If you have ever taken any training modules or learned something new by going through the official documentation, the material you used was probably written or co-authored by one or many contributors. These individuals often are volunteers who offer their time and expertiseto cover knowledge gaps in our portfolio or to keep the existing content current.
In this series, we’ll be interviewing repeat contributors to the Microsoft Learn platform to get to know them better and to learn what motivates them to keep contributing.
Today we are interviewing Kate Baroni. Kate is a Principal Engineer with the FastTrack for Azure (FTA) team. In her 20+ years at Microsoft, she’s worked across cloud and product teams in data, security, machine learning, and – always – with customers. Her professional history prior to Microsoft included software engineering and engineering management. The Azure Architecture content team nominated Kate forher efforts in leading a team to author and publish a financial services architectural guide, "Detect mobile bank fraud".
Kate Baroni - Principal Customer Engineer, Microsoft
Meet Kate Baroni
Sherry: Hi, Kate. Thanks for making the time to speak with me today. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your expertise and experience?
Kate: My primary role in FastTrack for Azure (FTA) is to support customers deploying Data and AI projects to Azure. I am also the Security Category Lead for FastTrack team, which is a role to drive organization-wide security initiatives and build out the security community across geographies and technology domains. The best part of the role is using the security platform to amplify the amazing customer work of FTA engineers and PMs while increasing the visibility and participation of people who are not traditionally viewed for their security expertise.
Sherry: You are one of the top contributors to Azure Architecture Center (AAC). What inspired you to start contributing, and what motivates you to keep contributing?
Kate: There is something completely satisfying and creative about technology when it is applied to solve a real business scenario. Making technology real for customers is what motivates me. It has taken me around the world and introduced me to a lifetime of customer experiences and relationships. Being able to contribute to Azure Architecture Center (AAC) means being able to share those stories with a broader audience.
Sherry: I’m sure those audiences have benefited greatly from all you’ve shared. Has contributing to the Microsoft Learn platform helped you to advance your career or improve your skillset?
Kate: Contributing to the Microsoft Learn platform has been an amazing opportunity to work with a small team of colleagues and learn deeply about how to apply Azure services, work through architectural trade-offs, and contribute customer solutions to an industry audience that is eager to learn about approaches that are relevant for them.
Sherry: It sounds like it energizes you. What advice would you give to others who want to start contributing to open-source content?
Kate: Decide on a technical scenario that is real for your business or customer, team up with a buddy, commit to a timeframe, develop the content, and follow through on publishing. It’s an experience that will build not just content but friendships and customer confidence in the Azure platform.
Sherry: That’s exactly the sort of practical input we expect from you. Thanks, Kate. Before we close, one purpose of this interview is to highlight the person behind the contributions, so tell us something about yourself aside from work. Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Kate: My husband and I are a little bit feral and like to hunt for wild mushrooms, huckleberries, deer, elk, and turkey.
Sherry: Wow! That sounds exciting. Thanks for meeting with me, Kate, and for sharing your insights and experience with our audience, just like you share what you know on Microsoft Learn.