Top Community Honor goes to QDS employee

by Shijaz Abdulla on 25.09.2011 at 16:02

Wajahat Abbas, Service Manager at Qatar Datamation Systems (QDS) has been awarded the Microsoft Community recognition award.


“Community Recognition Award” is an award rewarded to those who are contributing to Microsoft development community within the region as a speaker, trainer and mentor.
Wajahat received this award from Microsoft Pakistan on his continues service to Microsoft development communities. He is also a Judge for Microsoft Image Cup Pakistan since 2007. He was also Microsoft Official trainer for SharePoint 2010 Ignite and a founder member of INETA Pakistan committee.
He was the SharePoint Speaker for Microsoft Open Door Pakistan 2010.
Wajahat is currently working as a Service Manager at QDS. He is an experienced SharePoint consultant and through his consulting and training, he helps clients in Middle East, Pakistan & East African region. He has closely worked with Microsoft consulting services as a contingent consultant. He was also Microsoft MVP for 3 consecutive years. He has around 10 years of IT industry experience.

Forefront Technology Webcast

by Shijaz Abdulla on 19.01.2010 at 09:03

No longer an MVP

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.01.2009 at 07:31

January 21, 2009

I will no longer be an MVP as of February 1, 2009.

Microsoft employees are not entitled for the Most Valuable Professional (MVP)Award, and so ends my exciting tenure with this Award. God willing, I will be joining Microsoft Gulf as a Partner Technology Specialist on February 15 and I will be based in Muscat, Oman.

My new role

As Partner Technology Specialist, my primary responsibility at Microsoft will be to engage with Microsoft partners on strategic customer opportunities, and to enable and support partner success in the technical presales process.

Working@Microsoft has always been my dream. Moreover, the PTS is a very exciting role, and I believe I can make more efficient use of my full potential and skill set compared to my current role (and the ‘pasture’ is pretty green, too! 😉 )

What is going to happen to this blog?

This blog will remain as it is, and I will continue to post my experiences, rant, and bizzare oddities that are sure to come my way – the likes of which you are accustomed to seeing on this blog. Starting February 1, the MVP logo will be removed from this blog and I will no longer use the MVP title.

It goes without saying that the disclaimer at the bottom of this page still holds good at all times, and that the views presented on this blog are my own and not those of Microsoft.

My interaction and support for the online and offline IT communities and fellow MVPs will not end, God willing.

I look forward to working with this team of dynamic individuals that empower people and businesses around the world to realize their fullest potential. Your potential, Our passion!

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the readers of my blog for their constant support, criticism and encouragement.

Technical Presentations for Food

by Shijaz Abdulla on 13.01.2009 at 16:23

January 13, 2009

MVP_BlueOnly Microsoft MVP from Brazil, Alvaro Rezende, decided to deliver technical presentations around the Brazilian territory and, as a price for his events, he charged for 1 kilo of food.

With some help from a school, he gathered 5 tons of food that was delivered to families with serious needs (you can see the photos here). This is a fantastic example of how MVPs help change the world. At least for a country as Brazil, which need both types of help (technical and social).

I was thrilled to hear about the achievement of this MVP from Brazil from my regional MVP lead and I wish there would be more MVPs like him. It’s times like these that I am really proud to be a part of this great community.

Three in a row: MVP again!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.10.2008 at 10:59

MVP_BlackOnly I am pleased to inform the readers of this blog that I have been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for the third consecutive year. The MVP Award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others.

I was first awarded MVP in October 2006 in the ISA Server category. Currently this is known as the ForeFront category.

I thank the Almighty for giving me strength, time and energy to serve the IT community. Let me also thank all of my readers out there for their constant support and words of encouragement. I look forward to continue being a part of the Global MVP community that serves, influences and eases the lives of many IT professionals everyday.

Update (13 Oct 2008): Here’s a picture of the Award:


It says "We recognize and value you exceptional contributions and commitment to the technical communities worldwide."

Session 2 @ Bahrain: Careers in IT

by Shijaz Abdulla on 10.08.2008 at 08:12

Yesterday, I delivered the last session of the two-day workshop at the Summer Shade camp for teenagers. The audience consisted of students from grade 8 to 12.

I provided an insight on the various career options in the field of Information Technology, gave details on various degree courses that can be pursued. It was more of a career planning session that helped students interested in pursuing an IT career to make decisions. I also explained the need for certifications and the various industry certifications available. The career planning session received good interest and it was very interactive.

After the session, we all sat down to eat delicious Bahraini Machboos – and I also got a picture taken with some of the attendees 🙂

Session at Bahrain: Information Technology – Use & Misuse

by Shijaz Abdulla on 08.08.2008 at 09:40

Yesterday I delivered a session on “Information Technology – Use & Misuse” at Al Furqan Center in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It was very interactive and we had a good time discussing the uses as well as threats of modern technology.

