It’s been three years since I joined Microsoft… how did I get here? Before you begin, check out my new Facebook page for developers: Shahed Codes! And then connect with me on LinkedIn!
With a background in ASP .NET web application development for enterprise customers, I recently published my first book, “ASP .NET Core Essentials”, via Packt Publishing. You can check it out at the following URL: https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/aspnet-core-essentials
But first, a little history…
Back in 2011, I published a couple of silly little indie games for Xbox 360, using XNA and C# in Visual Studio. While working at my day job, I had gotten a little bored with business applications and decided to teach myself game programming. I made a little profit with my games, including Angry Zombie Ninja Cats.
Ninja Cat Sprite Sheet
With mixed reviews, the ratings bounced back and forth between 3 stars and 4 stars, and finally settled on approximately 3.5 stars. The game even got a brutally honest review from Indie Gamer Chick, who later invited me to write a couple of dev articles for her website:
The latter article even got republished on Gamasutra:
By 2012, I branched out into make free dev tools for XBLIG indie devs, such as the XNA Sales Data Analyzer and XBLIG Basic Starter Kit. The Sales Data Analyzer tool was received well by the indie media (including my now-colleague Dave Voyles), and was used by XNA developers across the US and around the world!
The first time I ever spoke at a public event was at NoVA Code Camp in 2013, while I was working at Excella Consulting. I joined my colleagues Sahil Talwar and Doguhan Uluca in delivering a 3-part presentation on a complete end-to-end lean web application architecture. Specifically, I talked about Entity Framework Code First Migrations.
Combining my background in enterprise business applications and indie game development, I decided to start speaking on various topics ranging from ASP .NET to Xbox game development. By 2014, I achieved a triple-achievement with the following:
- mentioned in Official Xbox Magazine
- selected to received MVP Award
- received job offer from Microsoft
Source: Official Xbox Magazine, March 2014, Page 65
The MVP Award for Microsoft is only for members of the community who are not employees of Microsoft, so I gave up the award when I accepted a job offer from Microsoft in March 2014. Since then, I’ve had the chance to work with all sorts of development tools, technology and platforms, including:
All of the above allowed me to start working on customer projects ranging from Xamarin and Azure to ASP .NET Core and IoT. Upcoming projects will include Bot Framework, Cognitive Services and HoloLens! I also got a chance to build an internal Kinect v2 application called Speech Bubbles, which tracks passers-by and displays cartoon bubbles above their heads to follow them around as they continue walking.
Twitter contest runner-up
Twitter contest winner
I had the opportunity to record 3 courses for Microsoft Virtual Academy with my then-colleague James Quick. The primary topic was Game Development with Construct 2, including the use of Xbox One controllers and the publishing process of getting your game into the Windows Store and the Xbox Store.
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to speak at various community events around the DC/MD/VA region, along the East Coast and even across the US. When Unity Technologies came to town, I hosted their official Unity Roadshow events with Carl Callewaert, Unity’s Global Director of Evangelism. I even took some time off to fly to Barcelona (Spain!) to teach a game dev workshop to a team of King employees. In case you haven’t heard of King, they’re the developers of a popular mobile game called Candy Crush.
In addition to community events, I’ve delivered talks and mentored students at various hackathons, including: American University, Georgetown University, Gallaudet University, Howard University, University of Maryland @ College Park, University of Maryland @ Baltimore County, James Madison University, Johns Hopkins University, George Mason University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
One of these hackathons was HackMIT, where I had the opportunity to join my colleague Gavin Bauman in training a group of HackMIT attendees at the beginning of the hackathon. We also mentored the students throughout the event.
Fast-forward to 2017, I’ve been facilitating the NoVA Code Camp event at the Microsoft office in Reston VA (now twice a year). This community-led event owes its existence to volunteers from the community, including current organizers Ed Snider and Stan Reeser. Past organizers include Tasha Scott and Greg Hurlman.
The following Twitter Moment consolidates the tweets that mention our sponsors and speakers at NoVA Code Camp 2017.1 for Spring 2017:
I’ve continued to administer and moderate multiple developer groups on Facebook (and a real-life Meetup group):
Hope you found some inspiration in my journey. If you’ve made it this far… check out my previous anniversary blog post from 2016!