Azure Heroes: Mentor

Azure Heroes: Mentor

This article will go over the Azure Heroes: Mentor digital badger I received by Microsoft.

I’ve been mentoring 4 students the last year, and it’s been one hell of a ride. Lot’s of work but also lots of fun and knowledge sharing.

Three of the students are doing an Network/Economy degree, and their 2 projects are on PowerApps/PowerPlatform (with a big follow up of our amazing and very talented freelance HR-and-so-much-more-than-HR-guy Frank Vanhamel – thanks for making this happen btw Frank!) and one on the Modern Workplace. The project on the Modern Workplace is a non technical one, which makes it even harder. I’m a technical guy and even though I’m doing some technical presales, following up on technical projects would be much easier. But the students are doing one hell of a job! They have to document and give a presentation on how organizations or corporations can move to a Modern Workplace, in a more sales related way. It will be interesting to see what the end result will look like! But I’m sure they will ace it!

My other student is one who has been actively involved in Modern Workplace projects. And for him I have scoped a very good project. We are moving a lot of organizations to a Modern Workplace with Microsoft 365 (Intune + O365 + MCAS + MDATP + …) and because of this move they are in need for solutions for their ‘leftover’ on-premises environment. Let’s say they have some servers left on-premises (Print Servers, PKI, AD, …) but we take away the need to manage them or to update them (SCCM for example). How can we fill the gap and make them more Modern? Of course there are multiple scenario’s here. We can leave their leftover servers on premises, but then we need to have a solution to manage them (config, updates, …) – Azure ARC can do this for example. We can lift-and-shift their leftover servers to Azure – but that would be a very expensive option. Or we can optimize them and look for better solutions before moving them to Azure (IaaS to PaaS to SaaS).

His project exists of 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 was the setup as-is on-premises (AD – Print Server – SQL Server – Monitoring – GPO’s for laptops – Backup – …).
  • Phase 2 was the research phase. Research on all possibilities and presenting them to a fictional customer with a beautiful presentation and giving advise on which path they should take.
  • Phase 3 was working out the optimization phase. I wanted him to do the optimization plan and look for better solutions in stead of doing a lift-and-shift to Azure. What I wanted him to achieve:
    • Active Directory to Azure Active Directory Domain Services
    • Print Server > Cloud Print solution (Universal Print / Printix)
    • SQL Server > PaaS offering in Azure
    • Nagios monitoring > Azure monitoring
    • Laptops managed with GPO’s on-premises > Intune managed Azure AD Joined devices
    • Veeam backup solution > Azure Backup
    • Fileshares > Sharepoint Online
    • Exchange On-Premises > Exchange Online

It has taken up a lot of my time but it has been so worth it! Spreading my knowledge and teaching him new stuff is amazing. His interest in the Microsoft ecosystem is huge. He had zero Cloud knowledge before and he’ll be a semi-pro already when he finishes school. I wish him all the best, and it would be even more awesome if he starts working with us.

He’s my Padawan. I’m his Jedi Master.

azure heroes mentor


1. What is this Azure Heroes thing?

It’s a new recognition program by Microsoft, and they describe it as a fun way to collect digital badgers for having meaningful impact in the technical community.

You can find more info on the whole Azure Heroes thing here.


2. What badgers can I collect?

  • Inclusive Leader (limited to 100): recipients of the very rare Inclusive Leader badgers are recognized for working to ensure that the communities and events they are involved in are inclusive and have adopted a code of conduct which promotes a diverse line-up of speakers and audience members.
  • Content Hero (limited to 250): the Content Hero badgers are given out for sharing valuable knowledge at conferences, meetups or other events. Recipients of this rare award have created original content, sample code or learning resources and documented and shared their experiences and lessons to help others to build on Azure.
  • Community Hero (limited to 550): the Community Hero badgers are given out for contributing materially by organising meetups or conferences or by sharing content and being an active member of the community.
  • Mentor (limited to 800): the Mentor badgers are awarded to individuals who routinely share their knowledge and empower the more junior members of the community, guiding and coaching them to acquire more hands-on skills. Mentoring is critical to career development and for building skills and achieving long-term career goals.
  • Maker (limited to 2000): recipients of the Maker badger are recognised for being a source of innovation who make meaningful contributions to the community. This badge is given to those who embody the maker spirit and demonstrate tech intensity by using digital tools to create projects for societal improvement that solve problems and inspire new creations and inventions.
  • Learner (no limited supply): Learner Badgers are given to those in pursuit of learning and who seek out ways to increase their technical knowledge! This badge is given to anyone attending Azure technical sessions, seminars, meetups and conferences. Collect as many as you can and be sure to visit MS learn to continue your learning journey!


