If you’ve ever engaged with the content on the Microsoft Learn platform, it's highly likely that the material you utilized was written or co-authored by dedicated contributors. These contributors, often volunteers, generously offer their time and expertise to fill knowledge gaps within our portfolio and ensure the content remains up to date.
In this interview series, we aim to acquaint ourselves with some of these valuable contributors. Through these conversations, we seek to understand their motivations for sharing their knowledge and gain insights into their experiences.
Congratulations and welcome to this month’s recognized contributor, Kristina Devochko – cloud guru, tech contributor, content creator, blogger, speaker, and mentor. Kristina resides in Norway and is currently employed at Amesto Fortytwo as a principal cloud engineer. She’s the owner of the kristhecodingunicorn.com tech blog, a CNCF ambassador, Microsoft Azure MVP, CNCF TAG Environmental Sustainability tech lead, Kubernetes Unpacked podcast co-host, and co-organizer of multiple meetup groups. Throughout her career, Kristina has primarily focused on all things cloud native, Kubernetes, cloud security, and green tech. She believes in helping to make the world a better place, is passionate about volunteering with non-profit organizations, and frequently provides guidance to tech communities on building sustainable, secure, and cloud native systems.
Recently, Kristina also added “Microsoft Learn contributor” to her list of accomplishments. Her article, How to manage cost and optimize resources in AKS with Kubecost, was not only her first Microsoft Learn contribution, it was also the first article published on the new Microsoft Learn Community Content site.
Megan: Welcome Kristina! So lovely to meet you! To start us off, can you share a bit about your experience and background?
Kristina: Hi Megan! Absolutely, I’m happy to. I’ve been in the tech industry for almost eight years now, but tech wasn’t something I’d been planning to do since I was born or even right out of school! I was actually studying economics when a female friend who was already studying computer science inspired me to switch and test it out for myself. It was one of the best choices I ever made and from that point on, I never looked back! I’ve been in many roles so far in my tech career – from full stack developer to database administrator to software architect – and for the last four to five years I’ve been primarily focusing on all things cloud native, platform development, and Azure. Currently, I’m a principal cloud engineer at Amesto Fortytwo. I started sharing my knowledge with various tech communities back in 2021 and am forever grateful (and shocked) with how many wonderful experiences and opportunities I’ve had since then!
Megan: Fascinating that you started in economics but ended up in computer science – all thanks to your friend! And the knowledge sharing you began in 2021 also sounds fascinating. What prompted you to start sharing your knowledge with others and what motivates you to continue?
Kristina: Well, I was basically challenged – asked if I would consider sharing my knowledge! Back in 2021 I was contacted on LinkedIn by a Microsoft Norway employee who challenged me to start contributing to the technical community as a whole by sharing my knowledge and experiences in the form of publishing blog posts, speaking at events, and mentoring, etc. Before I was asked, this wasn’t something I’d ever thought of doing, because I thought I wasn’t that big of an expert to have anything valuable to share with the tech community. But I was wrong, and I’m so happy he helped me realize that! Lots of great things have happened to me since I started contributing to the global technical community that might not have happened if I wasn’t encouraged and supported along the way!
I love sharing my knowledge and love the tech communities! Among other things, they’re amazing, supportive, inclusive, and welcoming, and it’s why I started contributing and continue to contribute three years later! Once you become a part of the global tech community, you stay there forever. At least, that’s how I feel. We help each other grow, we share feedback and knowledge with each other, we support each other, and encourage each other in the community. It energizes me and makes me want to do more. In addition, getting feedback that something I wrote or spoke about was useful and helped others is incredibly gratifying to me as a content creator. It’s the best motivator to keep me helping the tech community. Recently, I also published my first article on the Microsoft Learn platform. It was another fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to contributing to Microsoft Learn again very soon!
Megan: Yes! Congratulations on your very first Microsoft Learn article, Kristina! It’s great! I read it earlier today when I was preparing for our interview. I’d love to know what led you to start contributing to Microsoft Learn.
Kristina: I've used Microsoft Learn many times as a consumer - both for my personal competence development and also for organizing Cloud Skills Challenges activities at work in collaboration with Microsoft. Earlier this year Microsoft contacted me and asked if I was interested in joining the new Microsoft Learn Community Content site, as well as helping with the site launch and being an early contributor to it. Since I’d already gained so much value from this platform as a user, I knew it would be a great opportunity to contribute back to Microsoft Learn and to the entire community that uses it. So, I went for it – and I’m happy to say that it was a truly giving and enjoyable experience! I had room to be heard and share my suggestions and ideas of how this new site could be structured to bring the most value to the community. I was also able to recommend how to motivate more authors to join the new Community Content site and publish their own articles there. Speaking of which, not only was my article my first official Microsoft Learn contribution, it was also the first article published on this new site – an interesting fact I'm very pleased about and find to be quite a fun achievement!
Megan: I’m glad you got that little nudge to join our new Microsoft Learn Community Content site and to contribute to it – sounds like it was a great experience for you. You’ve mentioned that good things have happened since you started sharing your knowledge with the general tech communities in 2021. Can you elaborate on that?
Kristina: Sure! Sharing and contributing was a new experience for me. To ensure that my blog posts, articles, and speaking engagements, etc. were the same high-quality content the tech communities expect, I devoted a lot of time and effort to researching when I began contributing. I learned a lot from the research and tight collaboration with my resources. And it was all worth it because since I started contributing to the various tech communities three years ago, I’m now a:
Megan: Kristina! WOW! You weren’t kidding when you said a lot’s happened to you as a result of your contributions within the various tech communities. Congratulations! Can you share any learnings or advice for folks who want to start contributing to the Microsoft Learn platform?
Kristina: Yes, great question, Megan. The most important advice I can give is just to start. I know very well how one can feel as an impostor sometimes or start comparing oneself with others and end up underestimating oneself, losing confidence, and not contributing. Ask yourself:
If the answer to one or more of these questions is “Yes”, then you should definitely start contributing! You never know who your content can help! Also, when you’re just starting out, don’t hesitate to seek help, ask for feedback from the Microsoft Learn community, and/or ask for a second pair of eyes to look at your content and give feedback. And if you’re nervous to ask about it in public, find a contributor who you feel comfortable and confident with, and ask him/her privately. A lot of people are happy to help out, including myself!
Megan: Awesome insight and advice, thanks! One final question for you. One purpose of this interview is to get to know a little about the person behind the contributions. What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
Kristina: I spend a significant part of my free time on tech and community-related activities. But apart from that, I love reading, not only tech-related literature but also fantasy (I’m a Potterhead, a Harry Potter universe fan) and adventure genres. I also love hiking, drawing, cross stitching, and photography. And I have two cats, Penelope and Sofie, that I absolutely love spending time with, cuddling, and playing with.
Megan: Yes! Ditto for me on the hiking, photography, and cats. Well, it was wonderful meeting you today, Kristina, and getting to know you on a professional and personal level. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share about your contributing experience?
Kristina: Thanks, Megan. It was nice to meet you, as well. I just want to reiterate that contributing to the new Microsoft Learn Community Content site has been such a fun, educational, amazing, and gratifying experience for me. I’m looking forward to seeing and reading articles from more Microsoft contributors in the coming months, as well as creating and publishing more articles myself!
Megan: A great final thought for our readers today. Thanks again, Kristina, and I can’t wait to read your future contributions. Take care!
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