Reflective thoughts on 2018 and a look ahead at 2019

With 2018 now being basically over, its time to reflect a bit, and well lets say that overall in the grand scheme of things it’s been a pretty good year.

Like any year there’s been ups, there’s been downs, there’s been lots of travel, laughter, tears, sun, rain etc etc. All in all, it’s safe to say that there’s been a bit of everything this year.

 

2018 will for many reasons stick out to me for years to come as the year that started building the foundations for my upcoming thirties, and yes you did read that right, upcoming thirties, and here are some of the reasons why (in no specific order, mainly because I could not decide on how I should order them)

  1. I’ve cut down my alcohol intakes by an amount that I am happy with and also started improving other areas of life including my diet, and hopefully other areas of health should improve over time, time will tell as they say.
  2. Got my own place, although I am still renting, I currently don’t share with anyone else which has already been immensely beneficial for my long term mental health. Don’t get me wrong living with someone is fantastic, if they are the right person that is, something that my last house share really hit home on in the weeks prior to leaving with living with someone that had less that basic levels of hygiene and cleanliness and left things like public hair on toilet seats and in the shower, and not just little bits but a serious amount of it, that I never want to share with someone I don’t already know again, if I don’t have to. However it does mean I am the only one doing the dishes and all other cleaning, but that’s something that I can happily live with, as I find cleaning rather therapeutic. This will mean that I will start get back into enjoying cooking and baking, something that I have not felt overly comfortable over the years whilst living in shared housing for above reasons. and this is something that in 2019 hopefully will change. Also, not many will have known this other than those close to me, but I was unintentionally homeless at the beginning of 2018, something that I was deemed at being without need from 2 different councils, and this is something so this signifies a major pso
  3. Got myself a car again, which makes life 100x easier and allows me the ability to improve other aspects of live in 2019, including taking up some form of martial arts and going swimming regularly. How well that goes will need to be seen but that’s a part of the plan, at least for now, I wonder how many miles I will do in travelling in 2019, and I am sure there’s some form of tracking app for that out there, this isn’t something that I have actually looked into further, so suggestions would be appreciated.
  4. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people at Dotmailer and look forward to seeing how the future unfolds for the team there as they have a fantastic product and a lot of fantastic staff there and I am so appreciative of how they continue to support the UK PowerShell Community. Also through some of the employee schemes I had managed to get myself a basic but functional electric guitar and some amazing Sennheiser Momentum over ear Bluetooth Heaphones at a sizeable amount off the total cost. Both have been getting good use but that will increase in future.
  5. The UK PowerShell Community has gone from strength to strength and has an extremely positive look out ahead for 2019, with more and more events springing up follow @getpsuguk for further updates & join our community at https://slofile.com/slack/get-psuguk to get chatting with like minded UK PowerShellers especially as we have planning ongoing for PSDay which should be an amazing day. More coming on PS Day early/mid January and you can stay up to date with it at https://twitter.com/psdayuk
