This is the full interview from my discussion with Michael Crump in my weekly (free!) newsletter, The .NET Stacks. Consider subscribing today to get this content right away! Subscribers don’t have to wait two weeks to receive the content.
If you’ve worked on Azure, you’ve likely come across Michael Crump’s work. He started Azure Tips and Tricks, a collection of tips, videos, and talks—if it’s Azure, it’s probably there. He also runs a popular Twitch stream where he talks about various topics.
I caught up with Michael to talk about how he got to working on Azure at Microsoft, his work for the developer community, and his programming advice. (We talk Silverlight, but only in passing—no need to click away.)
My crack team of researchers tell me that you were a former Microsoft Silverlight MVP. Ah, memories. Do you miss it?
Ah, yes. I was a Microsoft MVP for 4 years, I believe. I spent a lot of time working with Silverlight because, at that time, I was working in the medical field and a lot of our doctors used Macs. Since I was a C# WinForms/WPF developer, I jumped at the chance to start using those skillsets for code that would run on PCs and Macs.
Can you walk me through your path to Microsoft, and what you do at Microsoft now?
I started in Mac tech support because after graduating college, Mac tech support agents were getting paid more than PC agents (supply and demand, I guess!). Then, I was a full-time software developer for about 8 years. I worked in the medical field and created a calculator that determined what amount of vitamins our pre-mature babies should take.
Well, after a while, the stress got to me and I discovered my love for teaching and started a job at Telerik as a developer advocate. Then, the opportunity came at Microsoft for a role to educate and inspire application developers. So my role today consists of developer content in many forms, and helping to set our Tier 1 event strategy for app developers.
What is the coolest thing about Azure for developers that not a lot of folks know about?
There are a ton of free services that you can run forever without paying a dime such as a web app. Of course, there are limitations such as it using a shared instance, no deployment slots or custom domains, and so on. But they are still handy for those smaller projects.
Do you have any projects you’ve been working on that you want to show off?
I’d lean on two projects:
- Azure Tips and Tricks, where I write bit-sized tips weekly and anyone can contribute.
- Live coding on Twitch, where I get to interact with the community live and bring on awesome guests.
Tell us a little about Azure Tips and Tricks. What motivated you to get started, and how can people get involved?
Azure Tips and Tricks was created because I’d find a thing or two about Azure, and forget how to do it again. It was originally designed as something just for me but many blog aggregators starting picking up on the posts and we decided to go big with it—from e-books, blog posts, videos, conference talks and stickers.
The easiest way to contribute is by clicking on the Edit Page button at the bottom of each page. You can also go to http://source.azuredev.tips to learn more.
What made you get into Twitch? What goes on in your channel?
I loved the ability to actually code and have someone watch you and help you code. The interactivity aspect and seeing the same folks come back gets you hooked.
The stream is broken down into three streams a week:
- Azure Tips and Tricks, every Wednesday at 1 PM PST (Pacific Standard Time, America)
- Live Interviews with Developers, every Friday at 9 AM PST (Pacific Standard Time, America)
- Live coding/Security Sunday streams, Sundays at 10:30 AM PST (Pacific Standard Time, America)
What is your one piece of programming advice?
I actually published a list of my top 12 things every developer should know.
My top one would probably be to learn a different programming language (other than your primary language). Simply put, it broadens your perspective and permits a deeper understanding of how a computer and programming languages work.