My First Keynote: Session 0 at Minnebar 18

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be delivering my inaugural keynote at Minnebar 18, an annual technology conference hosted in Minneapolis by the well known tech organization, Minnestar. My talk will explore the power of investment in shaping our collective future.

As an (un)conference, Minnebar provides a dynamic platform for tech enthusiasts to converge and share insights. Visit the site for full information on Minnebar 18: https://minnestar.org/ultimate-guide-to-minnebar18

Taking place on April 20, 2024, at Best Buy’s Corporate Campus, this Minnebar event will be an event to remember. I’m particularly honored to lead Session 0, also known as the keynote, marking not only my debut at Minnebar but also my first time engaging this vibrant community in the first session of the day.

My talk is titled “Let’s Invest: Building Strong Community and Empowering Our Future” here is the description of my talk: “

Explore the power of investment in shaping our collective future in this keynote talk. Hear about the speakers’ journey and the investments others made contributing to his success. Dive into the Minnesota computer science plan and its role in fostering youth talent, alongside the broader theme of community investment. Discover how organizations in the Twin Cities’ tech space are actively supporting individuals at all levels, from youth initiatives to professional development programs, and more.

Join us to uncover actionable strategies for investing in your own success and the success of others, strengthening our community fabric. Together, let’s ignite a collective commitment to investing in each other and our communities, forging a path for strong communities and empowered future for all.”

Here is sampling of some of the sessions you will see at Minnebar:

You can check out other sessions here:

https://sessions.minnestar.org/home

Mark your calendars for April 20, 2024, and join us at Minnebar 18—it’s free and open to all who share an interest. I look forward to connecting. See you there! Register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/minnebar18-tickets-863048881437

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MN Computer Science Strategic Plan Finished

📢 Six months ago, a coalition of esteemed technologists and educators united to establish the Minnesota’s Computer Science (CS) Working Group, embarking on a journey to develop a comprehensive Computer Science Education Strategic Plan for all public K-12 and charter schools across the state. 💻 Throughout this six-month journey, we convened for five full-day meetings and workshops, undertaking two rounds of meticulous writing to synthesize our collective insights into the plan. The journey in posts:

#1 Working group started!https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7119683894882291713

#2 Plan draft done!https://www.linkedin.com/posts/steveabuchanan_computer-science-working-group-update-activity-7159322360435634177-DglR

#3 Plan finished!https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7176989951132151808

Here is a summary of the effort:

📝 “Minnesota’s Computer Science (CS) Working Group developed a state strategic plan for computer science, finalized in March, 2024, which describes ten recommendations for long-term and sustained growth of computer science education across all public K-12 and charter schools in Minnesota, as outlined in the Computer Science Education Advancement Act Minn. Stat. 120B.241 [2023]. The recommendations are aligned to the requirements outlined in the legislation, such as licensure, high-quality professional development, continuous improvement, and standards, among others.” 

Kudos to all of the amazing indivuduals in the working group:

  • Andrea Wilson Vazquez, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Wendy Robinson, Office of Higher Education
  • Katherine Anthony-Wigle, Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB)
  • Alexandra Holter, Computer Science Teachers Association – MN Chapter
  • Steve Buchanan Microsoft, representative from the business community employing computer scientists or technologists
  • Greg Larson, Minnesota Technology Association (MnTech)
  • Mahmoud Aliamer, Science Museum of Minnesota, representative from a nonprofit organization working with students and teachers in computer science
  • Anthony Padrnos, Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA)
  • Tabitha Senty, Education Minnesota
  • Cassie Scharber, Minnesota Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (MACTE)
  • Jennifer Rosato, CSforAll MN
  • • Sheri Levasseur, Pequot Lakes Public Schools, licensed library media specialist
  • • Erica Allenburg, Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA)
  • • Vic Dreier, SciMathMN
  • • Zhaawin Gonzalez, Tribal Nations Education Committee (TNEC)
  • • Jesse Kodet, Tribal Nations Education Committee (TNEC)
  • • High School Student, Under 1,000 student school
  • • High School Student, Over 1,000 student school
  • • Andy Olson, Hermantown Community Schools, K–5 teacher
  • • Kirsten Tetzlaff, Minnetonka Public School District, 6–8 teacher
  • • Indrayani LeMaire, Hmong College Prep Academy, 9–12 teacher
  • • Tika Kude, Wayzata Public School District, 9–12 CTE teacher

🙌🏼 It was an honor to contribute to this effort, one that will profoundly impact the youth of Minnesota for years to come. 🎉🎉 Yesterday, we partnered with the Minnesota Tech Association and the Raspberry Pi Foundation to commemorate the successful completion of this plan. Hosted at REM5 Labs in St. Louis Park, the event had great support, with a notable turnout of engaged individuals. Even had the chance to speak on a panel with Philip Colligan the CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation! 🌟

📰 The next milestone involves publishing the plan to the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Legislative Reports page, followed by its journey through the legislative process, with the ultimate aim of committing it into law.