  6. I’ve joined an awesome team at Black Marble and whilst it’s only been a very short time in the grand scheme of things I can see the role I am in at Black Marble entailing a lot of fun times as well as many technical challenges as well, and as I’ve already found out (and already really knew) the team here is filled with awesome individuals, that have really helped me feel at home, at least in a professional sense. We have an awesome set of highly intellectual individuals which makes for a lot of fun and interesting conversations in the office, that often leave me thinking that I need to pick up one of the many books that we have on the shelves, because you never know when you need to now all the inners of XML from the biggest book we have in the office. That thing is HUGE.
  7. I feel I have managed to kick the bit of Writers block that I had previously had (can you tell from this post lol) and I expect that in the coming months I will be doing a lot more blog writing, some of it on this blog and also on another blog that I am spinning up, called mhasl.me, which stands for Mental Health Affects Someone Like Me, as a place for those that suffer, or support those that suffer, with any forms of Mental Health to be able to come and write about it from their personal experience. This is part of a personal long term goal to break down the stigma of talking/writing about #mentalhealth and I envision that this site could end up becoming a go to for anyone suffering with various aliments of mental health to see that you can have less than perfect mental health and that you can still be extremely successful in life/ Expect to see me blog on here about the technical side of the site including the reasons for making the technical choices that I made for the site, as well as the running and management of this going forward and also blogging over on there over there for a long foreseeable future. I am in process of getting the site all setup atm but you can follow the twitter account I have set up – http://twitter.com/mhasl_me for updates when the site goes live and more details about what I expect the site to be all about in future, including, but not limited to, contributing, moderating and providing an input into the direction of this project.
  8. This year I finally gave Android another go in September when I upgraded to a Huawei P20 Pro, after my last Android the Sony x10 mini was far from impressive but that could have been down to the form factor of the phone more than the OS, and I am in a mixed camp between liking it and potentially moving back to iOS or as is actually likely to happen I might go for a multi device solution once again, something that I will further ponder in the upcoming months.
  9. I have further diversified my taste in music and this year has seen me more into my house/trance than ever before. I’m a big believer that diversifying the media you consume can be immensely beneficial and will be looking forward to seeing what Spotify starts to suggest for me in the New Year and as I have already got a new large Discover Weekly Archive playlist that I make use of IFTTT to put each weekly playlist into an a single playlist that will be something that I no doubt enjoy listening to as I now have over 3 days of potential content to consume I will give it my best to get through in a week or two.
  10. Some other areas of personal life are starting to have a better outlook ahead and fingers crossed for how 2019 will pan out in these, those close to me know that paperwork takes time to be completed, but it does and will get completed.
  11. Probably most important of all points from 2018, is that I’m starting to feel more genuinely content with where I am at in this stage of my life, whilst this doesn’t explicitly mean I am genuinely happier in all aspects of life, in the majority of them I am starting to feel at ease of where I am with them vs where I want to be at and a lot of that has been down to accepting and understanding that for certain things to change takes time and that I need to be more open to planning out sensibly about the actual timelines than I had been previously. This doesn’t mean that there’s not things that I want to improve on that would help me feel more content, but that’s all things that I can work on, at least in time. Therapy may / may not be something that appears in my future, this is something that I am still on the fence about.

