Time to Restart & Install Updates! [Study Resources] AWS & Azure

It’s that time of year for me to hit restart and install updates!

I will be looking at refreshing skills in both Azure and AWS. Wish me luck!

A few exams and study resources on my radar below:

Microsoft Azure Exams

AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
AZ-203 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure
AZ-300 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
AZ-301 Microsoft Azure Architect Design
70-473 Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions

Please note: The following exams retire June 30, 2019!
70-774 Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning
70-775 Perform Data Engineering on Microsoft HDInsight

Udemy and Pluralsight have a selection of courses, Edx.org offers a number of Microsoft Certification Tracks that cover a range of Azure skills:
Microsoft Professional Program in Data Science
Microsoft Professional Program in DevOps
Microsoft Professional Program in Artificial Intelligence

AWS has Updated and New Exam Readiness Courses

Aligned to the recently released AWS Certification exams:
Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – Specialty
Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Security – Specialty

Updated Exam Readiness Courses
Reflect new features, services, and best practices covered in the respective exams:
Exam Readiness: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional
Exam Readiness: AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional

Another great AWS resource is courses available via ACloud.Guru.

[I’m Speaking!]: PASS DevOps Virtual Group

As the use of Machine Learning becomes more integrated into our Analytics core competencies, I find myself reviewing implementations and processes and asking myself … ‘How do I make this easier for next time’? CI/CD practices in Machine Learning projects is a step that is often overlooked in newly formed teams.

I am excited to be speaking with the DevOps enthusiasts @ PASS DEVOPS VG about how they can help their Data Scientists operationalize their code. Register: DEVOPS.PASS.ORG
Date/Time: Wed, May 22 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM GMT

Azure offers the right tools and services that make the process seamless. During the session, we will walk you through a simple process of integrationg Python code in VSCode with Azure Devops capabilities. Oh, and spoiler alert, as an #AIAdvocate, I might also show you a bit of what #Azure #CognitiveServices can do!

Hit Refresh: Girl’s Day Out

Cassie Kozyrkov breaking down AI & ML. Today’s golden nuggets … ‘AI is the labeling of stuff’ and ‘ML let’s us code by example’. Brilliant!! AIforEveryone  See her presentation here: bit.ly/quaesita_island and bit.ly/quaesita_dmguide  

“Don’t be afraid to try on a new pair of shoes:
Become your own Cheerleader
Become your own Director
Become your own Empathizer”
[Jeanny Chai, The Bamboo Ceiling]

Thank you Jeanny Chai for sharing your message!

Thank you Corrine Long, SPHR, Kyle Hale, David Cordeiro, Eugene Bekker for the opportunity to attend Women of Silicon Valley.  This is why I continue to choose weareavanade! WIT

RECAP: #GlobalAzure Bootcamp

Microsoft + Avanade: Your Partners in Continuous Learning!

Had a fantastic day at the Houston MTC, many thanks to Microsoft for hosting!  With over 270+ locations worldwide, it was great to see so many Azure enthusiasts.  Our Houston event saw over 230+ registrants!

Proud to say that Avanade also sponsored events in Toronto and Dallas… #weAreAvanade.

Special thanks to our speakers:

Tammi Warfield, GM Customer Success, Microsoft
Eugene Bekker, Studio Lead, Avanade
Adam Hems, Microsoft
John Smith, Avanade
Pete Zerger, Lumagate
John Eldridge, Silicus
Kyle Hale, Avanade

It takes a team to host an event.  Siraj Mohammad & Stephen Leuthold, thank you for owning the event with me.  And thank you to the volunteers who gave up their Saturday to make sure we had a great experience:Komal Naqvi; Corrine M. Long, Seli Ramirez, Alan M. Zigelman, Diana A. Villegas, Yash Dalal, Johnny Inthaphone, Jesus R. Gandara,
Jullian Kyoshabire, Lanre Akintade, Bart Beasley, Shaun Bedingfield, Hema Verma.

To the Global Azure Bootcamp first time speakers, future organizers … I hope you realized how many lives/careers you touched at #globalazurebootcamp.  Keep it up!

