Cloud Careers Friday Feature: Harjit Dhaliwal

Community Manager

Introducing Friday Feature! Each Friday of the month, we will be featuring a Tech Community Member to share their career experiences. We are excited to introduce this week’s Friday Feature— @Harjit Dhaliwal. Harjit is a Senior Systems Administrator at the University of Vermont. He was awarded the MVP Award this year for Windows and Devices for IT.   



@Harjit Dhaliwal

Senior Systems Administrator

University of Vermont




Tell us a little bit about who you work for, your role in the organization, and if your organization has transitioned to the cloud.

I'm a Senior Systems Administrator at the University of Vermont where I focus on Microsoft technologies such as ConfigMgr, SCOM, Windows Server, Windows OS, and patch management to name a few. We have not transitioned to the cloud yet as we prefer to embrace on-premises technologies within our robust and state-of-the-art data centers which meets our needs and requirements. We are slowly working our way into the cloud mind frame with the Office 365 offerings for our students.


Is there organizational resistance to the transition to the cloud? Is it due to resource constraints? Or with the state of the art on-prem infrastructure you have—is there not a driving force?

The slow move to cloud services is due to several factors. There is some organization resistance, some due to compliance and legal reasons, some because we want to control and customize tools and products so they work as we would like them to in our environment and for our Line of Business applications, and because we've made some significant investments in hardware and data centers to name a few. The driving force hasn't been much of a factor since central campus IT has been providing and supporting the on-premises infrastructure, and the technical expertise to the constituents. 


The transition to cloud will slowly take place as end-users start to embrace competitive cloud solutions to meet their business requirements where on-premises offerings are inadequate, lack modern features, or limiting on remote computing needs. 


You’re involved with a professional IT networking group called The Krewe. Community seems to play a large role with IT Pros. Can you elaborate about your involvement with The Krewe and MS Tech Community? What role do these communities play in your career?

The Krewe is a great IT Pro networking group which is comprised of members with variant skills and expertise in many different aspects of technology from legacy to the most modern solutions we see today. It prides itself as an influential group within Microsoft and with other industry leaders. I'm the Social Media Manager for The Krewe and a member of the leadership team, and I extend my roles to communicate for the group as needed. MS Tech Community is a great platform to share, help, and engage with fellow IT Professionals, and it's structure of communities and spaces makes a nice clean portal for Microsoft related technologies. Along with The Krewe, MS Tech Community, Twitter, Yammer communities, and various Facebook groups, I also actively share and interact with IT Pros on Tech Konnect which is a group I launched to keep IT Professionals and technology enthusiast up to date on the latest in technology news, events, and updates. These communities help me with my career by keeping me involved in technology and with my peers.


You also have technical experience in a number of industries. How has your experience differed across industries?

I've been in the education sector mainly higher education for a number of years and have experience in the corporate world as well. The differences between these industries comes down to budgets, staffing, and timelines for implementing new technologies and migrations. In the education industry, things take time due to various challenges that involve faculty, staff, students, and administration. 


In such a rapidly changing cloud world, how do you stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and changes? 

Since, I have limited exposure to cloud solutions at work, I spend quite a bit of my off hours to learn on my own, utilize online learning solutions such as the Microsoft Virtual Academy, Virtual Labs, courses by PluralSight, read and share a ton of information from various social media channels, communicate frequently with IT peers in community groups, and I try to help others with their cloud related questions which forces me to learn more myself. With my recent MVP award, I have gained some additional and valuable resources through the MVP program such as free Azure credits, Office 365 subscription, Xamarin University, Visual Studio Dev Essentials, and much more which I'm taking advantage of for my learning and growth as an IT Professional. 


4 Replies

@Anna Chu and Team, Thank you very much for featuring me this Friday. 


Interresting answers Harjit, in your opinion which of the learning resources you mention has helped you the most to pick up new skills?

Quite honestly, my best resources for learning has been social media. I discover many blogs, articles, news, and much more from Twitter and Facebook groups. Microsoft Virtual Academy, Pluralsight, and YouTube have been tremendous for learning as well.

I fully agree with that, the combination of the technical communities and all the different training materials we have available to us really makes learning easier.


How do you feel about reading books / ebooks, do you find yourself using those a lot when studying a new subject. Personally I still find myself reading books as it is a bit more structured than a, collection of, blog posts.