So that’s enough about 2018, what about 2019 and what do I envision for the year ahead.

  1. 2019 will be filled with writing, more writing and more writing. Part of this will be down to the blogging that I intend to do, but also in my role we end up doing write ups for our clients, this means that I will be doing much more with my writing and looking at improving how I write going further into 2019, perhaps that might be something that I end up writing further about, fancy that eh? But nonetheless, I am looking forward to smashing the writers block and properly get back into the swing of writing once again.
  2. 2019 will be filled with more coding, which also equals more writing, this time I likely will be learning new languages/reacquainting myself with prior languages, like for example PHP which is fitting considering the technical work I am doing with mhasl, which I will write up more on in future as well.
  3. 2019 will be filled with more tech, and more innovative use of tech. I can say that this will likely be a big year for new forms of hardware and software with the likes of Hololens now getting some more traction and how Q# the Quantum computing Language is getting some more traction as well. There are also a number of other areas that are getting more traction in tech including Terraform and the other technologies from Hashicorp.
  4. 2019 will be filled with travel, again this is not just because in my role I travel to clients on sites but also that I will be doing more and more travel for the community work that I do as well. I expect I will be travelling around the UK a large amount for the PowerShell Community but also for other community endeavours as well, good thing I recently got a car again eh ūüėČ
  5. 2019 will be filled with learning, mainly technical but also in learning more about myself and in general just learning more about lots of non-technical items as well, because life is a long journey all about learning and it’s not something that I ever intend on stopping.
  6. 2019 will be driven by Data and AI, and a significant amount of my time will be put into attending more and more Data events including Data In Devon (formally SqlSaturday Exeter) , DataScotland and also DataGrillen which I am really looking forward to. It will be nice to just attend events like these and not be either presenting or organising them and I look forward to catching up with a number of great friends in the #SQLFamily at these events.
  7. 2019 will be much more filled with reading, and by reading I don’t mean Technical reading, but more actual book reading and I’ve recently started reading this – The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett and I can say that I will likely be reading a lot more of the books by him, as they are very well written and touch on an area that really interests me, the human brain. Dean is a neuroscientist so these books come from someone that really understands the science behind how our brains work, I intend in future to post small articles recommending books that I have read and enjoyed as well. I am also taking suggestions on what to read and if you feel you really want me to read it, especially if it’s technical, then feel free to send a copy to me directly at the Black Marble office, where I am sure we can also add it to the bookshelf, though for non technical please send me a suggestion either via a comment on here or via a DM on twitter.
  8. 2019 will be filled with more physical activities, like swimming, running and also a lot more countryside exploring, I mean I live in Yorkshire and within a 50 mile radius of me there is the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales so there’s plenty to see, visit and explore and now that I have a car that is something that I intend on doing more and more.
  9. 2019 will be filled with laughter and also tears. Like any year there will be ups and there will be downs. That is something that will not ever change, don’t kid yourself if you think you can have 1 without the other, at least not for too long, especially as tears can be both positive and negative, and could come from laughing too much, which is almost always a good thing.
  10. 2019 will be filled with more gigs – I did not do much gigging in 2018 or even 2017/2016/2015 and that’s something that I will be looking to change. I already have bought tickets to Metallica in Manchester ( I do have a spare atm but that’s more for planning reasons than needing more than the 1 as you never know what will happen between now and then) and I have others lined up that I intend on getting tickets for including Leeds, Download to name a few.
  11. 2019 will include more music, both as a consumer and also a creator. I envision that I will be spending some considerable time getting back to grips with the guitar and getting lessons to get better as so that I can play more of my favourite tracks and also start perhaps creating some of my own, who know’s whether that’ll lead anywhere more than just to a bit more diversity in my hobbies, which is never a bad thing.
  12. 2019 will be difficult, there will be more and more upset in the world due to everything that is going on in the political world. Some of this will affect us in ways that we could not have envisioned but one thing will stay the same, the fact that we can get through the turbulence and come out the other side. Please don’t let any political differences change how you interact with others ahead, especially friends and family, views can and should be different, which leads for the possibility of healthy debates.

All in all I think that’s about all for now but I know that with 2018 almost over with, 2019 is looking to be a more prosperous and the beginnings of a very interesting future ahead.

Leave a comment or tweet me on twitter at @ryanyates1990

Re-Awarded MVP for the Third Year Now, time for some reflective thoughts

I nearly didn’t start writing this mainly as I’ve found it difficult to get back into writing, let alone be in the right mindset to want to write at all. This partially stemmed out from struggling with injury last year. Thankfully, 2018 has been much much kinder to me, and I’m glad to say I am no longer struggling with at least the physical injury, that aside I intend to start getting back into the rhythm of writing once again, something that should come more and more frequently over the upcoming weeks and months.

 

That being said, this time around I want to reflect on how I came into the MVP Program, and specifically around how this has positively affected my life and those around me, both closely and those perhaps not so close, both in physical proximity and in my ever growing reach of my networks as they have grown over the last 3 MVP Award Cycles.

 

My journey to becoming a Microsoft MVP came early on into my IT career, but also in comparison to many around me, my IT career is relatively short, in which I have only been in active IT based roles since December 2012, a little over 5 & half years, but in that time I have been extremely lucky in some of the roles that I have managed to be able to work in, whether that be working for organisations like Barclays & University of Manchester, or being a part of the Organisation team for the 2016 PSConf EU event, or being able to revive the UK PowerShell User Group Community, and as a recognition of the community work I have done I was Awarded the MVP Award in April 2016 as can be read about in the preceding posts https://blog.kilasuit.org/2016/04/01/congratulations-2016-microsoft-mvp/ –¬† https://blog.kilasuit.org/2016/04/01/fooled-ya-today-i-became-a-mvp/ & perhaps the more serious https://blog.kilasuit.org/2016/04/07/awarded-the-mvp-award-what-this-means-to-me-and-the-future-for-the-community/¬† as well as my renewal thoughts last year https://blog.kilasuit.org/2017/07/04/mvp-award-renewal-time-my-renewal-new-recent-mvps so it was only natural at some point I would write something similar this year.