— With Zuhair Mughal, Stanley Tu, Seli Ramirez

#msftadvocate #weareavanade #sqlfamily

AI in Power BI: Building the Customer Demo that Checks All the Boxes, and more!

I recently responded to a common ask. An existing customer is evaluating reporting tools, do you want to show them what Power BI can do? Of course, it was on!

My first ask: Get me some randomized sample data. This is key to speaking to your customer needs and wants. Be relevant! What is a good dataset? Financial data that covers more than two years, with hierarchical references is perfect. Location hierarchy, such as Country, State, City or category hierarchy such as Region, Department will work. Be sure to include some type of financial transaction field, as well as a transaction datetime timestamp. Hierarchical data will allow for drill downs and the ability to show both summarized and transaction level data.

Now it comes down to building the report and dashboard, and less is absolutely more! What features should we add to the demo report and dashboard?

Speak to Your User Base

Power BI is an enterprise level reporting tool that has the security controls and extensible framework that when properly deployed can be leveraged for both internal Enterprise level reporting; as well as servicing assets consumed externally by 3rd parties.

Plan on showcasing Multi-Tenancy features by configuring row-level security on your data set. Add a few user roles and configure a related group of visuals to change based on user role, including a data table, a map and image. Cover the basic visualizations, slicing and filtering capabilities. The conversation will naturally speak to the white labeling and re-branding capabilities of Power BI, and you might find that the potential user group or use cases within the customer organization will increase dramatically.

Recruit a developer to put together a quick splash page similar to their existing reporting interface to embed the Power BI report. New technologies can be overwhelming, and it can be tough for anyone to visualize how a feature will function within their existing eco-system. If you can get a sample of their data to build your demo, the audience will already be familiar with the data and you relieve a lot of the “imagining” that your audience would otherwise have to do during your demo.

How easy is Power BI to learn and use?

At this point, you’ve successfully shown Power BI’s ability to serve reports and we can now show how easy it is to author and manage reports. A few minutes on creating a new dataset, adding a new visualization and subscribing to a report covers how quickly users can connect to data sources, author reports and self-service. This is also a good time to introduce the marketplace and custom visuals, as well as the .NET API. Even the pickiest developer in the room will agree that while the interface is user friendly, the capabilities for extensive customization is also available.

Looking forward. Why invest in Power BI?

Now it’s time to show them things they weren’t expecting! Your customer is probably not aware of some of the newer artificial intelligence features available within Power BI. Users can now integrate directly with machine learning models for text and image processing while also leveraging Microsoft Natural Language Processing (NLP) features. Key Influencers allows users to perform basket analysis utilizing fields within their dataset. Q&A capabilities allow users to ask questions of their data. Data scientists can easily add in and tweak Python & R code snippets.

At this point, you’ve shared the sheer velocity of development and availability of Microsoft AI features in Power BI.  Congratulations!  #AIforEveryone

Key Influencers Visualization: Courtesy of docs.microsoft.com

Resolutions for 2019: #1 Fail Faster!

We all get comfortable in life. We establish routines, and sometimes years later, we realize we are still the person we were years ago. 2018 was a year of change for me.

At the start of the year I established very clear goals to work towards and was able to check off every single one of the items on my list! My 2018 goals were:

  • Work for a top notch consulting firm – Avanade is the leading provider of innovative digital and cloud services, business solutions and design-led experiences delivered through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem. www.avanade.com.
  • Move from AWS to working in Azure – Azure is the future!
  • Move to a family friendly state – Texas is my new home, my family loves it here!
  • Achieve long overdue MCSE: SQL Server – As well as the elusive MCSE: SQL Server, earned both Azure/AWS Architect certs and both Azure/AWS Big Data certs!
  • Attend SQL PASS Summit, no matter what! – Rejuvenated.  Reconnected with the group who keeps me motivated.
  • Host a Microsoft Community Event – On December 15 2018, I coordinated a local edition of the globally coordinated event #GlobalAIBootcamp. Tickets to the event SOLD OUT in 3 weeks, with 9 distinguished speakers and almost 100 registrants.
  • Achieve Companion Pass Status (Southwest) – 40+ trips this year, … Boston, Seattle, Portland, Houston, Chicago, New York.  For 2019, Hawaii here we come!

