Careers: Interviews
Nuo Yan - Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) - Windows Shell/User, 2003 to 2007

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Nuo Yan.

Nuo Yan, Microsoft MVP Windows Shell/User, 2003 to 2007Nuo Yan is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle, and proposes to major in applied computational mathematical sciences. He became an MVP, the youngest in China, in April 2003 when he was only 16. Yan specializes in Microsoft® Windows Client, Windows Server®, Microsoft .NET and Windows Vista™ and is active in online and local offline technical events. He has earned credentials as a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (charter member), Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator 2003, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer 2000, a Microsoft Certified Database Engineer and a Microsoft Certified Professional. He was awarded the Microsoft China Community Star for helping to develop and customize solutions for its partners in China.

Yan started the nonprofit technical community Diyinside Community and volunteers in several capacities, including supporting university technical events, developing software workshops and writing technical books. His first book, "Windows XP Beginner Guide and FAQs," was published in China in June 2004. He is also a column author for the Microsoft China Community Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/china/community).

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.
http://blogs.technet.com/cdnitmanagers/

Index and links to Questions
Q1   There's an estimated 200 million ICT professionals worldwide, 3800 are nominated and selected for their outstanding technology/community contributions as Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) from 90+ countries and in more than 90 technologies. From this initial 200 million, five MVPs were specially chosen to be profiled in the MVP virtual pressroom. You are the youngest from this group of five, and though currently resident in the US, the only one originally from the EMEA and Asia region. Congratulations on this unique honour!
Q2   In 2003, you were the youngest MVP in China at 16. Can you describe your work at that time and what prompted your interest in Microsoft technologies?
Q3   You are now a student at the University of Washington in Seattle. What do you hope to achieve and where do you want to make your contributions?
Q4   What do you hope to accomplish with the nonprofit technical community, Diyinside?
Q5   What highly desired, though not well known tips can you share from each of these technologies areas: Windows Vista, Windows Mobile?
Q6   Please share a story with us and the resulting lessons from your work with developing and customizing solutions for Microsoft partners?
Q7   What are the critical issues facing organizations today and how can they be addressed?
Q8   What are the major challenges facing ICT professionals and what do you propose as solutions?
Q9   What are the three biggest issues facing user group communities, IT societies today and what are your recommendations for meeting these challenges?
Q10   Provide your predictions of future IT/Business trends and their implications/opportunities?
Q11   Make your predictions for the future-no boundaries or topic limits here…
Q12   Which are your top recommended resources?

DISCUSSION:

Opening Comment: Nuo, at the young age of 20, you are making many significant contributions to the industry and profession. We thank you for taking the time to share your talent, deep insights, and experiences with our audience.

A: You are welcome. With great passion for computer technology, it's my pleasure to do what I've done so far in the industry.

Q1: There's an estimated 200 million ICT professionals worldwide, 3800 are nominated and selected for their outstanding technology/community contributions as Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) from 90+ countries and in more than 90 technologies. MVPs are an independent body of leading, top-ranking global experts and much like "Fellows" found in many organizations recognized for their excellence. From this initial 200 million, five MVPs were specially chosen to be profiled with Chairman Gates, VP Kaplan, and GM O'Driscoll in the MVP virtual pressroom, for the invitation-only 2007 MVP Global Summit. You are the youngest from this group of five, and though currently resident in the US, the only one originally from the EMEA and Asia region. Congratulations on this unique honour!

A: Thanks a lot! It's really my honor to be profiled in the virtual pressroom. I will keep doing what I have done and keep contributing to the computer industry as much as I can.

Q2: In 2003, you were the youngest MVP in China at 16. Can you describe your work at that time and what prompted your interest in Microsoft technologies?

A: When I was 9 years old, my parents bought a computer for me. It was the first time I had ever used a computer and I really enjoyed it. I began studying by buying and reading books. Within a few years years, I not only learned how to be a power user, but I also tried to learn computer programming. As an elementary school student (and later as a middle school student), I encountered many problems in the learning process but there was no one around me who could help (because no people in my family are in the computer industry). I began looking on the internet for someone to help me, and finally I found the Microsoft online community. I asked a lot of questions there and some people, (who marked themselves as MVPs), answered and really helped me a lot in my learning process. So I thought, if at some time I had the ability to help others, I would do so. In 2002, (when I was a high school student), I thought I was ready to help others, so I began answering others' questions on the Microsoft newsgroup. In 2003, I was awarded to be an MVP.

Q3: You are now a student at the University of Washington in Seattle. What do you hope to achieve and where do you want to make your contributions?

A: First of all, as an MVP, IT Pro or developer, I've done a lot of applications with computer technology, so here I want to learn more about computer (and computational) theory.

Then I will try to represent Microsoft technologies on campus. I'm an officer of the Microsoft Student User Group in our school. We sometimes hold events to present new technologies.

When I complete my study here, I want to continue to contribute to the software industry. I think I will continue to improve.

Q4: What do you hope to accomplish with the nonprofit technical community, Diyinside?

A: Diyinside is a non-profit user group or community in China. We have some MVPs who are enthusiastic for Microsoft technologies. We don't have a formal website at this time (though some years ago we hosted a technical site). What we would do is to author books together, to share our knowledge.

