Introducing Rik Hepworth - Microsoft Ignite Community Reporter

Rik Hepworth

Hi I'm Rik Hepworth and in my day job as Chief Consulting Officer at Black Marble I run the consulting team which spans a range of technologies and services. I am extremely fortunate to work for an organisation that believes strongly in engaging with the community which means that I am often found at conferences and community events, and which led to my MVP award in Azure. Over the years I’ve worn many different hats, from the guy who manages the desktops and servers, through SharePoint and now cloud and Azure Stack. I’m most comfortable helping my customers with architectural, technology choice and governance issues – I’m not a developer so don’t ask me to code, although my PowerShell-fu isn’t bad.




Outside work I suppose I fit the geek stereotype of sci-fi loving, lego-building, gamer, and I’m happy to engage in discussion on any of those topics. I was lucky as a student to meet the people who managed the University’s fledgling PC network (yes, I’m that old) and was allowed to get involved whilst still an undergrad. I spent many years post-graduation working as part of the team and it exposed me to pretty much all aspects of running a large organisation’s computing service, from network cabling and comms through to infrastructure management and end-user support. That was a great foundation for my current role as it gives me a good understanding of and respect for the people that I now engage with.


I've never found another Rik Hepworth so type that into your favourite search engine. You can follow me on:

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting their career in IT, what would you tell them?

If you’re just starting in IT, now is a great time to join. There’s a real push to mature as an industry with topics such as inclusion and professionalism attracting a great deal of welcome attention. The most important thing is to keep learning! Engage with the community, learn from your peers and share what you learn to help others. Never be afraid to ask for help – not knowing something is never a sign of weakness – and never be afraid to admit a mistake and take advice on how to fix it. Always remember that even if you focus on one particular technology or area of our industry, a basic understanding of the whole thing can be incredibly useful. Finally, always remember that our industry is built on people and your social skills are essential to helping you progress in whatever role you choose.


Oh, wait, you said one...


How do you stay up to date with changing technologies and updates?

Keeping up is hard, especially these days. Having said that, there are so many great channels these days that didn't exist when I was just starting. Twitter keeps me abreast of new announcements; RSS feeds pulled into Outlook and Teams channels show me longer articles from people I respect; conferences and community events allow me to learn from and engage with my peers; I am also fortunate that my position as an MVP gives me access to several invaluable channels of information.

How has IT changed since you first started your career?


Computing has changed hugely since I started! Who remembers add-on cards with jumpers for port and interrupt? The joys of making config.sys give that extra few kilobytes of RAM? Or managing networks that ran on IPX and NetBIOS? Some things are much easier these days, but what hasn’t changed is the thrill of trying a new technology or getting different things to work together successfully. I love that about our industry – always changing, never stationary.


What advice would you give to a first-time Microsoft Ignite attendee?

Look carefully at the sessions. Make sure you attend the ones where you have questions you want answered and don’t be afraid to ask them. You can watch the ones you’re merely interested in later – they’re recorded! Exploit the expo – it’s full of very knowledgeable people who want your feedback on their products as much as you want their help with your questions, so go and talk to them. In fact, talk to anybody and everybody because that’s the thing that you can’t get anywhere else – thousands of people who love what you love, do what you do and are motivated enough to attend a major conference to learn.


What are you packing for Microsoft Ignite?

Well, normally I’d say as little as possible. My trusty Surface Pro means that I only need it and a USB cable to charge my phone! However, because of my wonderful role as a Community Reporter my kit now includes microphones, battery packs, storage devices and more so that I can create great content for you all during the week.


You should all be like normal me and travel light – a heavy bag is not a good idea!


Why should people follow you for Microsoft Ignite coverage?

This is my first Ignite, so follow me as I explore! I'm looking forward to talking to friends and colleagues across Microsoft about what they do and why they love it, and I'm hoping to meet new people and make new friends along the way. My interests are broad, and I'll try to flag sessions that I think you'll like, people you should listen to and expo stands you should visit.

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