Hi! I'm Alex Mang, Azure MVP, fitness enthusiast (another way of saying that I like to brag about things I don't do often enough), tech savvy cloudee and the one to question many things. I'm originally from Romania and more specifically from Transylvania, though if you ask my friends it would seem that I mostly live out of my luggage as I travel so much.
At heart, I'm a software developer and I strongly believe I will always be a software developer. My utopia world is one where AI and software handles "things" and human beings live their lifes to understand the bigger purpose of their existence, they spend their time learning, understanding, teaching, sharing wisdom and knowledge and knowing the world. That’s probably the reason for why I'm so fond of teaching Azure, engaging with communities all over the world, developing AI based apps and promoting technologies which requires close to zero human interaction, such as serverless.
Fifteen years ago, when I started as a software developer, the possibilities were limited in comparison to what we're offered today by providers and vendors such as Microsoft, and yet I somehow miraculously still managed to develop robotic applications, embedded systems, AI on top of CCTV solutions, mobile, desktop and web applications alike.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting their career in IT, what would you tell them?
Don't hesitate, always question everything and never stop researching - the moment you start to feel you know 'things', you're ready to go from the 'spelling book' further to more advanced patterns and underlying infrastructures. Also, if I've learned one thing throughout my career that is that everything which seems new is, most likely, a reimplementation of a very old pattern which has been around 'forever'.
How do you stay up to date with changing technologies and updates?
Blogs, e-mail distribution lists with my peers, meetups and certainly (sometimes even primarily) conferences or conference live streaming. Take Microsoft Ignite for example - if you're running a Microsoft stack, before Microsoft Ignite you didn't hear about Docker, Mesosphere, Kubernetes, Kafka and many more. All these open-source technologies which were exclusively for Linux experts back in the day are nowadays available for your .NET applications as well. Without events such as Microsoft Ignite, it's almost impossible to keep up with the advancements Microsoft and other technology vendors are doing.
How has IT changed since you first started your career?
When I learned about software programming, I was developing simple DOS-based games written in BASIC. I saw my father use C++ and my mom develop schematics for FPGA boards - from there to developing real GUI applications and smart device projects for my Pocket PC (if you don't know what a Pocket PC was, please Bing for it) was a small step for me, but a huge leap for my career.
From there to 2018, IT has changed unbelievably much. In fact, I'm a strong believer that today's software development can be easily compared to LEGO blocks - the most difficult part today is to keep track of all the blocks you've got.
What advice would you give to a first-time Microsoft Ignite attendee?
Take advantage of all the smart people there, whether they are keynote speakers, presenters or fellow attendees - networking is key. Attending all the sessions is impossible, not even if you filter the agenda strictly to your interests. Hence, meeting new people, asking questions and attending meetups, focus groups and Q&A meetings is key. Also, make sure you register to as many product group meetings as you can - Microsoft usually sends out targeted e-mails and these small gatherings won't be listed on the agenda. These are fabulous opportunities to break the ice and get a direct contact which will be more than happy to help out with your blockers.
What are you packing for Microsoft Ignite?
Comfy shoes, that's for sure. Most likely a white shirt for each day, as I usually do.
Energy bars may also come in handy - not because there wouldn't be enough food at the various locations at Microsoft Ignite, but simply because I'm planning on networking and skipping meals.
Also, some garlic - you never know when you may come across a fellow Transylvanian vampire.
Why should people follow you for Microsoft Ignite coverage?
Look, you don't have to.
But if you've got questions which need answers, I promise I'll do my best to get them answered. Post them to me on my Twitter feed or DM them directly and I'll do my best to get the right person to answer them.
Besides that, my coverage will be about fun, friends and technology - I'm planning on covering announcements, interviews on serverless, AI, PaaS, security and more and lastly, I also want to interview YOU! So if you want to be on the channel, DM me and you will be famous.