Looking back at 2018

Looking back at the year and sharing thoughts and insights into my career, blogging, social media and travelling.

A review of 2018

I think I sit here every year and say "I can't believe we are at the end of the year". It's been a good year, a lot of changes, learnings, new experiences and fun.


Back in December 2017 I handed my notice in with my employer and in January 2018 I started as a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft! It's been a whirlwind ride since joining Microsoft in January. It's always been my dream to work for Microsoft and even after 347 days as a Microsoftie I still have to pinch myself from time to time!

When I started at Microsoft everyone said that it would take a long time for me to "onboard" and feel settled and to be honest, they were right. Microsoft is a huge organisation both in the UK and globally and trying to figure out how things work, who and where to ask for help/advice, where you fit took me a good few months. Imposter syndrome was a big thing for me, however I think the turning point for me was when I attended an internal conference in Las Vegas in July. I started to feel like part of the team and started to feel less of an imposter and I had a new found confidence.

I spend a mixture of my time either on customer sites or working from home. Both have been a learning curve for me. Although in previous jobs I've travelled (I even once spent 4 weeks living in a hotel room in New Jersey, USA for work), this is the most I've ever travelled for work before. Over the course of the year I've been to Seattle, Las Vegas and a lot of towns and cities in England. In amongst my stats are some personal trips to London, New York and Tenerife with my family, but the majority was for work. Being away from your home and family for work can be hard but I'm grateful to work for a company that allows me a choice of flights and hotels that make it easier.


The working at home bit of my role has been massively challenging, I'm used to working in a office and being around people all the time. I've had to be quite disciplined about it all, making sure I have a dedicated start and finish time so that my home and work life doesn't clash and blend into one. There are days I'll start work at 7am and still be working at 8 or 9pm at night but there will also be days when I take 2 hour lunch breaks to go to the gym or catch up with friends I've missed because I've been travelling etc. It's about getting the balance and staying healthy, both in mind and body. Again I am grateful to have a leadership team and company that encourage me to have that balance.

The work that I do has been massively interesting and diverse. I've worked with customers that are bigger than I've ever had to deal with before and the topics I've covered with them have often been new to me also. But that's what I love about it, it's never dull! I've covered things like Governance, delivered training plans to help customers upskill their workforce for the Cloud, and for the last six months I've been focussed on migrations. I'm in a specialist team which has people that engage with customers on a specific topic. And the topic I focus on is migrations, migrations from on premises to Azure, migrations from another cloud to Azure, etc. I've talked to customers about the best way forward for them, shared lessons from other customers with them, helped them understand how to engage with Microsoft partners to help with migrations, the list goes on....

I'm looking forward to continuing my journey in 2019 with Microsoft and growing even more into my role and working with the awesome team that I am part of.


Back in 2016 I wrote 20 blog posts for the whole year, in 2017 I wrote 45 and this year I wrote 47. I did have a big dip in productivity and inspiration at the start of this year but after playing with where my blog was hosted (twice) and started writing again. At the start of the year my blog was on WordPress and hosted on AWS, but I then moved it to Azure and back in August I discovered Grav and haven't looked back. It's been a nice learning curve and I've got to play with Azure and Azure DevOps in the process. There are still things I'd love to implement within my blog, hopefully I'll get there.

I had a look back at the costings of having my blog on an Azure App Service Plan. It's maybe more expensive than other hosting platforms but the power behind it and the hands on learning that it gives me is invaluable.


I used Google Analytics to track some of my blog stats, and I know they can be skewed a little but looking at them I'm quite pleased to see my blog has grown compared to last year. It's encouraging to see so many metrics against last years growing and in the green. I know my page views aren't as impressive as some bloggers out there but I am pleased with what I've achieved so far:


Most visited blog posts in 2018

Looking back at the top 10 blog posts from 2018, a lot of older articles have been popular...

  1. DHCP and the PXE Boot Process Explained
  2. ConfigMgr Query for Name, Serial Number, BIOS Version, IP Address and MAC Address
  3. Veeam - NFC storage connection is unavailable
  4. Exchange 2010 EMC "Kerberos" authentication failed
  5. Retention Policy Powershell Commands
  6. Deploying Windows Update (.msu) with SCCM
  7. Find devices attached to Office 365 mail accounts
  8. ConfigMgr Query for MAC Addresses
  9. Uninstall Visio 2013 with SCCM
  10. Track basic metrics such as CPU, Disk and Memory Usage within Operations Management Suite


My first flurry into public speaking was in 2017, where I spoke at a local Glasgow event.

This year I have spoke at 3 user group/meetup events, 2 conferences, 1 webinar and 1 STEM event. According to my rough stats I've spoke in from of over 200 people. I know people who speak at tens of events each year but for me these numbers are impressive as I am naturally an introvert so speaking in public is very much outside my comfort zone. But it's all about pushing myself, sharing my knowledge and being a better version of myself.

I'm grateful to all the organizers for allowing me to speak at their events and encouraging me. You guys are all awesome and are very much appreciated within the IT community! And thank you to everyone that's attended one of my talks, you guys rock as well!

I am looking to do more speaking in 2019, and hopefully get an international event under my belt. If you are looking for speakers for your user group etc please do reach out to me, you can find the topics I can speak about on my Sessionize profile.


Glasgow Azure User Group

As you might already know I founded the Glasgow Azure User Group back at the start of 2017, it's great to see the group growing from strength to strength. We recently just hosted our 10th meetup. It's been a really great experience watching the community grow and I'm super grateful to all the sponsors, speakers and attendees for their support since the start of the journey. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings.

If you'd like to come up to Glasgow and speak please do reach out via our speaker form.

If you'd like to attend one of our events in the new year please check out the group's website, would be great to see you there!


I reached a milestone in October this year, I hit the 1,000 followers mark. A massive thank you to everyone that has followed me and engaged with me over this past year. I enjoy interacting with the community on Twitter, I personally find it very worthwhile and important for me work. However, there are times when I do withdraw from it though, to recharge my batteries or focus on my family, which I think is also important. I'd urge you all to take some time away from social media when you can and be present in the "real world" when you can, even it's only for a couple of hours to enjoy a lazy coffee and watch the world go by or ignoring it all while you are on your summer holidays.


Here's to 2019!

I'm looking forward to 2019 and the adventures and friends that it promises to bring me. As always if you have any questions or comments about what I've said please reach out to me, I can be reached on Twitter @TechieLass.