From one tech to another: A technology driven sport, based on precision and measurement and of course, high levels of skill.



Darren Annal
Cloud Solution Architect 


It was Bill Gates who famously said “Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software” and while I am a long, long way from Bill Gate’s fortune, I totally understand his love for writing software. I have that same love for technology. It’s the reason why I love my work and why I work in the field I do.

In fact technology is so much part of my life that almost all of my interests outside of work encompass it in some way. For instance my favourite sport is Formula One Racing – a technology driven sport based on precision and measurement and of course, high levels of skill.

And I’m lucky enough to see the crossover from Formula One to my job as a Cloud Solution Architect with Microsoft. Stick with me here.

In both pursuits speed is a huge factor, Formula One for obvious reasons and the Azure Platform because of the rate of demand and uptake for people skilled and certified in Azure. Digital transformation is driving speedy change in businesses of all sizes across many industries and the demand for cloud-enabled solutions is growing at a rapid rate. IT decision makers are drawn to the power, flexibility and buying models available via the Cloud.

In terms of technology and precision the crossover continues.

Formula One vehicles are constantly being adapted and improved through advancements in technology, allowing them to travel faster, with advanced computer systems and software controlling a myriad of functions in real time that help the driver to reach peak performance.

Cloud-side, Microsoft has continued to broaden and deepen its commitment to open source .  Microsoft Cloud supports the broadest selection of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices.  Nearly 1 in 3 Azure virtual machines are Linux and more than 60% of the images in the Azure Marketplace are Linux-based.  In addition to this there are more than 1,000 repos from across Microsoft on our GitHub site allowing you to learn how to scale rapidly and with agility with Microsoft Azure.

And finally, my job and my love for Formula One Racing have another very important aspect and that is skill and certification. The best Formula One car driven by an unlicensed driver, or a driver with no experience, is hardly likely to win, assuming they actually get off the start line. The same is true of Azure which is why certification is the point I most want to stress.

I am a big fan of certification as a means of learning. The main reason being that the process of certification provides a structured learning roadmap. To pass the exams (and there are a number of exams) there is so much that you need to know that’s not simply written in a book or available in an online video, you really need the experience which going through certification gives you. Just like passing a knowledge test will teach you about the rules of the road, only actually driving on it will give you the skills.

Equally certification is important given that technical certifications are a respected measure of capability. 96% of HR managers use IT certifications as screening or hiring criteria during recruitment and certified staff members earn 15% more on average than staff without certification.  More than 50% of all certified professionals are promoted within the first six months of getting a certification. The number drops to less than 20% for non-certified professionals.

Lifelong learning is a prerequisite for working in technology and the Azure Skills initiative is a vital part of that learning, especially significant in gaining a skill with such a vast and important focus in our current environment. I am now in the fortunate position of using my Azure knowledge and experience to provide expertise, guidance, mentoring and support to customers as they grow their Azure application development practices.

Which leads me to end my story as I started it – with a quote from Bill Gates.

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”  - Bill Gates , Azure certification will undoubtedly help empower your customers.


Microsoft Azure training