A quick review of 2017

2017 to me was another year of personal and professional growth, and surely an exciting year. From exploring my personal preferences to acquiring new skills so stepping out of my comfort zone, this was another year of learning.

Writing the review lets me remember both the good and bad parts of 2017. It also referents over my choices and analyze outcomes. The review also sort of answers some questions people have asked me.

Community engagement

Like any of previous year, 2017 was also a year I engaged to the technology community focused on Microsoft. Community engagement gave me great opportunities to meet and learn from international experts which is hard to gain over the Internet. Not only networking and learning, the engagement is the approach to improving personal skills namely speaking and communication. When I speak at a conference, it is not only the thing I share but also the way I attract people and receive more attentions from them. The more you speak, the better your communication skill. Here is the list of events I joined as a guest speaker in 2017

The passport of mine got more stamps and the world map is more lighten with some great countries. I wish I could write my experience for every trip but the change passed by time and somehow I could not seem to have time to write.

With my effort contributed to the community, I got MVP award for another year. 2017 is the 7th consecutive year.

Besides, I created and ran a Vietnamese website called Vietnam Azure Expert Corner at http://azurevn.net where I gather Azure engineers and experts to share experiences. The articles are all written in Vietnamese. The purpose is to help Vietnam market get through Microsoft Azure by online content. Offline events will be surely organized.

In 2018 I will plan to come to some big conferences again such as European SharePoint conference, and will try to look into new countries I have never been.

Book Publishing

There were several times in the past I planned to write a technical book and published it over an online market. Perhaps I had no time for every that plan. However, I finally managed to write and publish my first commercial e-books on Amazon. I spent my free time every day both day and night to write some paragraphs. The book is about building a defensive infrastructure on Azure using defense in depth strategy. This book contains my experience with government cloud during the last 3 years in Singapore. The book was published in my 27th birthday. It is been 6 months and the total number of sold copies is 60. I received many positive feedback on how useful the book is, especially what I shared. Some of them even asked if I would write a new version with new updates.

I contacted a few international experts and authors who have published books over some famous publishers to co-author a book. My plan in 2018 will also have book authoring. I will publicly reveal it in future blog article.

Blog Writing

Writing is also my hobby. I like to write about my experience, thought or technical articles to help the community, especially my friends and colleagues who encountered something I had related experience. Moreover, online readers sent me emails asking to explain or write about something. These things inspired me pretty much so I spent my time for such a request. Below is the list of 38 helpful articles I wrote in 2017:

My articles have been shared not only by the community but also by customer’s staffs. They are helpful to explaining some technical aspects. I’m humbly excited to hear about that.

There is no reason stopping me to write. Hence, I will of course keep my hobby along in 2018.

My focus

Some people interviewed me around what I will plan to focus in 2018. Will SharePoint still be a topic? I think it’s not easy to have a concrete answer here. I will still love to work with SharePoint platform on both on-premises and cloud version. SharePoint is mature enough and the community is really big now. SharePoint adoption is not challenging today even since Office 365 went general availability. Implementing SharePoint is not just to write server-side code and package it into a WSP solution. Writing app on SharePoint today has many approaches. PHP developers can even write an app and have it function to business users on SharePoint. Hence, my focus shall be integration, maintenance and perhaps consulting work only. It means I will try to involve in any kind of cloud integration with SharePoint (e.g. Azure Function, Office 365…)

The main focus I considerably see is Microsoft Azure. If you follow my blog, you would see how many Azure related articles in 2017, especially Azure Security. I will plan to focus on cloud engineering with Microsoft Azure in 2018. The focus includes DevOps, Automation, App Architecture and Security on Azure. If time does not matter, I’d also try data stuffs on Azure.

Social Networking

I consider myself fortunate to have successfully stayed away Facebook. I don’t remember exactly when I deactivated Facebook. Facebook to me personally is a waste of time. I used to seem to be addicted to Facebook. I realized that I gave Facebook my time without gaining any value. People have their own reasons for Facebook but I have no one. Since I deactivated Facebook, I felt happier and had much more time for my focus whether family, career or new skill development. People ask me as to why I no longer use Facebook. The answer from me always is that I don’t know what I should do on Facebook. By the way, I’d recommend you to consider stopping using Facebook. If you find a reason to give Facebook your time without real benefits, you should leave it. Consider the case you use Facebook, you work for them and they pay you nothing. You are part of Facebook social network growth.

I have only two online networks right now. One is Twitter where I can tweet useful articles or read shared articles by people or companies I follow. One is LinkedIn where I develop professional connections to learn from them. I also have Quora account and answered a lot in 2017 but I didn’t often use it.

In 2018, the main social channel I join will be still Twitter and LinkedIn. I have no plan to coming back using Facebook. Here are some articles explaining why you should leave Facebook:

Lesson Learnt

Successes come from failures. I did have failures in 2017 in work or other businesses I involved. The lesson I learnt include communication skill, leadership, culture at work and other things in life. I’ve been changing to be more professional. You might not find me the one you used to know. Of course I’m still open to sharing and talking about crazy ideas and cool technology stuffs.

Lastly, wish you a Great, Prosperous, Blissful, Healthy, Bright, Delightful, Energetic and ExtremelyHappy. Happy New Year 2018.

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