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I recently accepted a job as an Architect Evangelist for Microsoft, working with the central region Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) team out of Downers Grove, IL. I am extremely excited - this is a dream come true! I’ve spent most of my career as a IT consultant largely focused on Microsoft technologies, and I think this role will really allow me to focus on my interests and passions.

The story behind how I first learned about the role, and how I came to get an offer, is long and (probably) pretty boring. Suffice to say, I first heard about the opportunity back in September/October 2007 and had my “finals day” interview in January 2008. Since accepting the job, life has been a complete whirlwind; as if starting as a new hire at Microsoft isn’t hard enough (they really mean it when they say “drinking from the fire hose!”), we’ve also had to get our house on the market (moving from Colorado to Illinois) and figure out where we’re going to live in Illinois. I am so lucky to have a wife and family that are completely supportive and willing to go through this chaos with me. Without them, there’s no way I could handle all these changes.

So, today was my official first day as an Architect Evangelist. It was a unique first day too, as I am down here in Las Vegas for the week for the Central Region DPE offsite meeting. Not a bad way to start! In all honesty, it should be a great way to get to know members of the team that I would not otherwise meet in person, as they are scattered across the country. I was luck to be able to meet a few members of my local team during my final interview, and I can’t wait to start working with them. I was impressed by them all, and they seem genuinely friendly and easy to work with. And they have blogs too (most of them, anyway); here they are (in alphabetical order):

Dave Bost - Developer Evangelist (DE)
Larry Clarkin - Architect Evangelist (AE)
George Huey - Architect Evangelist (AE)
Beth Humphreys - Infrastructure Architect Evangelist (IAE)
Robin Mestre - Platform Strategy Advisor (PSA)

I should also mention Hanu Kommalapti (AE), as he tech’d me over the phone last year. Although he’s not in my local group, I hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with him.

I really can’t wait to meet the rest of my new colleagues throughout the rest of the week.

Since accepting the job I have been asked the same question at least a few dozen times: what exactly is an Architect Evangelist? I think it’s the word “evangelist” in the title that throws people off. And, to be honest, it threw me off for awhile too. However, I’ve worked with many evangelists over the last few years and they have all been smart, energetic, and excited about what Microsoft solutions can do to affect change for businesses. None of them have been preachers on a pulpit, but rather resources that are willing to help explain the benefits of the Microsoft stack.

As I’m new to the role, maybe some of the text from the job description will help:

The Architect Evangelist is a member of the Microsoft Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) group. The DPE mission is to secure platform adoption and revenue growth through evangelism, community engagement, relationship marketing and a vibrant solutions ecosystem. DPE is committed to broad Microsoft platform adoption and a vibrant ecosystem of customers, partners and developers. Through evangelism, marketing and sales, DPE helps secure the Microsoft platform, now and in the future.

The Architect Evangelist responsibilities include:

  • Drive highly visible design wins that lead to compelling evidence and customer references.
  • Being the face of Microsoft Architecture in the Local Software Ecosystem.
  • Build and maintain a vibrant local ecosystem through an integrated approach to evangelism, communities and intelligent audience marketing.
  • Being the Microsoft application platform trusted advisor for customers, partners and local Microsoft resources.
  • Subject Matter Expertise in competitive platforms.

Build and maintain deep understanding of:

  • Architectural concepts, issues and trends.
  • Microsoft architectural vision and roadmap.
  • Developer life cycle, Microsoft enterprise developer tools strategy, including VS.NET, .NET frameworks.
  • Integration of Microsoft enterprise products, technologies, and solutions into heterogeneous environments.
  • Maintain knowledge of competitor’s strategies and technologies and provide feedback to Microsoft Corp. These include J2EE, JEE, IBM Websphere, BEA Weblogic, Open Source, Sun and Oracle.

It’s a tall order, and I’m sure it’ll be a challenge. But, I’m really excited about the opportunities and I can’t wait to start!

Given my new role, I’m sure the character and content of this blog will change; hopefully for the better! Please feel free to share any of your input or observations as I move forward.