Chris Rhodes – An MVP’s perspective on TechEd North America

Chris Rhodes - TechEd HeadshotThe following post is contributed by Chris Rhodes ; MCT, MVP in Windows Expert - IT Pro and co-founder of the Windows User Group .

So… TechEd wrapped up last week – and what a week it was, you can find all the main big announcements from the conference here!
I was your roving TechEd correspondent Chris Rhodes, a Windows MVP from Huddersfield. You may have been following my tweets at This year I represented Microsoft Learning Experiences as an MCT Ambassador, so if you took an exam or asked a question about certification, you’ll have seen me. A few weeks before, I wrote an article looking forward to TechEd and what to look out for while you were here. Now the show is over, let’s check in to see how the week went.

On Sunday after my staff briefing, I had time to check out some of the TechExpo show floor still under construction. It amazes me how on earth they manage to build all the stands and put carpet in place in such a short space of time! This year was great for me as I found quite a few of the exhibitors to swap business cards with and checked in with some people I’d met in previous years.

There definitely seemed to have been more people there this year, partly due to folding in the MMS conference with TechEd, so all the sessions that I attended certainly had higher attendance numbers than previous years. I saw a couple of sessions that were standing room only and people were still queuing to get in. I also saw a few of the Windows track sessions, as that’s my thing. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people are now deploying Windows 8.1 to their users. Features like Windows To Go are really starting to gain traction, and that session was swamped. Perhaps giving away a box of WTG devices also helped! Definitely the best session I saw over the whole week.

Chris Rhodes - TechEd Arena

On the booths I was lucky enough to meet some of my IT heroes that I hadn’t met before. It never ceases to amaze me how approachable and willing they are to answer questions. Being a PowerShell nerd I was lucky to talk Desired State Configuration with Jeffery Snover (the inventor of PowerShell) and also talked shop with Don Jones, the best-selling MVP author of many PowerShell books.

Chris Rhodes - TechEd MugshotIn Certification Central we tested hundreds of people, and many people earned their MCP spurs for the first time. The Server Virtualization exam, 74-409 was very popular as it was free, but lots of developers and IT Pros were taking MCSD and MCSA exams this week. Skills areas like developing web applications, System Center and Windows Server 2012 R2 seemed to be the hot technologies this year.

I also had the opportunity to catch up with lot of old friends – my TechEd buddies – many of whom I only get the chance to catch up with at our ritual meets, such as our annual MCT Dinner. I also managed to put a face to a number of names, such as Ben Hunter the community manager for Windows, and Karen Juhl the MCT Program Manager. image

And of course, I bumped into TechNet UK’s very own Man in America, Simon May who now works in Corp. in Redmond. You may have seen  Si delivering some of the great Channel 9 content on the live streams. Don’t forget, if you couldn’t attend in person, or like me, had way too many sessions to watch, why not catch up on all the recordings on the TechEd North America 2014 content catalogue site. 

Until next year TechEd!

Don’t forget - TechEd Europe is just around the corner, coming this October in Barcelona. Thinking of going? Earlybird tickets are still available till the 7th of July, get yours now and save $300!