At each step of the way, I’ve added friends and made connections within the Microsoft User Group Community. An open and accepting community where everyone is generous with their knowledge and WANTS you to succeed. I undoubtedly would not have been as successful this year without their support!

2018 was a great year, and to help plan for a great 2019, I’ve compiled my action items for achieving continued success next year:

  • Fail Faster – don’t be afraid to pivot, pre-determine your risk tolerance, set stop losses
  • Establish Feedback Loops – increase engagement with others, adapt!
  • Ask for Help – find others with similar goals, seek out champions… work together
  • Mentor More – community is knowledge sharing, see yourself in others… support them!
  • Smile More! – Smiles are infectious!

Find your champions.. Ask for help!    Kyle Hale, Innovation Leader

*Missing Thor Schueler, Innovation Leader     #WeAreAvanade

Find yourself in others .. Support them!  Emiline Ensley and I.

Global AI Bootcamp – Houston Edition 2019. #WomenInTech

I will keep you posted on how these actions track against my goals throughout the year. In the interim, I wish you continued success with all of your personal endeavors in 2019!

Best Wishes… Alicia Moniz



Thank you! For making Global AI Bootcamp – Houston Edition a success!

What metric dictates the success of an event? We held our inaugural GlobalAIBootcamp – Houston Edition event on Saturday, and based on the number of smiles, hugs, and relationships built… I felt it was a huge success! Of course, it takes a huge amount of people to support an event…

On December 15 2018 we held the inaugural Global AI Bootcamp in Houston at Avanade’s Houston Digital studio office. Avanade was the only sponsor of this event, where we SOLD OUT and had over 85 registrants on this global event.  We had 60+ attendees show up, and this was in spite of it being a Saturday event in the middle of December!

Special shout out to our Guest Speakers:

Thor Schueler – Kicked off the day with awesome energy.

Dania Kodeih – We appreciated that you gave up family time to join us. Great overview on AI stack.

Joe Mayo – We were so lucky to have him! Professional through and through.

Kyle Hale – Always enjoy seeing him speak. Great content!

Steven Tidwell – Beware! He’s got jokes. Funny AND Smart.

Wei Hsuan Tsui and Emiline Ensley – Thank you both for exceeding my expectations. Every time I see you present, I am impressed by your professional growth. I look forward to your continued successes!

My AIFamily, SQLFamily for all of their support, guidance, advice: Laurie Carr , Ravi Kumar, Henk Boelman, Bruno Capuano, Steven Tidwell And of course, A HUGE THANK YOU to Avanade and my AvanadeFamily for helping make the event happen: Kyle Hale, Thor Schueler, Linh Nguyen, Chris Ladewig, Tanya Boucher, Nabeel Chohan

Our Speakers!

  • Kyle Hale, Analytics Leader
  • Matt Kilgard, Microsoft Director of Data Platforms
  • Alicia Moniz, Analytics/Organizer

Pic of the Day! #WomenInTech…  Emiline Ensley and I

Excellent whitepaper by Kevin Mentzer on AWS arch strategies..

From Kevin’s Linked In: “Ever wondered what some of the best practices are for spinning up an environment in AWS? Well, look no further – my coworkers at Element 84 and myself have put together a white paper for just that thing – https://lnkd.in/egrX-Je – Not quite what you need? No problem – we can also help you with all the newest services from re:Invent, or tried and true EC2. hashtagaws hashtage84″



Global AI Bootcamp – Houston Edition 2018

Thankful. Humbled. Grateful. [I’m Hosting!] I am honored to be hosting Global AI Bootcamp-Houston Edition, part of a global event sponsored by the Microsoft AI School. Register Here: https://lnkd.in/e9gV9bh . More details soon!
Thank you to our local sponsor: Avanade, and special thanks to Kyle Hale and my sqlfamily for your support and mentorship. Looking forward to working with hashtagGlobalAISummit HQ, Henk Boelman and Alexander Meijers.