Q5: What highly desired, though not well known tips can you share from each of these technologies areas: Windows Vista, Windows Mobile?

A:
Windows Vista: While in Internet Explorer 7, many end users want to open pop-up windows from a new tab but not a new IE window because most of the time pop-ups are annoying. But they couldn't figure out what settings to change. Here is the way: Open Internet Explorer, click "Tools," click "Internet Options, " click "General" tab, then in the "Tabs" area click "Settings," in "When a pop-up is encountered" area, select "Always open pop-ups in a new tab." Then click "ok" two times.

Windows Mobile (Smartphone): Not all people using Windows Mobile smartphone know there is an option in the profiles called "Automatic" which can change the profile of the phone to "Meeting" automatically when there is a calendar event marked as "Busy." I will change the profile back to "Normal" automatically when the event ends. By default, "Meeting" means only vibrator is enabled and "Normal" uses the ringer.

Q6: Please share a story with us and the resulting lessons from your work with developing and customizing solutions for Microsoft partners?

A: One time I worked for a Microsoft partner to develop a computer control feature for small businesses (much like the parental control in Windows Vista). Initially we wanted to migrate or enable parental control for those business computers, but since parental control in Windows Vista is not designed for business users our initial thoughts failed at that time. We changed our plan and we developed a similar system based on Windows.

Lesson learned: I always appreciate the extensibility Windows provided to developers or ISVs. It's a great operating system with a lot of flexibility so we can always build amazing things on this platform.

Q7: What are the critical issues facing organizations today and how can they be addressed?

A:

  1. Too many things are involving people in it, so they become more complex than they should be.

    Solution: Plan and make a better IT system. Better allocate your organization's resources by using computers for work that can be done more quickly and efficiently by using computers. Doing so may cause an initial investment on IT, but it will lower the administrative cost for the organization in the long run.


  2. Not everyone in an organization knows how to use a computer and even less people have knowledge about security. In some organizations, many computer users have accounts with administrative privileges but they don't make their computers secure enough (e.g. not installing update, have blank password, etc). This may cause the whole corporate network being attacked.

    Solution: User education is extremely important. Also there is a need to have a secure client infrastructure. Never give general users administrative privileges.

Q8: What are the major challenges facing ICT professionals and what do you propose as solutions?

A:

Challenge 1: Technology develops very fast. As soon as the technologies come out, ICT professionals may need to learn a lot of new technologies before actual working on them in the organization. It may be a challenge to apply the knowledge learned to the working environment. A lot of knowledge learned may not be practical.

Solution: It is best, if always, to have a test environment for ICT professionals to learn and practice new technologies in the organization. This can be a private network with several computers, or can also be only one or two computers with Virtual PCs.

Challenge 2: Products for ICT professionals are getting easier and easier to use. This is good, but may also cause some ICT professionals to lose their jobs.

Solution: For IT professionals, learn more fundamental knowledge about the systems than just using them. This will help gain more knowledge for troubleshooting when serious problems occur. For developers, learn more about architecture and design, than coding.

Q9: What are the three biggest issues facing user group communities, IT societies today and what are your recommendations for meeting these challenges?

A:

Issue 1: Cost is an issue for small user groups. They don't have support by any commercial organization so they can find it difficult to hold any events. Not all members like to donate.

Recommendation: This kind of user groups can use the internet as the main communication method.

Issue 2: For online communities, there always are people publishing spam and people publishing non-technical or non-related posts.

Recommendation: The host of the community should use a system with better anti-spam technology. It's also necessary to have specific people (can be volunteer) to monitor the community board in a regular basis and delete non-related posts manually.

Issue 3: People may not know there is a user group in their vicinity. Hence they are not participating.

Recommendation: User groups can be advertised by members in many ways. One example is to suggest members add a link to the user group to the signature of any post in the online communities. Having a website is not a bad idea even if the user group is not doing any online stuff, because a website can provide a way for others to be able to search and get information about the user group.

Q10: Provide your predictions of future IT/Business trends and their implications/opportunities?

A:

Trend 1: The popularity of smartphone and embedded devices are increasing very fast.

Implication/opportunities: The market will need more applications and IT systems designed for mobile and embedded devices.

Trend 2: A lot of software will be offered by SaaS (software as a service) infrastructure.

Implication/opportunities: There will be a lot of opportunities in this field. For example, developing enterprise information systems solutions based on current SaaS web services will lower the cost and ensure service availability.

Q11: Make your predictions for the future-no boundaries or topic limits here.

A: Computers will truly be everywhere. People will be able to use computers (or digital devices) at any time to get information they need.

Since computers will be everywhere, many of them will be embedded devices. There will be a lots of applications and services designed for embedded devices (just like in the present time the desktop applications for PCs). Every embedded device will be able to access fast internet, and it will not be expensive for most people.

Natural language processing will be used widely in computer devices. With this, searches will only return the results people want the most; and the interaction between people and computers becomes surprisingly simpler.

Software as a Service (SaaS) will become very popular. Many software will be charged by usage just like the cell phone bills.

Q12: Which are your top recommended resources?

A:

  1. MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com


  2. TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com


  3. MVP Blogs: http://msmvps.com

Closing Comment: Nuo, we thank you for sharing your time with us and we wish you continued success for the future.

A: Welcome. I'm happy to share my views.

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