 

However the journey in the years leading to becoming a Microsoft MVP came at a time things were chaotic, to say the least, in my personal life & I knew from my interest in understanding Psychology & my own Mental Health, something that I’ve been focused in learning more and more about since my early teens, that I needed something that was not only consistent in life, but something that I could really push at and find passion in. That something has consistently been centred around my working life, with a huge part of my working life requiring more in depth knowledge of a service or services which actually really boils down to my thirst for expanding my knowledge in a wide variety of areas, technology is just one of many of these areas, as mentioned above, but it is the one I have centred my career around.

 

My desire to learn, a desire that hasn’t disappeared and likely never will, pushed me down a path that forced me, or more accurately actively encouraged me, to apply a fair amount of time & effort into not only getting into the IT communities centred around the area I was in at the time (2012-2014 means predominantly SharePoint) but to also expand outside of those communities as well into areas including but not limited to, SQL Server, web development and more later on and approaching 2015 time frame, the PowerShell Community.

It was at this point I made 1 single choice, a choice that at the time was essentially a huge gamble for me, and this was played in part due to the fact that I was struggling at the time, as i said previously things were personally chaotic, and due to the chaos I was undergoing I ended up suffering with a case of social anxiety, which was brought on by the immense stress that I was undergoing at the time. This would then occasionally lead to me having small outbreaks of mild but distressing panic attacks. These would typically happen in crowded places like Shopping Centres, Train Stations, and later on at User Groups and Conferences. However they initially only happened so sporadically that I took very little notice of them, but as time progressed they became more and more common and with that they also got more intense.  but I quickly learnt coping mechanisms to manage them. I could have taken myself to the doctors and got some form of prescription of anti-anxiety medications, which mainly tend to be of the benzodiazepine family, or referred myself to for some counselling, which looking back I could have really done with at times over the years, even if it was just as a further helping hand to get me through everything.

Let this be the beginning, of what will be a long reflective look on the troubles of the past, and of the troubles that lie aheadm with  more to come in the

#TalesToDewsbury

New-Job -Role Consultant -Company ‘Black Marble’ -Start September

Well the Title says it all in as few words as possible but I wanted to just expand briefly on this new chapter.

As of the beginning of September I will be leaving dotmailer after a fantastic 6 months here and this was a decision that was not easy to make as there are many interesting & exciting things happening at dotmailer in the upcoming few years & as such they are currently undergoing a huge increase in their tech team, I would reccommend that if you are looking for a new role in the London/Croydon area & are interested in DevOps and working with a predominantly all Azure environment to have a look at the roles that they have advertised at http://careers.dotmailer.com for further information. I will miss the team at dotmailer as it’s a very good working environment, has some interesting benefits and has a very interesting future ahead of them.

That may lead you to ask, why leave? Well the answer to that comes down to only a very small few factors, with the main one being that as much as I have enjoyed London and Croydon, I am a more comfortable being based in a more country like surrounding. So with this in mind the move to Black Marble made a lot of personal sense in that regard as well as alot of professional sense as I will be working along side some other familiar UK MVP faces, including Rik Hepworth (twitter) Richard Fennel (twitter) Andy Dawson (twitter) James Croft (twitter) James Mann (twitter) & MVP & RD Robert Hogg (twitter) – These are just a few of the people at Black Marble and I am looking forward to working very closely with Chris Gardner (twitter) on more and more PowerShell for the community in the upcoming months.

Alas this also means I will be moving back up north which means that the Manchester PowerShell User Group will at some point in the upcoming months be totally resurrected.

I am extremely excited for the future and what it brings, although there are still some things that are not solidified yet, like where exactly I am moving to, what I am looking forward to is getting stuck in to this exciting challenge.

There were a few people that I had some conversations with about this prior to making the decision, the benefits of having a trusted network as always is critical to making good sensible decisions like this one, and those conversations were immensely beneficial to me in coming to the end decision.

I will miss the team at dotmailer as it has been a fantastic time here, including (attempted) weekly games of football, which will be one of many things that I will miss, though I don’t expect to be too much of a stranger to the team in the upcoming months with PSDay and the other London User Groups ahead.