You can download a PDF of the plan here:

Computer Science State Strategic Plan

🏛️This achievement marks just the beginning of the journey. Sustained dedication and the involvement of more volunteers will be essential to realizing the goals outlined in this plan. 💻

Stay tuned for further updates on the progression of our efforts. There’s much more to come around this initiative.

MDE Computer Science page:

https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/stds/ComputerScience/index.htm

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From SysAdmin to Platform Engineer with Steve Buchanan on RunAsRadio

I was recently a guest on the RunAsRadio podcast. This was the second time being on the show. The last time was 4 years ago. You can catch the old episode here: Terraform vs Bicep/ARM with Steve Buchanan.

This new episode is #924 and is titled: “From SysAdmin to Platform Engineer with Steve Buchanan“. On this new episode we talked about Platform Engineering and a bunch of other stuff.

Here is the description from the episode:

Aren’t we all platform engineers? Steve Buchanan says yes!

But there’s more to it. Steve talks about the mindset of looking beyond individual products that we might have skills with and owning the entire problem of providing platforms for your organization to get work done.

The conversation dives into the many products that can help our applications function better and the challenge of making them secure and fast. Are containers the solution? Possibly!

It’s your platform; focus on the fundamentals and go further!

I had a great time chatting with Richard and we didn’t even mention AI until 40 minutes in. haha

You can check out the episode here:

https://runasradio.com/Shows/Show/924

or here:

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GitHub Copilot for IT Pros – my 23rd Pluralsight Course Published

Exciting announcement for the new year. My 23rd course with Pluralsight has published! This one is a Generative AI related course. It is titled “GitHub Copilot for IT Pros“. This is my first course in 2024.

Github Copilot is not just for Developers, its also for IT pros. In today’s world, AI is ubiquitous, enhancing efficiency and acting as a valuable assistant. GitHub Copilot, an AI-powered para-programmer, accelerates coding for developers, making the process faster and more efficient. IT professionals can also leverage Copilot to enhance their efficiency across various domains, including automation and Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

This course is for folks in roles such as Platform Engineers, DevOps Engineers, Systems Engineers, Cloud Engineers, and more. It will help you learn how GitHub Copilot can be leveraged as coding sidekick, speeding up IaC and automation script development.

This course shows you how to use GitHub Copilot, the AI-powered peer developer integrated into Visual Studio Code. First, you’ll explore GitHub Copilot and its features. Next, you’ll discover GitHub Copilot IDE integrations. Finally, you’ll learn how to use GitHub Copilot’s various features. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge of GitHub Copilot needed to utilize GitHub Copilot as an IT pro.

Some of the major topics covered include:

  1. What AI & Common AI Terminology is?
  2. Understanding GitHub Copilot and its Features.
  3. How to setup GitHub Copilot with VS Code?
  4. How to use GitHub Copilot features like: suggestions, autofill, code testing, Copilot chat & more.

When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have a better understanding of GitHub Copilot all up and how it can be a critical tool for IT pros.

Check out the “GitHub Copilot for IT Pros“ course here:

https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/github-copilot-it-pros

This course is also part of new “Microsoft Copilot Product Journey” and “Generative AI for IT Pros Path” paths on the Pluralsight platform.

https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/skills/generative-ai-for-it-pros

https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/skills/microsoft-copilot-product-journey

In the Microsoft Copilot Product Journey path you will also find courses on the following (NOTE: many of the courses are still being developed):

Introduction to Microsoft Copilot
Copilot for Microsoft 365 Apps (Microsoft Office)
Copilot for Microsoft Teams
Copilot for Web
Copilot for Microsoft Windows
Copilot for Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive
Copilot for Power Platform: The Big Picture

I hope you find value in this new GitHub Copilot for IT Pros course. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow me:

https://www.pluralsight.com/authors/steve-buchanan

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Career in Cloud Panel – Azure Community Enthusiasts UG

💡 Starting the new year with another event! We kicked things off with a “Career in Cloud Panel” hosted by the Azure Community Enthusiasts (ACE) user group. Based in the UK, ACE brings together passionate individuals diving into the world of Azure.

