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My List of Favorite Books

I am humbled to be a mentor to a first-year Computer Science student, and during our initial chat, late last week, I was reciting I list of books that I have found helpful not only in progressing my career but also in my personal life. I told her I would put together a list for her including the reason it’s on my list.

UnBranding: 100 Branding Lessons for the Age of Disruption by Scott Stratten and Alison Stratten

I have not read this yet; it’s sitting on my Kindle waiting for me. I loved UnMarketing, and I’m excited to start this one.

Crush IT!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

An oldie but still a great read. Crush It! was the first book I read when starting my own company. Great lessons to be learned.

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

The book is pre-order at the moment, and I can’t wait to read it

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferris

Tools of Titans was my 2017 Christmas present from my daughter, and I have loved it. I have highlights, bent pages and sticky notes already through it. I would recommend you keep a device close by to reference the links in the book.

Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

The Confidence Code is a great book if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Excellent read.

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

As a woman, it’s assuring to learn that we do not have to be prime and proper. Another great read  if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

One of the best books I have ever read. Fantastic for helping you define and express your passion.

Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J. Scott

Habit Staking was one of my more recent reads, and I’m just finishing it up. Great tips on how to “stack” your day to day activities to become more productive.

It’s Not Rocket Science: 7 Game-Changing Traits for Uncommon Success by Mary Spio

After seeing Mary Spio speak at Grace Hopper Celebration 2017, I immediately purchased her book for the flight home. Fantastic inspirational read and great tips.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim and Kevin Behr

I LOVED this book! If you are in IT, this book will make you laugh as it reflects everything we IT Pro’s have experienced. The book outlines the how implementing DevOps can benefit current IT systems. If you are looking for information on DevOps and the possibilities of implementing a DevOps solution, I would suggest this book.

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

Another excellent read, about learning from missteps and how to recover from these hiccups.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In was the most life-changing books I have ever read. Every woman should read this book! It’s my most recommended and gifted book.

My list is by no means an extensive list one, but these were the books that I found helpful.

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Tired of the Fight

2017 was the year of the “#MeToo” movement: the year when society finally started talking about harassment and assault in the workplace. Diversion, equality, and inclusion have been on the tables of businesses this past year, but has anything really been achieved? For all the talk, minimal action has been taken, and inappropriate behaviour remains tolerated.

In my 25 years in IT, I have not been at one company where I have not experienced sexism, or been subject to inappropriate comments or advances. From being patted on the ass, whistled at, hugged, or told outright that a man was better suited for a task, sexism has been the norm. And it hasn’t just been from male colleagues; in one case a female manager told me to wear a skirt because it was more appropriate. This culture comes from within the company: it wasn’t long before I learned that if you report this type of behaviour, not only does nothing get done, but opportunities will no longer come your way. I began to simply tolerate this behaviour and chalk it up to “the way it is”, which, in my opinion, most women and men do when faced with harassment. As much as companies say they don’t have these problems, they do. Behind the closed door of offices, these actions and comments are still happening, and because we have learned it’s not worth it to report it, the culture then determines it’s okay. It’s a vicious circle.

Companies need to fix the culture within their boardrooms and offices. We all know this needs to be done, but can and will it happen? Complaints must be taken seriously and inappropriate actions must not be tolerated. Those who have been subject to this inappropriate behaviour must be empowered to report it without retribution, and those who behave inappropriately must face consequences. Action needs to be taken in all workplaces, from hotels to restaurants, shopping centres, hospitals, and government, and everything in between.

Over the years, I have done my best over the years to speak out about sexism in the workplace, as well as share what it is really like to be a woman in tech. But I know this battle is impossible to win, and I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing the stories of others, tired of having to recount the behaviours I have encountered, tired of warning others, and tired of trying to fix it. But as tired as I am, I will not stop. In order for women to achieve equality in the workplace, we all need to support them, let them know they are not alone and empower them to have the career they dream of–free of others’ inappropriate behaviour. We cannot stop because we are tired: if we do, we become a part of the problem.

 

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New Microsoft Exam 70-535

Back in the fall of 2017, Microsoft announced that exam 70-534 would be retired at the end of 2017 and replaced with a new exam 70-535. After comparing the two exams I estimate about 80% of the content is the same.  Personally, I think the updates are needed.  If you are like me, an IT Pro, some objectives of exam 70-534 were not in the IT Pro wheelhouse.  For example, as IT Pros, I felt the objective Design Mobile Applications was out of place and I’m glad to see it reduced in the new exam. The new version also includes IoT and AI, both of which are growing in popularity and we as IT Pro’s need to understand how these services are integrated into our environments.