We discussed the security and privacy issues on the internet and how we can protect ourselves from software and human threats and have a good overall online experience. A security awareness was emphasized around online interactions and conversations by use of instant messaging, social networking, and other internet tools. We also discussed why security is important, even at home and simple tools that can be used to ensure privacy. An awareness was created around internet child abuse and the ill-effects of pornography.

We discussed how one can be a good netizen, and how we can take advantage of technology, but at the same time prevent its use for illegitimate purposes. The discussions on illegitimate use of the Internet where in light of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and included issues surrounding pornography, privacy, social networking, multimedia technology, etc.

Audience 1 Audience 2  Me in a Kandoora!

This is a picture of me wearing a Dishdasha!

See Also: Day 2 – IT Career Planning

Technology workshop in Bahrain

by Shijaz Abdulla on 04.08.2008 at 10:14


I will be delivering two sessions at a Teenagers Summer Camp Program in Bahrain on 7th and 9th of August 2008. The ‘Summer Shade 2008’ is being organized by Al Furqan Centre, Bahrain (Bahrain Indian Islahi Centre).

Details of the sessions:

Session 1: Information Technology: Use & Misuse
Information Technology is a two-edged sword. In this interactive session, I will discuss how we can put IT to good use and become responsible “netizens”.
Date & Time: Thursday, 7th August 2008, 4.00 PM – 6:00 PM
Venue: Al Furqan Center – Lecture Hall
Language: English

Session 2: Careers in Information Technology
Career Orientation for students aspiring to enter the Information Technology field – what courses to do – certifications – career paths – IT job roles – tips from the industry.
Date & Time: Saturday, 9th August 2008, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Venue: Al Furqan Centre – Lecture Hall
Language: English

Registration is required for this event. Those interested in attending these sessions should contact Al Furqan Centre on +973 3985-7414.

See also: Session at Bahrain: Information Technology – Use & Misuse

Frequently Asked Questions about being an MVP

by Shijaz Abdulla on 09.04.2008 at 21:32

Microsoft MVP: Independent Experts. Real World Answers.

Time and again, I have been approached by people who are interested in knowing more about the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Program. Some are interested to know Microsoft’s stand on MVPs, others want to be MVPs themselves, and some others are just curious.

I’ve been asked about the MVP program almost everywhere I’ve represented myself as an MVP – workplaces, customer locations, industry events, user group events, job interviews and even at social gatherings.

So I thought its about time I compiled an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the MVP Program!

Question 1:
I am an MCP. How do I become an MVP?
Which exams to pass so that I can become an MVP?
(No, don’t laugh – its the most common question I get)

None. You don’t need to pass any exams to become an MVP. The MVP is not a certification. It is an award given annually to selected individuals within the IT community for their outstanding contributions to technology and the community in general. Although MVPs are usually Microsoft certified, there is no reason to have any certification to be considered for an MVP. Read on.

Question 2:
I am an expert and I think I’m too good. Can I become an MVP?

Being an expert does not entitle you to become an MVP. An expert who is willing to voluntarily share this knowledge to the community (i.e. other IT professionals/developers/users) is an ideal candidate for the MVP Award.

Question 3:
How do I become an MVP?

Better rephrase your question to: “How do I contribute to the community so that I may be considered for the MVP?”

Be prepared for the long haul. Ask yourself the question: “Do I just want to become an MVP so that I can use the MVP title with my name?”. If deep inside, your answer is ‘yes’, then this title isn’t for you.

Question 4:
OK. So how does one contribute to communities?

MVPs usually have an in-built passion for sharing knowledge. They feel great when they express themselves. They feel delighted when they radiate their knowledge to peers. MVPs share knowledge by speaking at IT events, running an active user group, maintaining technical blogs and websites, contributing to forums, producing technical webcasts/podcasts, writing books, whitepapers, etc.

The important thing is that it should come from within you – its a mentality to share information voluntarily. I think its second nature to most MVPs. You cannot force yourself to do this – if you do, you might just end up breaking out from the program because you will gradually lose interest.

MVPs also act as an indirect feedback channel to Microsoft. Being extraordinary customers, Microsoft gets a pulse of what customers feel about their products and services.

Question 5:
I am too busy to do some of this stuff. Can I still become an MVP? Is there any shortcut?

MVPs are busy people, too. We are normal people with a job, a family and a life. This has got more to do with developing a passion and moving forward with it. There are no shortcuts. MVPs are a select group of experts, handpicked by Microsoft. That’s why there are so few MVPs and thats why all of them are so good!

Question 6:
Do you have any tips for me?

Yes. Here are some. These are my views alone – all MVPs need not agree on all points.

1. MVPs have a basic inclination towards Microsoft products and technologies. I mean, we really love the company! And we are crazy about it. Most MVP’s (like me, for instance) will never be able to hear and accept distorted images about Microsoft even when nobody’s looking! We just can’t stand someone talking ill about the company and will defend Microsoft – with educated and professional counter-arguments.

