Pete Gallagher Interview

Pete Gallagher is a MVP (Microsoft Most Valued Professional) and a MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer) who resides in the UK. Pete is passionate about sharing knowledge and helping support the Azure community, and that definitely shows because he is also a Pluralsight Author, public speaker and a Meetup organiser. Pete is a big believer in learning and sharing knowledge. Most importantly, he believes that you should embrace your mistakes and use them to grow and don’t think you can never do something. He is a great guy and easily approachable. When we approached Pete for an interview he was very excited about and was keen to assist. There is lots more to learn about Pete so let’s move onto his interview.

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Pete Gallagher Interview

Tell us about yourself?
My name is Pete Gallagher, I’m from England in the centre of the UK. I’m a freelance software engineer for my company PJG Creations Ltd. I’ve been programming in and around the IoT space for over 20 years. I’m also a Microsoft Azure MVP, Pluralsight Author, Public Speaker and Meetup organiser. Outside of work, I’m also a proud husband and father of two small children. When I’m not busy with everything else, I like watching Rugby, Formula 1 and anything sci-fi on tv!

What is your greatest achievement whilst working in the world of Tech?
Being awarded a Microsoft MVP is definitely one of the most recent achievements that I’m most proud of. Having the chance to speak at Microsoft’s Reading HQ was also something I was very excited to do late last year. Likewise, this year marks 10 years since I started PJG Creations, so I’m proud to have made my business work for that length of time and to have kept growing along the way.

How did you get into IT?
I’ve been programming since I was a kid, bashing in code listings from magazines on my ZX Spectrum. Infact, I published a small piece of code to a disk magazine in the early 90’s which you can find on YouTube these days!

PJG Creations Ltd IT Consultant

This was written in BASIC for a rare computer called the SAM Coupe.

However, it wasn’t until I went to college to study Electronics and Electrical Engineering that I realised that this is what I wanted to do full time.

I’m specialised into IoT because I still love to spend time creating hardware… I love creating physical things.

What would you recommend for someone wanting to start a career in IT?
Don’t worry about making mistakes… We all make those on a regular occasion, and it’s part of growing as a person and expanding our knowledge. Ask questions and have a passion for learning, always try to improve.

There are so many great resources out there to help you learn pretty much anything at all now. Microsoft have their Learn platform which is a fantastic resource; Microsoft Learn

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Pluralsight, which has a whole heap of fantastic content to help you get started on your path to IT excellency.

How did you get into the world of Microsoft Azure?
I spent the early years of my professional career coding in Assembler, creating software for the bespoke electronics found inside change machines. While I was working for that company I started creating applications for a couple of friends to help them carry out their work better. I chose Visual Basic 6 at this stage, after looking at Visual C++ and immediately discounting it!

As soon as the first version of .NET came out, I immediately switched to that of course.

What are your areas of expertise? Are you still working with other Microsoft products apart from Microsoft Azure?
I tend to specialise in the IoT area for most of my work and of course I leverage many of the fantastic IoT tools available in Azure. However, I also write and support desktop applications written in WPF using Visual Studio 2019. I’ve also work with several clients using WordPress.

What certifications have you achieved, or the certifications you are working towards?
I’ve recently been awarded several certifications including; Azure IoT Developer Speciality, Azure Developer Associate, DevOps Engineer Expert and most recently Microsoft Certified Trainer. I’m constantly learning, and there are so many great certifications out there.

What would you recommend for those wanting to learn Azure?
Once again, I’d highly recommend Microsoft Learn as the place to start for learning anything Azure. There is a vast quantity of fantastic learning paths directed at specific Azure topics, almost 800 infact!

Browse Microsoft Azure Products

Everything from fundamentals like creating an Azure account through to importing data into Azure Synapse.

How do you keep up to date with the latest Microsoft Azure products?
Twitter, LinkedIn and a few shows on Channel 9, like the fabulous IoT show with Olivier Bloch and Pamela Cortez. I’m also an Microsoft MVP, so this affords me early access to various improvements within the Azure Stack often given directly by the product groups involved… Something I’m enormously grateful for.

What would you recommend for someone who wants to become Azure certified?
As a rule, all Microsoft exams are based on the documentation and learning paths available on the Microsoft site. Studying these will put you on the right path. The new Microsoft Learn Learning Paths are a fabulous hands-on resource to teach you how everything fits together.

What’s your advice for someone who wants to become a public speaker but not confident, or not sure where to start?
There are a heap of great ways to get into public speaking. One of the closest to my heart is speaking at a Lightning Talk session. These are a fantastic way to give public speaking a go in a less pressurised or scrutinised environment. This is where I got started speaking, at a Lightning Talks session at the Meetup group I now run – .NET Notts. Onwards from that, choosing a topic you are passionate about and preferably know something about, will really help your confidence and you’ll also present more believably.

How did you become an MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional)?
I was nominated by the excellent Gosia Borzęcka. Gosia and I have known each other for a few years through the Nottingham Tech Community. Gosia supported my nomination as she saw the community work I was carrying out. I’ve extremely grateful for her support in the process!

What’s next in your Microsoft Azure journey?
I’m planning on maintaining my community activities as well as my continued learning of the Azure Stack. I’ve recently been expanding out from my core IoT Skills to look at Cognitive Services as well as DevOps so I plan to continue to explore those parts of the stack as well.

Having visited your twitter page, we noticed that you are involved with a few different ventures? What are they? And can others take part?
Quite right! I like to keep myself very busy, and I guess you can see that from my Twitter Profile. As I mentioned before I speak at events on topics around IoT on a regular basis and I really enjoy doing that.

I’m also involved in three technical Meetups in Nottingham; .NET Notts, Notts IoT and Notts Dev Workshop.

I’m also on the board of a technical networking group in Loughborough – LATi.

I’m also a new Pluralsight Author and I’m hoping to get going on my first course very soon.

I’m also an active STEM ambassador, driven by having two small children at home. I also help out at Coventry Transport Museum through a good friend Anja Keitel-Campsall who is their Family Learning Officer.

Do you have any final words of wisdom?
Love to learn, be brave and embrace your mistakes, use them to grow and don’t dare to think that you can’t do something.

The most important question of all 😊
From a scale from 1 – 10 how crazy are you about Microsoft Azure?

I’m pretty sure I instantly lose my MVP if I say anything less than 10… Is there an 11? Haha

End of interview

Name: Pete Gallagher
Websites: PJG Creations and Pete Codes
Twitter: @Pete_Codes @PJGCreations
LinkedIn: PJG Creations

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