Joe Carlyle from Ireland is an Azure MVP, and Principal Azure Solution Architect at Evros Technology Group in Dublin. Joe is a well known figure among the Twitter Tech community and also a contributor to @TechNetUK and @MSDevUK
Joe also forms part of the team who run the Azure Spring Clean initiative. The idea of this event is to promote well managed Azure tenants. To achieve this, Joe has over twenty community driven articles published on the Azure Spring Clean website that highlight best practices, lessons learned, and help with some of the more difficult topics of Azure Management. Here is a screen shot of what was published in 2020. If you wish to visit the articles, please visit the Azure Spring Clean website found towards the end of the interview.
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Joe Carlyle Interview
Tell us about yourself?
Joe Carlyle, Ireland. I’m the Principal Azure Solution Architect with Evros Technology Group. I’ve been working in IT since I left college, though it took me some time to get the college piece right, I have a degree in Economics!
What is your greatest achievement whilst working in the world of Tech?
While I’d be hesitant to call it an achievement, my greatest highlight is being awarded as a Microsoft MVP. When it happened, and if I am honest, still to this day it feels surreal. I can see the award trophy from my desk and it always gives me a smile! The community itself is brilliant and it is a daily privilege to be a small part of it.
How did you get into IT?
I always loved computers of all kinds as a kid. From my commodore 64 to our first home PC with Windows 3.1 I was hooked. For some reason, I thought it wasn’t a career choice and went a different route in college. Thankfully, I was able to take some time out after my degree to figure things out, I then went back and completed a masters in IT and was lucky to be part of a summer internship, I did well and was offered a junior role. The rest, as they say, is history!
What would you recommend for someone wanting to start a career in IT?
Work hard, there are no easy roles in IT. Keep learning, IT changes fast. Show initiative and caution, always hold your hand up and own your mistakes.
Should all individuals wanting to start a career in Tech, setup a tech blog? Did your blog assist you in your career?
There are so many different skillsets in IT. I don’t think blogging is for everyone. If you would like to start blogging and aren’t sure where to start, why not think of it as a reference journal for yourself? Blog useful things you have found or used within your job. If you like it, expand to posting useful things for everyone else.
How did you get into the world of Microsoft Azure?
I was working with the early version of Microsoft 365 as part of a previous job. This naturally led to an interest into the rest of Microsoft’s cloud offerings. My background has always been apps and infrastructure so Azure sparked my interest straight away. While it was nice to be involved early in its life cycle, it wasn’t until Azure switched to ARM that I think it became as important as it is now.
What are your areas of expertise? Are you still working with other Microsoft products apart from Microsoft Azure?
From the time to time, I still do some work on Microsoft 365, but that’s rarer these days. I tend to try work on tech or services I don’t have experience with. I am strong at learning by doing and figuring out how something works, it’s really satisfying. Being able to say you learned something new at the end of the day is always rewarding.
What certifications have you achieved, or the certifications you are working towards?
To keep it modern, I currently have the following Azure certifications:
- Solution Architect
I also have the older certs, some 365 certs and some Citrix certs. Right now, I will continue to renew the above certifications, but nothing else has caught my eye to sit next. That may change depending on which new/updated exams are introduced.
What would you recommend for those wanting to learn Azure?
Azure is vast, you need to pick an area of use. For example, Data. Once you have your area, checkout Microsoft Learn to get started. Then see what Microsoft Role Based Certifications are available that match your expectations and focus on achieving that via whatever exams are necessary. You need to become comfortable with self-learning if you want to be successful and stay up to date with Azure.
How do you keep up to date with the latest Microsoft Azure products?
I keep an eye on some Microsoft RSS feeds, I am very active on Twitter (@wedoAzure) and I follow some fellow tech community peeps on their blogs. The basic announcement is always nice, but I really enjoy reading how people think they will use a service.
What would you recommend for someone who wants to become Azure certified?
Don’t let Azure daunt you. As I’ve said, it is vast. Nobody expects or could possibly be an expert on the entire platform. However, you have got to really focus on your area and continuously keep up to date. That doesn’t mean every day or even week, but if you haven’t used a service for a while, go check out Docs to see if/what has changed. The certification paths are now designed to be role-based, they should reflect the day-to-day tasks a person would carry out in that role. As such, you need hands on experience to pass the exams. You cannot pass with reading/video watching alone. Get stuck in!
What’s your advice for someone who wants to become a public speaker but not confident, or not sure where to start?
This can be one of the more challenging parts of an IT career and it is absolutely not for everyone. I personally enjoy it as I like the interaction and you do get a buzz of excitement delivering a live talk. The effort required to deliver a successful talk/presentation will always be underestimated the first time you try, don’t let that put you off. Plan and prepare everything and try speaking twice. You will know then if it is something for you or just not your style.
How did you become an MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional)?
I was made aware of the program by some FTEs in the Irish office and received a nomination based on the community work I had been doing. I’ve never actually blogged about my journey, but it’s similar to what you will read about from other MVPs. The advice is always this, if you set out to earn the award, you will burnout. Work to help the community, blog, vlog, present, code, run user groups – whatever it is that works for you. If you are passionate about it, the community will notice and and hopefully that includes an MVP who’d like to nominate you. TLDR: put the effort into the community, not earning the award.
What’s next in your Microsoft Azure journey?
Right now, I don’t know what’s next for me and Azure. Earlier this year I had planned on focusing on services like AKS. However, I just simply haven’t had the time. Once I figure out what it is I want to do next, my approach is always the same:
Read it, build it, explain it.
If you can do all three, you’re well on your way to getting it right!
End of Interview