Technical Evangelist - Susan Smith

Company: Microsoft
Job Title: Technical Evangelist
Certifications: MCSE, ITIL, PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner, and Azure MCP.
Bio: Highly confident and experienced Technical Evangelist with over ten years’ experience designing, building and selling Enterprise-scale Solutions. Specialising in DevOps, Application architecture, Development and Operations on PaaS and IaaS, relating to Cloud native development and existing application migration to the cloud. Excels at working closely with Customers and Partners to provide the in-depth technical knowledge to strategise their Cloud adoption endeavours.

What career path did you take to bring you to your current job title?

I have a Computer Science degree and started off as a Junior Consultant. I worked in a variety of roles - focussing on the IT Infrastructure side, based on Microsoft Technologies.

The Certifications I have are: MCSE, ITIL, PRINCE II Foundation & Practitioner, and Azure MCP.

I stayed at my first company for 11 years. Then I went Contracting for a couple of years and gained far more experience. Consulting in the UK & the US also broadened my skill-set. I did not choose a particular path, I just network really well and am constantly being recommended for new roles, and take the ones I like and find most challenging.

What does an average working day look like?

There is no typical day. It varies from working with Enterprise Customers regarding Infrastructure Projects, DevOps Transformation Projects, building a Windows or Office 365 app, Migrating to the Cloud (Azure), etc, etc.

I also advise Startups, present at a variety of IT-related events and DevOps Meetups. I work with a variety of Technology on the Microsoft stack - focusing on DevOps - particularly Container technologies. I also work with Open Source Software too.

What advice would you give someone getting into the industry?

Try to get on an Internship program at a large company. Microsoft (for example) offer a really great one giving you experience of most parts of the business and you are actually given real work and are treated like an equal.

Gain certifications in the area you are interested in. Take Computer Science at University. Find a great mentor who can coach you.

Find any free training online - Microsoft offer their Virtual Academy - get networking on LinkedIn and go to Meetups. Join a Startup.

How can we inspire more young people and women into the industry to fill the ever widening skills gap?

Show how IT has changed. Demonstrate the variety of really interesting jobs now available in this sector.

I speak at lots of Women In Tech events & people are always surprised at how great my job is. Get more females in Tech to speak at events to demonstrate how IT has changed. Also show how flexible IT is - I often work from home so get to drop off & pick my kids up from school.

To encourage women into tech, demonstrate how they don't need to know everything from the start - just have a willingness to learn and an interest. Lots of women are put off because they believe they don't have the skill-set. Companies are more looking for the right type of people and how they can make them grow.