January 12

Looking ahead to 2024…

I think I'm going to take an approach where I aim to do a project every month of 2024. It can be a certification, a talk, or an event. I think this approach gives me something that I can commit to doing and provide a flexible enough deadline to be able to get it done even with the rest of life happening around me. I have "projects" scheduled for every month in the first half of the year. I think when I get to June I'll stop, take a breath, and then plan out the remainder of 2024.

As far as BJSS work goes for 2024, I'm expecting to be on the same project throughout 2024. This will be good because I won't have the stress of having to change clients or do any ramping up for newer projects. This should also free up some time so I can work on other things too.

I also need to make an effort to post on this blog more about tech topics. Got any ideas?


  • January 2024
    • Take and pass the AZ-104 exam
    • Take and pass the GitHub Foundations exam
  • February 2024
    • CodeLaunch 2024
  • March 2024
    • Give talk on gRPC + .NET to the BJSS Houston Tech Forum
  • April 2024
    • Give talk on gRPC + .NET to the Houston .NET User Group
    • Referee at the 2024 USA Powerlifting Collegiate National Championships
    • Take Cat II referee exam/practical
  • May 2024
    • Give talk on gRPC + .NET to the North Houston .NET User Group
  • June 2024
    • Run the USA Powerlifting Summer Power Fest with Mike Hafenbrack
  • December 2024
    • Participate in the Advent of Code 2024 (gotta get more BJSS Houston folks involved)

Certifications (New)

Here are the certification exams which I am prepping for right now. I was planning to have the AZ-104 taken and passed in 2023, but for reasons, that didn't happen. I passed the equivalent exam a few years ago while taking exams for the Azure Solutions Architect, so this is a "completitionist" task. I'll get it though. More labs, more practice exam questions, more reading...

  • Azure Administrator Associate (January 2024)
  • GitHub Foundations (January 2024)

Here is a list of certifications I could take this year. I don't anticipate getting the bulk of them, but I need a goal for beyond June 2024.

  • GitHub Advanced Security
  • GitHub Administration
  • GitHub Actions
  • AWS Developer Associate
  • AWS Solutions Architect Associate
  • AWS Data Engineer Associate
  • AWS SysOps Administrator Associate

Certifications (Renewals)

Here's a list of all the certifications I need to renew this year.

  • Renew Azure Data Engineer Associate (< 1/20/2024) - Completed 1/14/2024
  • Renew Azure Security Engineer Associate (< 2/23/3024) - Completed 1/15/2024
  • Renew Azure Solutions Architect Expert (< 3/3/2024) - Completed 1/16/2024
  • Renew Azure Developer Associate (< 4/15/2024) - Completed 1/17/2024
  • Renew Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty (< 4/30/2024) - Completed 1/18/2024
  • Renew DevOps Engineer Expert (< 6/15/2024) - Completed 1/19/2024
  • Renew Information Protection and Compliance Administrator Associate (< 9/28/2024)
  • Renew Identity and Access Administrator Associate (< 10/9/2024)
  • Renew Security Operations Analyst Associate (< 10/28/2024)
  • Cybersecurity Architect Expert (< 11/21/2024)

...and that's what I've got planned for 2024. I'll have to revisit this post in December 2024. I hope I get a bunch done.

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January 1

Looking back on 2023…

I've never written any kind of post-mortem on the year that was, 2023. So, what did I do in 2023?

Stepped down from my leadership roles at the Houston .NET User Group and the North Houston .NET User Group. I still regularly attend both, but needed a break. Luckily, we've found good stewards at Improving's Houston office and SmartDraw up in The Woodlands. I'll have to put together a talk to give at each one of those in 2024.

I had the bright idea of getting BJSS involved in the CodeLaunch 2023 event in Houston. The Head of Delivery and Software Engineering Capability Lead played an Uno Reverse Card and had me lead BJSS's team. I just wanted the company I worked for to be apart of the event, I wasn't expecting to lead anything. We had the 2nd draft pick and we drafted a company called Drinkicks. Hopefully we provided them some good tech to get them moving forward. It's tough to figure out how to squeeze the output of 24 hours of a hackathon into a ~30 sec demo.

I got "promoted" to Software Engineering Capability Lead for the BJSS - Houston office. I say "promoted" because it's one of those roles where there is no additional compensation, but I can update my LinkedIn profile. Which I did. The role covers a few areas including recruiting (interviewing) prospective candidates, playing matchmaker between client engagements and software engineers already on staff, and helping/encouraging software engineers to upskill themselves (certs, training, etc). So far it's been a good gig.

I served as the meet director for the 2023 USA Powerlifting Summer Power Fest. My wife and I have been running this competition every year except 2020 since the mid 00's. It's been alot of work and fun. It's good to see people who started their powerlifting career at our meet making it to the national and international levels of the sport.

I put together a talk on Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS) for BJSS - Houston's internal Tech Forum event. I think the talk was received well. I'm not a big fan of giving presentations and it's something I definitely should get better at.

I was admitted into the USA Powerlifting Hall of Fame. Some people were paying attention when I was a competitor, coach, referee, meet director, and administrator. It was definitely one of those moments when you stop climbing the mountain and turn around and see how far you've come. I didn't get into the sport for this, but I am grateful USA Powerlifting thought so highly of me.

After the whirlwind of Azure certifications in 2022, I picked up the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification. It was an easy exam. I just had to map the Azure names to the AWS names.

I planned to pick up the Azure Administrator Associate Certification. However, I ran out of time in 2023 to get it. Pushing this to 2024.

As far as client work goes, I worked for the same client all year. Good, steady pressure to deliver value and plenty of opportunities to contribute to the project beyond just building features and fixing bugs. The team I work with is a blend of the client's employees, BJSS employees, and another vendor's employees. Pretty good team, they just like to talk over each other in our 2 weekly scrum meetings.

In the first half of 2023, I renewed the following certifications:

  • Azure Data Engineer Associate
  • Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Azure Solutions Architect Expert (I did this one cold turkey.)
  • Azure Developer Associate
  • Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty
  • Dev Ops Engineer Expert

In the second half of 2023, I renewed the following certifications:

  • Information Protection and Compliance Administrator Associate
  • Identity and Access Administrator Associate
  • Security Operations Analyst Associate
  • Security Administrator Associate (This is the first and last time I'll get to renew this one since Microsoft is retiring the certification. Kind of a bummer because this one was a pain in the ass to get.)
  • Cybersecurity Architect Expert

That's a high-level view of what I accomplished in 2023. It feels like things are getting busier in my life and I expect it to continue into 2024. My next post will have a rough plan of what I'll be doing in 2024.

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