Learning something small every day quickly adds up to a big knowledge base
I was in the right place, at the right time to start my learning journey at Sogeti. I joined straight from college where I’d studied marketing and communications. That might seem a far cry from what I do now as a Power Platform subject matter expert, but I always had a feeling for technology and did a lot with digital marketing at college. So, I was already tech-savvy when I joined Sogeti initially as a SharePoint developer.
At that time, the move to cloud was just getting underway and many people felt it was too immature for them to want to work with. So, as the ‘new kid on the block’ it was often the case of “you’re young, you do all the cloud stuff!” This was great for me as I wanted to work with new tech and this was my opportunity to do so with SharePoint Online.
Continual learning process
I started as a young professional working on client projects projects, such as building customer portals. It wasn’t too long before more and more apps started coming into Office 365, which SharePoint was part of. This included workflow tooling and what was then Microsoft Flow, which later became Power Automate within the Microsoft Power Platform. Flow was still in preview at that time and I started creating scenarios in the tool, including one for a holiday request that I went on to blog about.
This generated a lot of interested and before too long I was involved in lots of meetings with Microsoft who wanted to evolve the software. When Flow became Power Automate, I went from being an Office 365 developer to working with Power Platform and this played to my interest in working with the business to solve their problems using IT. It was a continual learning process as we built all kinds of product on the Power Platform, as well as with other solutions.
Community and certification
I was fortunate in being at the start of Power Platform because all these new apps came in incrementally, so I was learning about them one at a time as they arrived. Nowadays, with so many apps already out there, people have to learn everything at one go and that can be hard. For me, community and certification were (and remain) among my core learning paths. By community I mean things like conferences and user groups where I get to meet and learn from others about the business problems they’re solving with Microsoft software.
In terms of certification, this aligns with Sogeti’s ambition to be 100% certified, which I’m fully behind. I’ve waded through some pretty big reference books ahead of the exams I’ve taken over the years to keep building my knowledge on topics such as SharePoint and Power Platform. For example, I have all six levels of Power Platform certification. Of course, nowadays, this theoretical learning is also complemented by the practical experience of working on projects, such as the one I am currently engaged in with a leading Dutch financial services organization, for which we are extending its development environment with Power Platform.
I view the certifications as the cherry on the top of the learning cake because they show others that I have specific expertise in the certified areas. Being able to add new certifications to my LinkedIn platform is good for my credibility both with Microsoft and among our clients. I have been awarded the title Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), which is given to experts who are active in the Microsoft community. I am also a Fast Track Recognized Solution Architect, which is given to practicing architects who have worked on multiple big Power Platform projects with clients that are important to Microsoft. This level of personal recognition is not only important for me but for Sogeti’s partnership with Microsoft as well. It underscores our strength in core areas, which is also indicated by Gold Partner status through the number of certifications within certain Microsoft solution areas. On this latter point, Microsoft’s own sales teams will often refer to Gold Partner status when they are assessing which partners to choose to support a potential client solution.
A desire for learning
So, you can see that continual learning and certification are good for our business, as well as for personal development. I’ve wanted to learn from a young age, and I love to see this desire in other people. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t have knowledge on a particular topic, but I do mind if they simply don’t care about acquiring that knowledge.
I would urge anyone in our business to find a way to improve every day. It doesn’t have to be something big, rather learning something small each day will add up to a lot at the end of the year.
- (5/7/2020) Microsoft Flow + RPA = PowerAutomate