This user group aims to create a community of enthusiasts and professionals passionate about learning Microsoft Azure. Their meetups are both online AND in-person (London or Birmingham). ACE can be found on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/AzureCommUG

on LinkedIn here:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/azurecommug

and on Meetup.com here:

https://www.meetup.com/azure-community-enthusiasts

I had a blast being part of this Career in Cloud Panel with fellow panelist and long time friend Sam Ernskine (@samerskine) from the UK! Big shoutout to the hosts, friend and Microsoft MVP Kevin Greene (@kgreeneit) from Ireland, and the up and coming Nicholas Chang(@nick_cloudops), also an MVP from the UK. 👩‍💻👩🏿‍💻 It felt like a tech reunion! 🎉

We dove into some cool topics such as: what got us hooked on tech, the building blocks of tech skills throughout our careers, staying flexible by not tying the knot with one technology, whether cloud certifications are the golden ticket to landing a job, and more. Being on this panel was a total blast – a mix of fun and insightful vibes! 🌐

For those who missed it, you can catch the recording here:

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Learn Live: Building Resilient Intelligent AI Apps On AKS

This week I will be co-hosting another Microsoft Learn Live session. This one is “Learn Live: Building Resilient Intelligent Apps On AKS” in the Intelligent apps series. It is going to be action-packed full of several Microsoft technologies, AI, and AKS.

It is a part of Microsoft Reactor.

Microsoft Reactor provides events, training, and community resources to help startups, entrepreneurs, and developers. More on Reactor here: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/reactor.

In this Learn Live, I will be co-hosting as Cloud Native Developer Advocate Paul Yu will be leading us through a workshop.

The workshop is an interactive tutorial, showing you how to automate testing for cloud-native intelligent apps using the Microsoft sample app the AKS Store, creating performance tests using Azure Load Testing, UI tests with Playwright, resilience tests with Azure Chaos Studio, and getting them running with GitHub Actions. The workshop can be found here: Creating Resilience for Intelligent Apps on AKS.

This Learn Live will be live streamed on Reactor on 26 October, 2023 | 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Central Time (US & Canada). Dont miss it!

Register here:

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/reactor/events/20955/

—————–UPDATE————————

If you missed the session no worries. It was recorded. You can watch the recording of it here:

All of the recordings from this “Build Intelligent Apps on AKS” series can be found here:

https://azure.github.io/Cloud-Native/Build-IA/LearnLive/

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Minnesota Computer Science Education Working Group

Under the Computer Science Education Advancement Act (HF 759 and SF 757) (https://csforallmn.org/cs-ed-bill-2023/), the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has been charged to form a working group that will develop a strategic plan to improve Computer Science for k-12 education in the state of Minnesota. 🎓

🔄 There is an urgent need to elevate Minnesota’s computer science k-12 education position. Minnesota is currently last in the United States when it comes to computer science.

An insightful article highlighting this challenge can be found here: (https://www.startribune.com/minnesotas-high-school-tech-education-is-among-the-worst-stunting-local-industrys-growth/600275879/).

🔄I am thrilled to share that, among 80 applicants, I have been chosen as a member of this new “Minnesota Computer Science Education Working Group” by MDE! 🌟 It’s an honor to stand alongside esteemed technologists and educators from our state. Together, we are committed to crafting a comprehensive statewide computer science education program.

Our mission is clear: bridge the tech education gap in Minnesota’s schools through a plan for long-term and sustained growth of computer science education in all k-12 school districts and charter schools. The working group will develop a robust plan, slated to be presented to legislative committees overseeing education in the state. Upon approval, this plan will be set to improve computer science education statewide.

I am thankful to work at an organization such as Microsoft that supports employees to engage in initiatives such as this. This is a testament to Microsoft’s mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”.

The working group kicks off this week with our first meeting. I am excited to impact computer science in K-12 education, and I invite you to learn more about the initiative here:  https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/stds/ComputerScience/index.htm.

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Platform Engineering Discussion with Andrew Shafer

I’m very excited to announce something that has been in the works for a little while now. I was fortunate to interview the legendary Andrew Shafer (@littleidea). We had a discussion about Platform Engineering. If you don’t know Andrew here is his BIO:

Andrew Clay Shafer helped create the tools and practices that made DevOps a word. He is fascinated with the dynamics of high-performing individuals and organizations and has a reputation for improving outcomes at the intersection of Open Source, Cloud Computing and Software Delivery working on Puppet, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes before founding Ergonautic to focus on improving the way people work.

