Introducing the Visual Studio ALM Rangers – Brian A. Randell
Who are you?
My name is Brian A. Randell. My online home is brianrandell.com. I’ve been working in the software industry for 30 years now. I’m in my 13th year as a Microsoft MVP. I use my middle initial as to not be confused with another distinguished Brian Randell—Emeritus Professor at the School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, U.K. I am a Partner with MCW Technologies LLC. My day job is a lecturer, consultant, and general geek. I started as a sysop on HP 3000 mini computers. I then moved to programming—RPG, COBOL, C/C++, SQL, Visual Basic, and now mostly C#. I do a lot of writing having built courses for DevelopMentor and Pluralsight. For a few years I wrote the VSTS column for MSDN Magazine. I’ve built training kits (demos, slides, and scripts) for more than 20 years for Microsoft as a vendor often on pre-release products including every release of Visual Studio, SQL Server, Microsoft Transaction Server, Azure, and various releases of Office. As a consultant I help teams build solutions more effectively. I’ve worked with small companies, local and state governments, and Fortune 100 companies with over 2 million “butt-in-seat” air miles.
I’m a regular speaker at technology conferences all over the world. I’ve spoken at Microsoft’s Tech Ed conferences in the US, Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. I’ve also presented at past PDC events, run labs Microsoft’s internal Tech Ready, and other various public tours. I’m a co-chair for Visual Studio Live where I’ve spoken since 1997; and I speak at user groups when I can. My day job is focused on ALM and DevOps using VSTS/TFS, PowerShell, and Azure, but I love general programming, user experience, and new and exciting tech including working with my Kinect and HoloLens. I’m a big fan of virtualization having helped Microsoft ship some of the first “customer ready” virtual machines for the SQL Server team and for a long time, the Visual Studio Team System virtual machines. For the last three years I’ve been working as a co-founder at a startup that helps anyone manage sets of virtual machines for training and education using Azure at DuoMyth.
I’m lucky be blessed with a wonderful family. I’ve been married to my wife Juliane for over 20 years and have two wonderful children. We live close to many of our relatives including my mother and brother. I’m very blessed to have both sets of my grandparents alive with my paternal grandmother about to turn 90! Family is super important to me as is making the world better. Recently I’ve gotten involved in helping Team Seattle raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital via the Heart of Racing.
What makes you tick?
I love technology and how it can be used to make our lives better. I love that I can make a living doing something I love. My father, who died in work accident when I was 13, engrained a “hard work” ethic which means a long day is normal but rewarding in its own right as a job well done. I love movies especially science fiction. I translate that to my job with all the FUI—fantasy user interfaces—we see and spend a lot of time working on UX in modern software. I can’t function without good music and love 80s hair metal but today listen to just about anything. I can make noise on my electric guitar but prefer listening to professionals. I love concerts and the feeling of being a huge crowd—the energy. I’m a voracious reader having learned speed reading at age 9. When I get outside it’s often to drive my V10 M5 or to go to the race track to watch.
Where do you live?
Upland, California, USA.
Why are you active in the Rangers program?
Because I work at home, I rely upon virtual interaction as way to be a part of a tribe. The ALM Rangers are focused on making the larger Microsoft ALM/DevOps community better. Thus I’m made a better human by being a member of this tribe.
What is the best Rangers project you worked in and why?
Right now I’d say my current project since it’s in the front of my brain: shipping a ready to use Azure-based solution for using SonarQube with TFS or VSTS. I’m also enjoying working as a UX advisor across multiple in-flight Rangers projects.
This post is part of an ongoing series of Rangers introductions. See Ranger Index (Who is Who?) for more details.