It was a pleasure to speak with Rainer Stropek, MVP, Austria. Rainer is the chairman of Coding Club Linz & organiser of #GlobalAzure Austria.
We hope you enjoy this insight into the work Rainer carries out for the Austrian Azure Community.
Please tell us about your own role
I am chairman of the Coding Club Linz. The main activity of our club is running a local CoderDojo, a volunteer-led programming club for kids. Besides that, we organize multiple community events including the yearly Global Azure Bootcamp Austria.
How have you become involved with #GlobalAzure and the Linz Microsoft Azure Community.
Personally, I have been part of the Global Azure Bootcamp movement from the very beginning. In the first two years, I organized a GAB at the Austrian Microsoft subsidiary in Vienna. We had between 30 and 40 attendees back then.
In the third year we had grown to a team of organizers and we wanted to grow GAB in Austria. Therefore, we brought the event into a larger venue in our hometown Linz. We set up a multi-track conference with well-known speakers from all over Austria. It worked out really well. Year over year we saw a steady growth in attendees.
Last year, we reached 200 participants. This year, we wanted to top that. We planned to organize Austria’s first community conference in a large cinema. Our goal was to welcome more than 300 people. Unfortunately, COVID-19 crossed our plans. However, GAB Austria must not be missing even in these difficult times. So we have switched to an online event with four parallel tracks covering topics like software development in the cloud, data science and machine learning, serverless computing, containers in the cloud, and many additional ones.
What are the greatest benefits of getting involved with the Group for attendees?
GAB is a great opportunity for attendees and speakers to exchange know how and practical experiences regarding working with cloud computing in general and Azure in particular. It will be a challenge to keep the interactive community spirit alive when switching from an in-person event to online sessions, but we will do our best to keep up the GAB spirit.
In your opinion what is the most exciting thing about working with Azure?
Azure is in my opinion one of the most innovative cloud environments available today. In addition to that, Microsoft has proven to have a big heart for students and communities. It is easy to get started and learn new cloud computing skills with Azure. You do not need to be a large corporation for that. As a developer, you can freely choose which programming language you would like to use. This openness is one of the most exciting aspects of Azure.
What is your favorite Azure Product and why?
Without any question Azure App Service. It has revolutionized the way I build web apps and APIs. PaaS and serverless, App Service covers it all.
What makes a great Azure Developer?
Great Azure developers have a good overview about the offerings in Azure. They know what is possible and can combine Azure’s capabilities to the benefit of their projects. The best Azure developers are never afraid of having to learn new approaches to do things. They are open to new technologies and are eager to discover innovations, even if they mean that the traditional processes are questioned by them.
What has been the biggest advance in Azure in the past 18 months?
Microsoft understands that cloud computing isn’t just a fancy way of hosting servers. Developers want to have powerful PaaS- and Serverless offerings, so that they can focus on delivering real value to customers instead of having to maintain infrastructure.
In the last 18 months, Azure’s PaaS and serverless services around container technologies have made tremendous progress. Container support in Azure App Service, new features in Azure Kubernetes Service, and automation capabilities for container images in Azure DevOps, GitHub and Azure Container Registry are just three examples for that.
What are the biggest challenges you face working with Azure?
It is a challenge to keep up with the developments in the Azure cloud. There is so much innovation happening every month, but there is so little time to try everything and get familiar with it. It is hard for me to choose where I should put my focus because everything would be interesting.
What are you looking forward to most at the upcoming #GlobalAzure event?
We have done many small online events in the past. The GAB in 2020 will be by far the biggest online event we have ever organized. This will be a very interesting experience.
How did you become an Azure MVP?
I was lucky to be one of the first 25 people who became Azure MVPs back in the early days of Azure. It was still called “Windows Azure” at that time 😉. The reason was that we have decided to bet the farm on Azure with our SaaS product time cockpit when Azure was just available as an early preview.
For people who want to become Azure MVPs I have one piece of advice: Don’t do it because of the title.
If you are passionate about Azure, speak about it, write about it, build a community in which you bring like minded people together. You will have a great time – and the MVP title will come naturally.