Basically, he started this whole DevOps thing, was key in the DevOps Days events, has founded some high-profile companies, and more. He is the perfect person to chat with about Platform Engineering because if anyone knows it he does!

I chatted with Andrew in an episode of Pluralsight’s Expert Access. Expert Access is a YouTube series where we (Pluralsight authors) bring in some of the best minds in tech to hear how tech leaders are solving business challenges and their takes on what’s next.

The title of the episode is: “Pluralsight Expert Access: Andrew Shafer on platform engineering as an evolution, not a replacement“. In this episode, I interview Andrew, as he gives his take on what Platform Engineering is, what organizations are chasing to enable developers, and what’s keeping organizations from long-term success when it comes to their DevOps practices. In the discussion we tackle these questions and more:

  • Is Platform Engineering a result of failed DevOps efforts in organizations? Is it just a Service Catalog with the twist of it being geared towards devs?
  • Platforms are not a new concept in the software world. In one of your tweets, there is an interesting line “Continuous Delivery without a platform is malpractice.“ Is this highlighting that organizations have been doing DevOps without platforms? Can you break down this line for us? It seems like there may be a story behind this?
  • Some people may equate Platform Engineering to having an Internal Developer Platform, is this the core of PE or are there other technologies that are also core to it?

Watch the episode for more insights on the importance of changing practices–not just words–for achieving sustainable progress and seeing Platform Engineering as a holistic approach to DevOps and delivery.

Watch the video here:

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New Platform Engineering Course and Blog

Many organizations have embraced DevOps and adopted technologies like Kubernetes, cloud computing, and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like Terraform or Pulumi. Despite these efforts, they often face challenges in delivering on the promises of DevOps and cloud-native. Platform engineering has emerged as the next step in the evolution, breaking down barriers and empowering developers to bring software to the market faster and more efficiently.

Recently I have been working on content to help educate and share my knowledge in this space. I am happy to announce two new pieces of content on Platform Engineering including a new course and a new blog.

Course: Platform Engineering: The Big Picture

Last week my 22nd course was published on Pluralsight! I am really excited about this course because it covers something that has been really hot in tech lately. It is about Platform Engineering. Platform Engineering has emerged as the next step in the evolution, breaking down barriers and empowering teams. Being someone that works with Kubernetes and cloud native this course was right up my alley because I work directly in this space.

The course is titled “Platform Engineering: The Big Picture“. This course will help you explore platform engineering and discover how it can elevate cloud-native development, making developers’ lives easier while achieving new heights in software delivery. Platform Engineering unifies and centralizes toolchains & workflows for self-service making developers’ lives easier while achieving new heights in software delivery.

In this course, you will gain an understanding about Platform Engineering, its benefits, architecture, tooling, workflow and how to adopt it.

Some of the major topics covered in the course include:

  1. A Platform Engineering overview and why it’s needed, how Platforms enhance DevOps and streamline cloud native.
  2. A comparison of DevOps, SRE, and Platform Engineering.
  3. You will learn about Platform Engineering Architecture, its tooling landscape, and Internal Developer Platforms.

Check out the “Platform Engineering: The Big Picture“ course here:

https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/platform-engineering-big-picture

I hope you find value in this new Platform Engineering course. Be sure to follow my profile on Pluralsight so you will be notified as I release new courses

Here is the link to my Pluralsight profile to follow me:

https://www.pluralsight.com/authors/steve-buchanan

Blog: 8 tools every platform engineer should know about

I am also excited to announce my second Platform Engineering-related blog post on Pluralsight. This one is titled: “8 tools every platform engineer should know about”. In Platform Engineering there are a lot of tools that can make up a platform. It can be confusing and hard to know what tools to focus on in the Platform Engineering space. In this blog post, I list 8 tools that are a must-know when you are in the Platform Engineering space.

👉 Read the blog post here:

https://www.pluralsight.com/resources/blog/it-ops/top-platform-engineering-tools

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New Platform Engineering Blog Post on Pluralsight

I am excited to announce my second ever blog on Pluralsight.com. This blog is about Platform Engineering. In this post I break down what platform engineering is, the business problems it solves, and how to know if your organization is ready to roll it out yet.

In the blog post, we explore why there is so much hype around platform engineering, if Platform Engineering is a replacement for DevOps, how Internal Developer Platforms help resolve the infrastructure gaps, and more. Be sure to check it out!

👉 Read the blog post here:

https://www.pluralsight.com/resources/blog/it-ops/what-is-platform-engineering

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