3. What are the requirements to get such a badge?

Microsoft calls it verifiable impact. So each badge has some requirements to get. I’ll go over them one by one:

Inclusive Leader:

  • Organisers and core-contributors of programmes and events which regularly target under-represented communities
  • Seek out speakers which come from under-represented communities at least 50% of the time
  • Have actively shared assets, guides and other resources that in turn help other organisers make their events and communities more inclusive
  • Have organised Azure related events that have a diversity scholarship that secures free entrance to the events
  • Has regularly offered video streaming with closed captioning or other accessibility options

Content Hero:

  • Created at least three valuable Azure content pieces within 6 month for blogs, webinars, podcasts or have spoken at events
  • Created tutorials, how-to guides, or sample code that’s being shared to others for free in an open GitHub repo
  • Have generated at least three major pull requests that have been merged into our workshop repos (MCW and others)
  • Core-contributor of an Azure related open-source project (including readme, license, latest activity on project, code of conduct etc) within the last month

Community Hero:

  • Co-hosted a local Azure related meetup
  • Hosted free workshops or trainings on Azure related technology
  • Mentored and recruited new people to join the community meetups and events as a speaker
  • Delivered at least one talk or presentation on Azure at a Meetup or conference in the last 6 months


  • Coach, proctor or mentor who has dedicated at least three days to support others in their learning at a an OpenHack, hackathon or bootcamp
  • Actively coaching an up-and-coming developer, for example someone from under-represented communities in tech


  • Creator or maintainer or core contributor to an open source software project with a significant positive impact on the developer community
  • Technical contributor to any projects which serves to the greater good or improves the community
  • Creator of tools/process that generate value for the developer community


  • Any participant who attends to Azure related talks or events.
  • This badge can also be distributed during events at Microsoft booth


4. What’s under the hood?

Microsoft and Enjin have collaborated in a local pilot to create a blockchain based recognition programme. The Azure Heroes badgers were created in a number of original and unique designs which have been tokenised into a digital asset on the Ethereum public blockchain. Here are some key things to know:

  • Each season, our badgers will be minted in verifiably limited quantities and recorded on the public blockchain
  • We will continue to issue badgers to the community for various achievements until supplies are depleted
  • Blockchain technology is being used for issuance and transactions which means that as a recipient of a tokenised badger, you take ownership of a digital collectible in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT)
  • Some badgers are more difficult to earn than others and have a verifiably fixed supply which you can see for yourself on the blockchain
  • Because each badger is scarce with its own transaction hash, and not simply a copiable image stored on a central server, they require a blockchain wallet to safely store them
  • Distribution of badgers is done with a QR code which after scanning will present the recipient with the option to install the wallet
  • After initial receipt of the NFT Badger in the Enjin wallet, the owner can send the token to any public Ethereum address, or destroy it if it’s no longer desired

Follow #azureheroes for more information. Available in selected Western European countries.


5. How to get it?

  • Nominate yourself or a community hero around you. Community members that have demonstrated verifiable impact in one of several categories will be chosen to receive a badge
  • Selected recipients receive a personalised QR code which can be scanned with your phone – follow the simple instructions to claim your digital badger
  • After you become an Azure Hero, be sure to share your digital badger by using the sharing link in your wallet to post to your favourite social media using the hashtag #azureheroes


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