Today’s one of those ‘mixed emotion’ days in that I’m both happy and a little sad to be writing that I have reached my 2500th blog post and it coincides with me moving on from my role at Microsoft after almost 20 years with the company.
I joined Microsoft in late 2000 with 10 years of software development under my belt and I can remember being very unsure whether I’d make it through the challenging first few months of the job but the endless cycle of new technology soon got a grip of me and those months quickly turned into years and decades.
In 2003, I started to experiment with this blog site and, once again, time has raced on and I find myself posting blog entry number 2500 after sixteen years writing on a wide variety of technical topics which span from the SPV Smartphone to HoloLens 2.
In 2000, I was hired into developer consultancy, working mostly behind closed doors to help UK software vendors build on the Microsoft platform. It was a role that proved to be both deep and broad within a really skilled team and it gave me great opportunities to learn. Over time, the team which was initially known as “Premier Support for Developers” ping-ponged between being part of different Microsoft organisations (i.e. Support vs Services) which was my first taste of how things can change when a re-organisation arrives 🙂
Around 2005, I made a move into developer advocacy and had a lot of fun being involved in publicly communicating Microsoft’s innovations across development languages, frameworks, tools and platforms. Those years coincided with a lot more posts to this site and to others and to doing a lot of in-person work spanning from large first and third party conferences to small user groups and events for specific companies/industries.
Once again, organisations changed around me – I was initially hired into a “DotNet Developer” (or DnD) group but in the couple of months it took to take up the role it had become the “Developer & Platform Evangelism” group (or DPE) and at a later point that morphed into a “Developer eXperience” group (or DX). I managed to mostly survive by focusing on providing a service to the end developer as the organisation around me tried to figure out whether I was “too technical”, “not technical enough” or “just right” which made for some interesting discussions 🙂
In 2018, the DX group came to an end and employees were re-organised into various roles around the company with a lot of the more code-focused people moving to a newly formed group with a mission to directly engage on development projects alongside customers/partners – the Commercial Software Engineering group (or CSE).
By that point, my path of client-side and more-personal-computing technologies had led me to be working since late 2016 with Microsoft HoloLens. I’d had a lot of fun working in .NET and Unity, showing the technology to the community via in-person events, blogging etc. and also mentoring UK companies as they enrolled in the Mixed Reality Partner Programme and I’d been lucky to get to work on some HoloLens 2 apps before the device was announced and shown at Mobile World Congress at the start of 2019.
A new role in a new division came with the tantalising promise that I could continue to code for HoloLens 2 and the Azure Mixed Reality Cloud with Microsoft’s partners and customers and that would have been great to continue and we formed a Mixed Reality team within the bounds of that wider CSE group.
In reality, finding Mixed Reality projects to work on that lined up with the mission of the CSE group proved to be quite a challenge and that led to a period of project-hunting where I felt that my time wasn’t being well used and, ultimately, that brought me to deciding to move on from the group and the company.
Microsoft has been a great home to me and, over my time, I’ve been lucky to work with a tremendous set of colleagues and to make a huge set of new friends from among the broad communities that form Microsoft’s customers, partners and the wider ecosystem.
I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ for reading these posts, coming along to events, watching videos, coding with me on projects and generally being part of my journey and I hope that I’ll catch up with some of you further on up the road as I move into the community of Microsoft alumni.
Now, with all that said, does anyone know how I pay for an Office365 subscription? 😉