It was also announced that the Azure exams would now be updated every quarter, again, personally, I feel this is a great step forward. I know taking exams is not a fun experience but I take exams to keep current and increasing the cadence of the exams forces us to stay current and ensure who we hire also has the most up-to-date skill set.

To learn what is on the new exam you can view my course on Exam 70-535 First Looks on LinkedIn Learning or Exam 70-535 First Looks on Lynda.com. I have also included a study guide with all the objectives and associated links to help you prepare for this new Microsoft exam (see below for link). The guide is a simple Excel workbook and you will need to update it as the exam is updated.  I’ll also update this study guide as I prepare my upcoming courses as well as my own cert prep. If you prefer a OneNote version please email me and I’ll forward it along.

70-535 Study Guide

Good Luck on your Exam Prep!

Categories: Uncategorized

Grab Your Favorite Beverage

Welcome to Grab Your Favorite Beverage, my updated blog and 2018!  You may be wondering where the title comes from. Grab your favorite beverage is how I start each of my courses on LinkedIn Learning. This blog, is hopefully, going to become an extension of my courses.  Here you will find information about courses that are released as well as any study notes or other materials that you may find helpful and whatever else I wish to blog about that is technology related.

Since my last post, a lot has changed. I left Microsoft and found my dream job at LinkedIn Learning.  This transition left no time for my blog. One of my goals for 2018 is to become more involved in community, whether that is my online community or locally and updating this blog is the start of this initiative. Please feel free to reach out with questions or suggestions!

Sharon

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Awesome Start to 2016

We all start the New Year with resolutions and hopes that the year will be even better than the last. For me, 2016 started off on the right foot. But before I talk about 2016: here’s a quick recap of 2015.

2015 was supposed to be the year of stability, after a marital separation. It was supposed to be the year to get comfortable, spend time with my kids, and enjoy the new me. Instead, it was the year of change! The man I started dating in 2014 is a bigger part of my life than I ever anticipated, and I moved into a new and wonderful home. My career goals changed and I was able to take on roles that I would not have been able to without the support of my boyfriend and kids. I achieved the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification (finally) in December. My role at the office broadened and I was able to spread Azure excitement and training to Microsoft partners. 2015 was a great year!

But 2016 is going to be awesome! After several years of waiting in the wings it is now time for me to push the boundaries even more, take on new challenges, and finally focus on my career now that my personal life is in a good place. As of yet, I have not set any personal goals,  but I have set several expectations for my career goals. I am not going to share those here, but I am on the right path. On January 1st, I received notification that I was awarded the Microsoft Valuable Partner (MVP) for the 3rd year in a row. I also decided to renew my Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and was reinstated, and that was all in the first week of the New Year. (I really hope that means I did not peak for 2016.) And this is only the beginning of what I expect to be the best year ever!

Cannot wait to see what happens next.

WP_20160110_005

The start of 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QuickBooks on Azure RemoteApp

Over the last several months, MS Partners have asked me how to configure QuickBooks on Azure RemoteApp. Over the Christmas break, I put together a step-by-step for a workgroup configuration for the CanITPro blog. Stay tuned for the domain configuration in the following weeks.

Categories: Uncategorized

Come hang out with me for a day!

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for technical training on Azure, Win10, PowerBi plus other Microsoft goodies, you will be happy to know we have finalized the ModernBiz winter sessions.

Please register early. Full outlines for each day are listed on the registration page. You do not need to attend every day. Pick and choose the sessions that you are interested in. If you have any questions please feel to contact me.

Looking forward to working with you to help you build your business.

Sharon

Location & Registration:

18-22 January 2016
Toronto – Microsoft Office, MPR Room 1950 Meadowvale Blvd, Mississauga ON

REGISTER HERE

2-5 February 2016

Montreal – Microsoft Office, MPR Room 2000 McGill College Avenue, Montreal, QC

REGISTER HERE

1-4 March 2016

Vancouver – Microsoft Office, MPR Room 1111 W Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC

REGISTER HERE

 

Categories: Uncategorized
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