So without much further to add, Let the immense fun sarcasm of moving commence, hopefully this will be a last move for some time to come.

Info Share about PSDayUK 2018 – Call for Speakers, Ticket availability & Upcoming Call for Sponsors.

This year, we as the collective behind the UK PowerShell & DevOps User Groups, are running the second PSDayUK event, the only Conference that is totally Dedicated to PowerShell here in the UK & will be held on October 10th at CodeNode, London. You can find more info about at PSDay.UK including being able to purchase tickets & the eventual schedule once published in the upcoming weeks.

We will constantly be releasing information about PSDay as we approach the time for the event via various methods of social media including via our Twitter Account @psdayuk which I would highly recommend you follow if you want to be kept in the loop of what is coming to PSDay.

To give a little bit of background, PSDay is the conference brand of the UK PowerShell & DevOps User Groups, for more information on the UK PowerShell & DevOps User Groups please see PowerShell.org.uk and PSDay is currently planned at being an annual event much like the bigger PSConf EU, PSConf Asia and US PowerShell & DevOps Summit events, and whilst each of the bigger events are multi-day events PSDay at present is a singular day event, although the format of the event may change in future, this is something that the organising team are keeping in mind for future events.

With this in mind this year we are running PSDay as a dual parallel track conference, where we a solid idea of what we are intending the tracks to contain to cater all skill sets based on what we’ve learnt as part of running consistent monthly User Groups in London and whilst there is a HUGE variety of topics that could be delved into with PowerShell we have seen a reoccurring theme with the User Group over recent months.

This means that we have been more selective in the ideas behind what sort of topics that we are looking for this year with a view to have topics along the following lines

Track Name Track Focus Suggested topics
The many components of the PowerShell Language All things related to the PowerShell Language Debugging, Classes, Remoting, Performance, WMI/CIM, Pester, PSScriptAnalyzer, DSC, Workflow,  Using .NET in PowerShell & anything centred around the Core PowerShell language that can be useful for all skill sets.
Using PowerShell as the Glue of Automation All things Automation Automating any Technology from any device installed anywhere, Azure, AWS, GCloud, Office 365, Microsoft Graph, VSTS, GitHub, PowerShell Gallery, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL Server & more

 

The idea behind the first track, ‘The many components of the PowerShell Language’, is that those that are new to PowerShell, and even those of us that have been using PowerShell for years, can come into this track and take away a wide variety of knowledge about the core parts of the PowerShell Language that comes from a more general use perspective, which would allow attendees to be able to take away and expand on what attendees learn in this track in their own times and is expected to be of a more generalist track where the skills learned can be then taken and used across an enormous number of technologies.

 

The idea behind the second track, ‘Using PowerShell as the Glue of Automation’, is to be much more centred around using PowerShell with specific technologies & is more more likely to be the track for those that want the more technically¬† for those people that are either well into their DevOps journeys & are already using many differing DevOps Practices and perhaps looking at further expansion of their skill set or are looking at replacing existing or embedding additional technologies within their organisations.

The Call for speakers form is located at PSDay Session Submissions & we are looking for sessions for topics as listed above and to be of 60 minutes in length. We currently have a cut of date of July 31st for sessions and I would highly suggest that any potential sessions you may want to submit be submitted quickly. I would also suggest that the abstract you submit does not need to be perfect but does need to give us as organisers the ability to pick and choose topics from all the submissions. The reason for this is that we will come back to chosen speakers, based on topic & technology and come back to them to confirm/polish off their abstract in the early weeks of August, prior to publishing the schedule by beginning of September.

We are also currently in the process of working out what sponsorship packages of the event will look like and I would say until we release a further post on what these look like if your organisation would be interested in sponsoring PSDay then please reach out to me in this interim period, whilst we iron out what the sponsorship package would look like, and we have already been approached by a few sponsors so this will be coming along very soon.

I am looking forward to PSDay & I am looking forward to seeing you there as either, an attendee, a speaker or a sponsor.

If you have any questions at all please reach out and I’d be happy to answer