and Learn, and let’s enjoy lunch and learn together, or join the sessions of so many great groups you have available on Meetup and Microsoft Communities.
How do you keep up to date with the latest Microsoft Azure products?
Azure Updates feed is a great source. And then it is all about subscribing to the different mailing lists available.
What would you recommend for someone who wants to become Azure certified?
Study, commitment and you will do it, for sure. You don’t need to be a genius to do these certifications, so don’t be afraid and go for it. Start as soon as possible, because we have a natural skill to procrastinate, and leave things for tomorrow. And that’s the wrong way to start.
We noticed that you have started a new exciting initiative called Cloud Lunch and Learn. Could you please explain what this involves? And how can someone join?Cloud Lunch and Learn is an alternative way to enable the community to learn about the Cloud, while they enjoy their lunch and connect with the other Cloudies. I have been participating in the lunch and learn sessions in some of the companies I worked on, with my team, and this time I decided to create this initiative that would allow to scale it and enable the full tech community to learn, connect and have fun together.
What’s your advice for someone who wants to become a public speaker but not confident, or not sure where to start? How did you start with your first public event?
“Practice Makes Perfect”. So, whatever skill you want to master, you need to practice, and you need to start from somewhere. Cloud Lunch and Learn was created thinking as well in that perspective, to be inclusive and enable unexperienced community members to deliver sessions, to share and to develop their skills as well.
How did you become a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)?
I am a Pluralsight author, and I have been delivering online training in the last two years, so I quickly realized that all that experience would count to the MCT certification, so I decided to apply and do it.
What’s next in your Microsoft Azure journey?
Nowadays I am looking to improve my knowledge on Power Platform and implement integrations with Azure to build enterprise solutions.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
In case you want to connect with the Cloud Lunch and Learn team and collaborate with us, feel free to contact us. Our team is always happy to connect with the community, and find ways for all of us to have fun while learning more about the Cloud.
The most important question of all 😊
From a scale from 1 – 10 how crazy are you about Microsoft Azure?
Well, professionally talking, Azure is present in my daily life. Most of the times I spend more time on Azure than with my family and friends. So, may I consider it a 10? 😊
End of interview