Paul Ivey is the author of Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure AZ-204 Exam Guide; we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q. What are your specialty areas?
Microsoft Azure, Azure DevOps, and GitHub
Q. How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Paul: I was contacted by a member of the Packt team on LinkedIn while I was looking at expanding my knowledge in topics covered by the Microsoft AZ-204 exam. When they mentioned that they have a project to create an AZ-204 exam guide, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved.
When you want to better learn a subject, believe me when I say that writing a book on the subject helps a lot!
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Paul: Before starting the book, I looked at the competition and reviews to build a better view of what I wanted the book to be. We then went through all of the topics covered by the exam and built out the structure in a way that complements the exam structure. This research didn’t take very long. Most of the research time for me was once each chapter was starting.
Before I created any content in each chapter, I went through each topic deeply and created many complex demos for myself so I could fully understand concepts and documented my learning process, so I could structure the chapters in a logical way to build up the knowledge of readers in a similar way to how I built up my own knowledge of each topic.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Paul: My main challenge was motivation. When you finish a long day at work and want to unwind for the day, it takes a lot sometimes to motivate yourself to get back on and start working on the book!
I started structuring my day specifically with the book in mind, allowing for some time to relax between my day job and writing. When I finished work, I would have some food and watch something on TV for an hour or so, then it would be time to start writing. After a while, it became a habit and each day was less of a struggle.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Paul: These technologies are constantly evolving and will continue to do so. I’m excited to see how everything continues leveraging cloud technology and the incredible empowerment and agility that comes with them.
I think security and monitoring best practises will become more integrated into all services and unavoidable for those wishing to use them, with less reliance on developers or administrators setting up this stuff.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Paul: From reading some of the other books on the market, I believe our book has a more optimised learning experience for readers. The logical flow and exercises are designed to help build a solid understanding of the key concepts. We had the unfair advantage of being able to read reviews of other books on the market and ensure we addressed the concerns that came out in reviews.
Alex (the co-author of this book) and I are both Microsoft Technical Trainers preparing enterprises to sit and pass the AZ-204 exam on a regular basis, so we have a lot of experience combined with the latest knowledge on changes to the exam content.
Q: What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away with from the book?
Paul: A solid understanding of how authentication and authorisation works in Azure, as well as use cases and features of the relevant services. Not just for the exam, but expanding their understanding of a topic is what we’re hoping for this book.
If readers that didn’t understand containers, for example, can finish the book with an understanding of containers, I’ll be happy. The same goes for any topic(s) in the book.
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Paul: It’s a very collaborative experience from the very start to even after the book was finished. The entire Packt team were always keeping in touch and keen to provide help and guidance where needed, and were very welcoming and supportive. I would absolutely recommend Packt!
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Paul: Go to https://techcommunity.microsoft.com, find tech hubs and blogs that interest you and subscribe. It’s a great place to get a heads-up on upcoming changes as well as useful tips.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Paul: Writing the book helped me discipline myself to not just sit at my desk working on my day job for too long. I had a clear cut-off time where I would log off from work, have some food and relax for an hour or so, then I would sit back at my desk and work on the book. At the end of each session, I’d make sure I have a plan for what I’m going to do during my writing time the following day, so when the time came, I would hit the ground running.