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Insights with Sean McDonough

Sean McDonough, Microsoft MVP and a Consultant, Highlighting tips on Answering Questions on MSDN/ TechNet Forums.

The business world has changed dramatically in recent years due to the introduction of new technology and social trends. Executives must learn new methods for managing and supporting their workforce to stay ahead of the competition.

Microsoft has provided a comprehensive platform to help businesses create a more organized and effective work environment. It is essential to understand how the different features of Microsoft 365 work together to maximize its potential.

For our IT Expert Insights, we talked to Microsoft MVP, an Entrepreneur and Consultant, Sean McDonough, about his tech area and some top tips for professionals.

Who is Sean McDonough?

Sean is a Microsoft MVP, a consultant, and a Cincinnati-based provider of SharePoint and Microsoft 365 solutions, services, software, and consulting. He is a Microsoft-certified MCP, MCTS, and MCPD with over three decades of experience developing software, building infrastructures, and solving technical problems.

Through the years, Sean has acquired a diverse and expansive skill set as a consultant, product manager, solution architect, team lead, administrator, and platform evangelist.

Let's have a look at the insights.

Question. 1 What is your specialist tech area(s)?

The interviewer can formulate the question, "Why should I hire you?" Interview questions in a variety of ways, such as:

Question. 2 What Microsoft Forums do you participate in?

I was very active on StackOverflow and ServerFault.

Question. 3 Can you share your top 5 tips for people answering questions on MSDN/TechNet Forums?

I’m fond of the saying, "Know what you know, know what you don't know, and never confuse the two.”

Here are my top 5 tips:

  • Stick to answering the question asked. If there are other details that support your answer, include them.
  • Make sure to include a date of some sort when answering a question. In today's cloud-focused world, information and guidance change rapidly.
  • Clearly differentiate established facts/guidance from conclusions you may have drawn. Both can be valuable.
  • Examples and code samples are valuable additions to most answers you might provide. Consider including them if appropriate.
  • Cite references and include links wherever possible. They lend credibility and the ability for readers to verify/dive deeper on the answer(s) you provide.

Question.4 What are your views on Cloud Security?

Now that many businesses are operating "in the cloud" to varying extents, the question of "Do we need cloud security?" is being asked more than ever.

My answer to this is a resounding "yes."

I have the greatest amount of experience with Microsoft M365 and Azure cloud services, and I know that Microsoft has implemented (and regularly tests) a variety of security mechanisms on its services.

For example, all Microsoft cloud data is encrypted in transport (typically through SSL) and encrypted at rest (asymmetric encryption). Beyond this, Microsoft has structured its cloud services with a variety of mechanisms that can be employed to secure a customer's data.

Question.5 What according to you should the Microsoft Consultants advise customers, when it comes to governance?

There are controls and tools that exist for governance, ranging from guidance and best practices to in-product/in-service capabilities that can do things like automated provisioning, workflows around service use and establishment, permissions management and escalation points, etc.

It’s best that consultants advise customers using Microsoft's cloud offerings to keep tabs on and regularly investigate what they have available as part of their subscriptions. These tools don't take the place of governance planning within your organization, but they may allow you to augment the plans and systems you put together.

Question. 6. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

I don’t have an affinity for any particular tech journal; I read articles, blogs, etc., in various social media streams and searches. One journal I would read closely was MSDN Magazine.

About keeping myself updated with technology, I learn best when spending time with folks more knowledgeable than me and working on real-world projects and problems. I retain knowledge much better in those situations than by reading books, listening to podcasts, etc.

Get to Know Our Expert

What's your mantra on success?

I don’t have one particular mantra, but I believe that those in technology need to talk less and listen more. I also believe in putting myself in the shoes of the people I’m trying to assist with my efforts.

For example, what would my concern be if I were the one receiving support or a product I’d put together? What haven't I addressed? I like to pre-emptively handle plausible situations and anticipate what someone might ask. It delights my customers, and that's never a bad thing.

What best interview advice can you give a Solution Manager or Architect looking to set foot in the US IT industry?

The best advice I can recommend – even more than technical aptitude and ability – is to have excellent communication skills. In my experience, many problems come down to poor communication and misinterpretation.

Be well-written and well-spoken.

You are an MVP. What does this mean for you?

I was recognized as a Microsoft MVP beginning in 2016, and I've been fortunate enough to be renewed each year since. Some folks think being an MVP means being an “expert” (a word I intensely dislike) in a particular domain, but that's incorrect.

The Microsoft MVP award is given to people with a track record of “paying it forward” and giving back to the community. So, the MVP award is an acknowledgement that I’m actively doing things and helping people in the various technical communities in which I participate. And that's a great feeling!

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