Today is a weekend and I thought I’d sit and jot down some reflections about one of the things I am grateful for.
Creating a community was something I did not expect to do until about a year ago, February 8, 2021, I decided to create one. Using my own effort and expense I signed up for a paid Meetup account and stepped up to be an organizer. I created a Meetup community group named “Azure User Group Sundsvall Sweden”, which is now called “Azure User Group Sweden“. Why it was changed? A long story. The short version, I wanted it to be more inclusive, diverse, and international.
Azure User Group Sweden
Motivation and Building a Tech Community amidst Global Pandemic
About a year ago, even before I received my award as a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), while in the midst of the worldwide COVID pandemic and remote working, I saw that tech community that can be done digitally and remotely was missing in my area, especially an Azure community.
At first I was not sure how to get started, how it works creating a Meetup community and I was not sure if I had what it takes to be a tech community leader. All I know was that I wanted to make a change, create something that does not exist, do something about it and dare try do it. I had that strong feeling of will of doing something I never done before and I had that confidence level where nothing could stop me.
I did some thinking, did ask a few community leaders I know, and then decided to just do it!
Just like the quote below states, leadership is not a position but an action. I believe that I don’t need to have “leadership” position nor a title to lead and make a difference.
I followed my vision and passion to start a community because I wanted to build one for knowledge sharing of Azure, cloud, tech and software engineering-related topics. An open and inclusive community which is welcoming for everybody – including the beginners of Microsoft Azure and these modern technologies that we have today.
Those are just some of the reasons why I decided to run sessions in English language, instead of localized Swedish only user group. I didn’t want the language to be a barrier because I want to build an open arena where everybody (including myself) can freely share knowledge, encourage, collaborate and learn together without any barriers, and regardless of background, location, technical skills nor experience.
Building the Blocks and Collaboration
I initiated the user group on Meetup alone and started it alone with 0 members but myself. I decided to just share knowledge and get started, thought I’ll see how it goes. I thought then, regardless if I fail or I succeed, at least, I tried!
The month after, in March 2021, I started setting up events to go live myself and started sharing about Introduction cloud computing on a weekend. I thought weekend sessions would be ideal because I am off work and then maybe others who are off can attend and listen. I had my first challenge, I lost my consistency after my first session. It was due to the lack of time.
By April and May last year I got busy with work, personal stuff, and studying for my Microsoft Azure Certifications. After that I got back on track on my second event as both the speaker and the organizer, with my Azure Durable Functions Fundamentals talk.
If you missed it live last year, you can re-watch that old recorded livestream via Azure User Group Sweden’s YouTube Channel or via the embedded videos below.
For the Community, By the Community
For the community, By the community!
Collaboration with another Microsoft MVP Håkan Silfvernagel
After two sessions, I got in contact with Håkan Silfvernagel, whom I met through the other tech online communities I regularly attend to and follow. He works as a Manager for AI and Big Data at Miles AS, a Norweigian Consulting company, and he is also a Microsoft MVP like me! He has been an active contributor to different tech communities (Norweigian .NET User Group (NNUG), Olso AI, and AI42) in Norway and is an International public speaker with great experience in different fields in tech.
So, I asked Håkan if he was willing to be my co-host and co-leader at Azure User Group Sweden Meetup group. He is so nice and shares the same passion as I do in the community, and he agreed for our collaboration!
First Guest Speaker at Azure User Group Sweden - Peter De Tender
We did our collaboration hosting our first session with a guest speaker, Peter De Tender, who is a Business Program Manager and Azure Technical Trainer. He also wrote a lot of great books like Migrating a Two-Tier Application to Azure (which I got a copy myself with hand-written autograph 😊), Azure Strategy and Implementation Guide, Pro Azure Governance and Security and many other books. Peter shared his expertise and knowledge about Azure DevOps during our session at Azure User Group Sweden in July 2021.
Growing Community Members Sharing Together
From 0 to now with almost 300 Azure User Group Sweden members!
Thanks to the several sessions of different Azure-topics, passion, commitment and collaboration with Håkan, with other experts, Azure communities and the Microsoft MVP family around the world! We also gained loyal and inspired community members like Ashish Singh Baghel and Gabriel Borja Vergara who has been consistent in tuning in and learning from our sessions about Azure.
Our community grew and expanded worldwide, thanks to the remote knowledge sharing opportunities and also all the awesome speakers we had so far. Thank you so much Peter De Tender (Azure DevOps) , Gopal Amelekar (Azure AD B2C), Savaranan Ganesan (Azure IoT Services Workshop), May Alhajri – Agent008 (Power Platform), Kevin Chant & Sander Stad (Azure DevOps and Github Duet), Rikard Öh (Troubleshooting with Azure Monitor), John Kilmister (Azure Front Door), Karel De Winter & Wim Matthysen (Azure Arc), Goran Vuksic (Azure Percept), Rebai Hamida (Azure Service Fabric) and recently we had Roberth Strand (Terrafom and Azure).
Inspiring Engagement from Members and Speakers
Below are some of the inspiring and engaging posts our member or speakers have shared on their LinkedIn posts and blogs.
Being Part of Global Azure Tech Groups Community
Just a few months ago (November 2021) finally Azure User Group Sweden became part of Azure Tech Groups Worldwide community and has been listed on the map of Sweden!
I was very happy when it happened and thank you to Microsoft Azure Tech Groups team and to those who helped made it possible!
Upcoming Azure Sessions at AzugSweden
We host online sessions about Azure bi-weekly on Saturdays, at 12:00 CET/CEST. Our next upcoming event will be about DAPR for developers for building C# apps for Azure on February 19, 2022, Saturday, at 12:00 CET
DAPR for Developers for Building C# Apps for Azure
Previous Recorded Sessions
Do you have an Azure topic to share?
We welcome and coach even new public tech speakers!
Final Thoughts and Key-Take-aways
Lastly, I just want to express how thankful I am to all the awesome people I met, I got connected to and been collaborating with since I dare started Azure User Group Sweden! I just did not build a community, but the most rewarding of all, is gaining like-minded friends and family in tech from around the world! It is amazing and awesome!
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR TAKING TIME TO READ! HAPPY WEEKEND! 😊
About Author: Jonah Andersson is a Filipina-Swedish Software Engineer who codes fullstack system development in C# .NET. She is a Microsoft MVP for Azure, Certified Azure Developer, and Microsoft Certified Trainer, Public Speaker, and Tech Mentor. She currently works as a Software Developer Consultant at Forefront Consulting in Sweden. Jonah is passionate about learning, developing and sharing knowledge about Microsoft Azure cloud technologies. A woman who code advocating gender equality in the tech industry through mentorship and by being role model. She also loves creative technical writing her experience.