Reflections on 2023

John Kilmister, · 6 min read

As we come to the end of another year, like in previous years I like to use this time to look back and reflect. Although this is a personal rather than technical post, I hope you may find something of interest, or a small slice of inspiration for the year to come.

Speaking and Events

A photo of John Kilmister speaking at DDD

This year I once again had many great opportunities to speak at community events. All the groups are very welcoming and encourage new speakers so if you have not spoken before I would highly recommend it. In addition to learning and refining my skills, I really enjoyed having discussions after the talks and hearing about people’s experiences.

During the year I gave a lightning talk at DDD Southwest, spoke about load testing at the South Coast user group, discussed the complexities of Azure BLOB storage with both the Welsh Azure user group and the Azure User Group Sweden and returned to Solent University to talk about working in the IT industry. Many of these talks are available on YouTube and links can be found on the events page of this site.

The year has also included a few Podcast interviews. I have enjoyed these informal chats and find it interesting to talk about our experiences. In July I spoke to Gregor Suttie on his YouTube channel about Azure PaaS and Serverless. Back in June I spoke to Shrey on the Developer Diaries Podcast about why I left Tech Management and The T Shaped Developer.

Beyond speaking, I attended the South Coast summit along with some of the Developer South Coast User Group events. I hope to attend more events in the coming year.

Microsoft MVP Award Renewal

A group of MVPs at eh Build AI Day

In March I was very pleased to be renewed for another year as an Azure MVP. Over the last year, I felt I’ve had the opportunity to get more involved in community events and benefit from being part of the programme. This included attending the virtual MVP summit and having the chance to take part in the London Build AI day, along with many of the other fellow MVP’s. It was great to attend the Build AI day and meet many of the MVPs, learn more about AI, and see the inspirational speakers.

It is a great honor being part of the MVP community, getting to talk to many knowledgeable people and sharing my own experiences with you all.

Exam Updates

One of the things I hope to achieve in 2023, was to attempt the Azure DevOps exam. It was an interesting exam and unlike the title suggested went well beyond just the Microsoft technologies, encompassing many of the wider DevOps practices. I’m pleased to say that in February I passed the exam.

This year was the first time I went through the renewal process for my existing exams, renewing both my developer and architect certifications. I found the process straightforward and significantly easier than the original exams.

I don’t think I’ll be focusing on exams too much this year. I may take the opportunity to look at some of the fundamental exams or the new applied skills.

Website and Blog Posts

This year I have continued to post on this site at least once a month. I set this personal goal to help motivate me to write more and share my experiences.

This year I got around to writing a number of posts that had been on my list for some time. This included A Beginners Guide to Getting Started with the Kusto Query Language in Azure and Controlling Azure DevOps Pipelines through Teams Integration and Manual Intervention Steps.

I once again contributed to the Azure Spring Clean (with a post on Soft Delete, Azure Back to School and Festive Tech Calendar. These community events are a great way to give motivation to post new content.

In October I finally re-platformed my blog to Astro, a job I had been putting off for some time. As well as improving the performance, and accessibility and adding new features like tags this will open the option of adding new content types next year.

I hope to keep to my once-a-month posting schedule in 2024 and have ideas around both shorter trips and longer in-depth posts.

Word Searches

A screenshot of some word searches and solutions

I decided to tackle a personal project I’ve been wanting to for many years. Motivated by learning the new C# features I decided to create a word search builder that would generate hundreds of PDF puzzles. The project turned out as planned and was great fun to build however selling the generated puzzles didn’t really work out.

Instead, I have now open-sourced the library as a NuGet package so others can benefit from the code. For the festive tech calendar this year I presented how this library works and hope others will now use it.

Book Review

Fellow MVP, Jonah Andersson, has been working on her book Learning Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing and Development Fundamentals. It is a great book, and I had the opportunity to be both a technical reviewer on the book and provide a quote for the first chapter. This is the first time I have read a book as a technical reviewer and it’s something I would do again.

Jonah is an inspiration and if you have not had a change to look at the book yet, please do check it out.

2023, 2024, and Beyond

In last year’s review post, I set out the hope of finishing my Raspberry Pi hovercraft project. Sad to say the parts are still all in the box and is not something I really have had the motivation to do. Motivation is something I struggle with, especially towards the end of the year.

On a more positive note, I did complete the Azure DevOps Microsoft exam that I was hoping to and created several talks.

This year I did not get the opportunity to do any mentoring projects, but this is something that I hope to do more in the future, as I think it is important to help the next generation of developers.

Over this coming year, I hope to attend the MVP summit in person and meet many of the great MVP’s that I’ve only spoken to remotely.

As with last year I still love learning and sharing so once again I hope to create new talks to share with the community. I also hope to complete something that I’ve been planning for several years, a new way of sharing my content and ideas. At this point, I’m not sure what that will be maybe YouTube shorts, drawn sketches, or something else.


Only when looking back do I realize how much I have achieved this year, supported by so many great community members.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and I would like to wish you all a happy new year and hope you have a great 2024.

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