2. Behave yourself. Do not use abusive/insulting language at forums, speaking engagements, etc. You are an alternative face of the company. MVPs are closely associated with Microsoft and they wouldn’t want you to do anything that they would not do.

3. Understand Microsoft’s policies, and study the reasons behind them. Respect the ideals of the company and speak respectfully. Be careful on what you say in public and online in your blog, forums, etc.

4. More at Robert McLaw’s blog.

Question 7:
Does Microsoft pay you? Why do you promote Microsoft for free?

No, Microsoft doesn’t pay MVPs. Although MVPs indirectly promote Microsoft products, we do it out of passion for the technology. For most MVP’s, Microsoft technologies are our bread & butter. We are usually specialized on one or more Microsoft products. It’s pure passion. Contribution to communities and securing the MVP status gives us a feeling of achievement.

Question 8:
Does being an MVP help you in your career?

Even though a direct monetary gain from Microsoft is absent, the MVP title has significant career benefits. The Most Valuable Professional award stands out in your resumé and MVP’s are in great demand in the industry, especially for positions that require expertise in Microsoft products. The MVP title is a trusted seal that we are known experts in the industry, directly endorsed by Microsoft for sharing knowledge. Speakers who are passionate about sharing knowledge are usually people of good character, personable and well-spoken – which are traits that employers usually desire in employees. Hiring an MVP who participates in public events often indirectly brings fame to the employer. Some MVPs eventually make it into Microsoft too.

Question 9:
Am I too young/old/short/tall/fat/ugly/etc to become an MVP?

The MVP Program knows no discrimination, except in the passion to share and the desire to lead. Young and old alike can become MVPs. As Robert McLaws puts it: “DON’T be elitist just because you’ve been in the industry for a while. You won’t be around forever, and someone younger than you will eventually take your place. In this industry, you can be relevant one day, irrelevant the next.”

Update: As of April 2006, MVPs must be at least 18 years of age.
Question 10:
Can I be an MVP for life?

No, the award is given annually and is valid only for the year it is awarded. No harm though, in stating publicly that you were an MVP once upon time in 1998. If you are a current MVP and you keep up with your contributions, you may be re-awarded the next year.

Question 11:
Would you like to work for Microsoft some day?

Me, person
ally? Yes. 🙂

Microsoft Technology Day, Kuwait

by Shijaz Abdulla on 31.03.2008 at 16:01

Slide decks: Click here to download the slide deck (.ppt format)

I had a great time at Kuwait, at the Microsoft Technology Day 2008 held on March 30, 2008. There were around 300 attendees, 20 speakers and 42 sessions on various Microsoft technologies. Speakers comprised of MVPs, Microsoft employees and trainers from Infocenter Kuwait, who are also the key sponsors of the event. Sureen Aslavi, MVP from Kuwait played an important role in organizing this event.

Amr El Garhy from Microsoft Gulf who is our MVP Tech Lead and Developer Evangelist kicked off the session with a lively keynote session. He took the audience on a tour of Photosynth and explained some of the exciting areas that Microsoft is currently focusing on.

Keynote session: Amr El Garhy, Microsoft Gulf

Ruari Plint, the MVP MEA Program Manager from Microsoft, joined us in a videoconferencing session from South Africa.

Live from South Africa – Ruari Plint, MEA MVP Program Manager, Microsoft

This was followed by our technical sessions. The sessions were very lively and I enjoyed interacting with the Kuwaiti IT professional community. They were a great audience and I believe they benefited from the sessions we delivered.

On the request of those who attended the event, and for those who missed the event, I am uploading the slide decks for all four of my presentations:

Session1 – Managing Virtualization with SCVMM
Discussed Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative, the need for virtualization and how SCVMM can be used to gain better control over a virtualized datacenter. Session included Live Demos.

Session 2 – Windows Server 2008 Server Core
Discussed the advantages of running Windows Server 2008 Server Core. The session was intensive with live demos on how to set up a DHCP server on Server Core from scratch. This session was very interactive and had a large number of attendees. Almost every attendee actively participated in this session. As promised, I will also post an article describing all the commands that we explored during the session. Watch this blog!

Session 3 – Top 10 mistakes while configuring ISA Server
Discussed some of the most common mistakes that administrators make while configuring ISA Server. The session had a full house, and it was humerous and interactive, with attendees sharing some of their own ISA Server bloopers.

Session 4 – Identity Lifecycle Management
Explained the importance of Identity Lifecycle management in the enterprise. Attendees were fewer than the other sessions. The audience included managers, decision makers and HRMS administrators. I explained how Identity Lifecycle Management can be applied in a real world scenario and how Microsoft ILM can help in various scenarios.

Slide decks:
Click here to download the slide deck (.ppt format)

If you have been to any of my sessions, I would like to welcome your feedback as a comment to this post or by email.

See also: Destination Kuwait!

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