Techie Coder Dad Fullstack .NET Software Developer & Family Man

Microsoft Inspire 2021

I recently attended the digital conference, Microsoft Inspire 2021. They call it their “largest partner event of the year, focused on Microsoft Cloud and the opportunities it provides for partners.” Since I’m not a Microsoft partner, much of this conference was not relevant to me right now. Still, I watched the keynote and several sessions. Here are my take-a-ways. 

About the conference 

  • The message I heard the most was “Our cloud is better than your cloud.
  • Azure & Cloud – the two most repeated words of the conference. I wish I had a dollar for every time they said these words! 
  • Net-zero sustainable future was addressed. Microsoft is aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals through their #BuildFor2030 initiative. There is a #BuildFor2030-Hackathon coming up with registration starting in September. Here is a link to featured climate projects.
  • There was diversity among the presenters. It was also cool to hear the presenters describe themselves to support accessibility and inclusion.
  • They have a program called Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofits, which has services specifically tailored to helping nonprofit organizations succeed.
  • After my experience with the Microsoft Build conference, I was expecting no opportunity for networking with other professionals, and just expected to watch video presentations. This conference was the same.
  • To save time, you can speed up the videos. How convenient. For fun, I put the heavy marketing videos at 4x, and couldn’t understand anything they said. I figured out that 2x was the fastest I could go without the voice audio getting too choppy for me to understand. My kids thought it was hilarious to hear the speakers with sped up choppy voices.

About Windows 

  • Windows 11 is coming soon. 
  • They announced Windows 365, or a cloud-based version of Windows. Sounds like you can use it to run Windows on other devices. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. It’s a new idea, that I could run my Windows desktop software on my iPhone. One amazing thing from the session was the blazing fast connection speed of the remote desktop: nearly 10,000 Mbps down and 2,300 Mbps up.

About technologies for developers

  • CosmosDB benefits: integrated cache, encryption, and they expanded the free tier
  • Cloud native means apps that were originally built to use cloud services. The percent of new apps that are cloud native is supposed to grow. Technologies to learn include Microservices, Containers, Functions, and DevOps. Tools to use include Visual Studio, GitHub, and Azure. CodeSpaces allow you to write code on your project from anywhere. 
  • Security is an important skill. DevSecOps is DevOps with a focus on security. Shift left usually means to address security earlier in the development process when building new apps, instead of adding security at the end. Zero trust is a security concept that basically means enforcing security in all apps, even intranet or on-premises apps. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is recommended for strong auth. Consider learning about single sign-on (SSO) and fraud detection. 

About careers for developers

  • Career Connector: They have said in many presentations that there is a big need for tech employees, especially with the transition to hybrid workplaces (that means working partly online and partly onsite). “The competition is fierce for talent.” I checked out their site and there were no jobs near my location, so, at this time, I’m not adding this job board to my list. 
  • Last year, Microsoft launched an impressive digital skills initiative. They are offering several free LinkedIn courses that are worth checking out (see links toward the bottom of that page). You have to use those links to get the free courses — I could not find the free courses by using LinkedIn Learning’s search feature. They also announced that Microsoft Teams will be getting a new learning app in the near future.
  • There was a lot of talk about modernizing, or moving “legacy” applications to the cloud. By legacy, they mean anything not hosted on Azure. Assuming they are correct, that means programmers who can migrate these apps will be in demand. They need to know two things. They need to be skilled at building and deploying Azure apps as well as having fullstack developer skills from the last 20 years, which means ASP.NET Core MVC, ASP.NET Framework WebForms, and possibly even classic ASP, as well as SQL Server and HTML/CSS/JavaScript.  

Final thoughts 

This conference was pretty much what I expected. Hardly any technical content for a fullstack developer, but there were some interesting presentations that I appreciated watching. It was great to see Microsoft’s growing commitment to the environment and coding for social good. It was fun to see the new versions of Windows. Finally, seeing the upcoming demand for developers validates my decision to keep focusing my career as a .NET programmer. 

The next Microsoft event will be .NET Conf (free), in November, which is very developer-focused and will showcase the official release of .NET 6. I’m looking forward to it. 

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