Reconnect Series: Michelangelo van Dam

Published Sep 25 2019 08:43 AM 976 Views
Senior Member

Michelangelo van Dam is a Reconnect member from Mechelen, Belgium. His received an MVP Award in Microsoft Azure in 2018.


Michelangelo is currently a Senior PHP Architect, QA Specialist, DevOps Engineer and Azure Cloud Architect. He has recently been working on a number of interesting projects, including: 


  • Upgrading Azure Blob Explorer with the latest SDK and features 
  • Refactoring web apps from Azure App Service to Azure Functions
  • Creating Azure DevOps from PHP training workshops
  • Building a B2B partner portal for employee management on top of Azure AD B2B and Azure Kubernetes Service


For Michelangelo, Reconnect is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and concepts with other professionals. “Just as with the MVP network, I can learn and adopt better practices for my personal and community career, where I can share what I’ve learned and pay it forward to the next generation,” says Michelangelo. 


“I haven’t yet gotten involved in any Reconnect events, but I have already started using the MVP Reconnect Yammer to ask questions and get advice from other members,” he says. “While I now feel like a Padawan, the Force is strong in me and will guide me to the path of becoming a valuable Master, sharing knowledge and helping others.”


Michelangelo feels like he is “welcomed by friends who share the same passion and are like-minded in sharing knowledge and improving techniques and practices.”


“Since I am still a Youngling in the Reconnect family, I am taking baby steps and familiarising myself with the members, their background, and their passions.”


With regard to other projects and communities, Michelangelo is involved in the PHP community by contributing to frameworks and libraries, speaking at conferences around the world, giving workshops, and attending user group meetings all over Europe. 


He is also the president of PHPBenelux, an umbrella non-profit organisation that provides assistance to localised PHP user groups in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. “On top of that, we also organise an annual conference where we bring together the brightest minds from all over the world to talk about PHP and the future of the technology, with an attendance of 500 people each year,” says Michelangelo. 


“Because of my passion in raising the bar of quality in PHP web application development by teaching and preaching testing techniques and automation possibilities to my peers within the PHP community, I also became active in the testing communities within Europe and the DevOps communities in Belgium,” explains Michelangelo.


“It’s exactly this passion that got me involved in Microsoft Azure, and through my representatives here at Microsoft Belux I also got in touch with AzugBE, the Azure user group in Belgium, where I was able to attend a few sessions and got to speak at the Azure Global Bootcamp.”


“My love for sharing knowledge also pushed me to become a coach at CoderDojo to mentor children that are getting their hands dirty with technology. Not only is it great to help the next generation progress, but I also learned a few things myself, like thinking outside of the box (the kids have mastered this skill) and being able to explain very technical things to a five-year-old (literally).”


“To coach and mentor other professionals who want to become entrepreneurs, I co-founded the Dutch Web Alliance where we now have quarterly knowledge sessions to help these entrepreneurs deal with the non-technical side of running your own business.”


And last but not least, Michelangelo is a founder of FeWeb, a representational organisation for the web application development industry. FeWeb provides guidelines for an industry standard within Belgium and ensures quality is promoted through a quality label and knowledge sessions. 


During his time as an MVP, Michelangelo loved working on CI/CD for Azure (now DevOps), PHP on Azure Functions (v1), Azure Web Apps for PHP, discussing how to bridge the gap between Microsoft and the PHP/OSS communities, and the bi-monthly coffee/lunch meetings with Tina!


To new MVPs, Michelangealo says “If you have a passion, embrace it, and go all in. Explore, try it out, play some more, and share what you have learned. Repeat.”


In the future, Michelangelo hopes to keep on “stretching the possibilities of PHP on Azure, sharing my findings in blog articles and user group/conference presentations (PHP, Azure, Testing and DevOps), reporting issues or improvements to the Azure teams, and participating in cloud deployment battles.”


Follow Michelangelo on Twitter: @DragonBe

Check out his company blog, personal blog, public presentations, and LinkedIn profile.

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