PowerShell Influencer of the Week – Jeff Hicks
Hello Readers, welcome to the first post of a new series “PowerShell Influencer of the Week“, where I’ll Interview one PowerShell Influencer, Microsoft Awarded MVP or a PowerShell Community Contributor and publish it on Wednesdays every week! The format goes something like this… I’d be asking 10 questions total, wherein 7 Questions would be specific to PowerShell and related technologies, the next 3 questions would reflect individualism and personality of the influencer, something which we don’t usually see. I think it would be amazing to see the thought patterns and personalities of these wonderful set of people .
As we move on to publishing these interviews every week, I’m also very open to any suggestions or feedback, like if you can think of some better questions that you want me to ask feel free to tweet me @SinghPrateik . I’d love to hear them 🙂 and adapt the format accordingly.
This week I’m so honored to welcome ‘Jeff Hicks’ as our first ‘PowerShell Influencer of the Week’.
Jeffery Hick is a 12 times Microsoft awarded MVP in ‘Cloud and Datacenter Management’, an IT veteran with almost 25 years of experience and a well-known author of various PowerShell books and courses, such as ‘Learn PowerShell in a month of lunches‘ and ‘PowerShell Scripting and Toolmaking‘. He has recently finished writing his book: ‘The PowerShell Practice Primer‘ which consists of 100 PowerShell-centric problems or exercises to practice and enhance your PowerShell skills. With almost 15 thousand followers on Twitter, you can find Jeff sharing and teaching PowerShell community through his website and following social media platforms.
Twitter profile: @JeffHicks
Github profile: https://github.com/jdhitsolutions
Leanpub profile: https://leanpub.com/u/jeffhicks
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/JefferyHicks
Following are my questions along with Jeff’s reply. You may see some inline comments from me in GREEN. Enjoy reading!
Why did you start learning PowerShell?
I have always been interested in automation and scripting. I never felt the urge to go full developer. I started with batch files back in the DOS 3.3 days which eventually led to VBScript. When PowerShell came on the scene it was clear this was going to be the next step so it made sense to take the leap.
Do you have any advice for people who don’t think they can speak at a conference?
I was almost certainly a poor speaker when I started and I like to think I am a much better presenter today. So you have to give yourself permission to fail early and learn from those failures.
But also don’t set yourself up to fail. Start with a presentation for your local user group. Pick a topic that you really know. Problems you solved or “how to” presentations always go over well. You could also make some short videos for YouTube. Then find a PowerShell Saturday event where you can speak.
Each speaking engagement should help build confidence and refine your presentation skills. If you are at an event where someone like myself is in attendance, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. I want to see you succeed so I will happily take notes and suggest areas for improvement. You just need to do it. Audiences are very forgiving and want you to succeed.
What PowerShell projects you are working on now?
I have notes for a set of PowerShell tools to manage and work with it. I realize there are already modules on the subject. But I always like developing my own because I almost always learn something new along the way. I also have some enhancements and bugs for a few of my existing projects. All of my projects can be found at https://github.com/jdhitsolutions
What were you expecting when you wrote your first blog post?
I’ve been blogging for a long time. I’m not sure I recall any specific expectations. I know that part of the blog’s purpose was for marketing and promotion. I was just getting started and felt the need to begin building a reputation. Although I also know I enjoy teaching and sharing and was hoping to use my blog to help other people.
[Prateek]: Jeff has been blogging since 2004, that makes it 15 years of Technical Blogging and more than half of my age :D. Do spend some time on his blog to get an understanding of how consistent he posts on a weekly basis from a long time.
What do you think is the right approach to learn PowerShell scripting?
There is no “right” approach because everyone has different learning styles. Some people can get started by reading a few books. Others are happy with video training. And some people really need the structure of an instructor-led class.
However, once you get started, the real way to learn PowerShell is by exploring, playing and doing. You need to expose yourself to PowerShell constantly. You need to do stuff in PowerShell. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Read blog posts. Watch a YouTube video. Live coding seems to be the thing these days.
Learning PowerShell is like learning any foreign language. The only way you become conversant in Italian is by immersing yourself and finding every opportunity you can to learn something new and practice.
[Prateek]: You may want to look into Jeff’s book ‘The PowerShell Practice Primer‘ to practice PowerShell through exercises and challenges.
How do you keep yourself updated to the latest technology trends and updates?
I often rely on trending topics I see on Twitter. I’ve also found time recently to work podcasts into my routine. Shows like “Commandline Heroes“, “Cloudskills.fm” and “This Week in Enterprise Tech” has been very helpful. They’ve sparked interest in new topics and helped me realize what I should be paying attention to.
Commandline Heroes: https://www.redhat.com/en/command-line-heroes
This Week in Enterprise Tech: https://twit.tv/shows/this-week-in-enterprise-tech
Mention a PowerShell concept, Trick or a Tip that have you learned recently.
When creating a custom object where I wanted to define my own type name, I used to use code like this:
That technique still works. But then I learned that PowerShell now lets you insert a
It doesn’t get displayed as a property name but if you pipe to
Get-Memberyou will see it is used as the typename.
[Prateek]: I didn’t realize that we can do this in PowerShell, so thank you Jeff, for making us learn one more thing!
Can you tell us a little about yourself? like some interesting fact about you, your Hobbies, education etc.
I am often doing crossword puzzles. I enjoy cooking along with fine food and wine. I love being in the Adirondacks with my family.
What would you be doing if you weren’t the person we know today? Maybe a different career path?
In an earlier part of my life was I involved in the performing arts. I have an MFA in Theater Directing. If life had taken a few different turns I’d be teaching acting and directing at a university.
What was the turning point in your career?
I’d say a big turning point in my career was when I met Don Jones. I had opportunities to grow my career I would never have had otherwise.
Thank you so much Jeff, for doing the interview! We as a community appreciate all the work you do.