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Meet James Finley: A true multi-cloud all-rounder - and punk rocker!

18 Sep 2019
 James Finley, Auldhouse

Becoming proficient on one cloud platform, is a great achievement for any IT professional. So how about being an expert in three of the major cloud technologies?

This is what Auldhouse instructor James Finley can boast. A true cloud all-rounder, James trains Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) courses for Auldhouse.

A 20-year Auldhouse veteran, James started off training Microsoft technology and followed the evolution to cloud technology, eventually focussing on the Microsoft Azure platform for seven years

Not content with limiting himself to one set of cloud technology, James became one of just two certified Google Cloud trainers in the country when Auldhouse was appointed the official New Zealand training partner for the platform in February 2018. He and fellow Auldhouse instructor, Chris Barker, started delivering the first ever official Google Cloud Platform courses in New Zealand in March of that year.

James wanted to help New Zealand IT professionals develop their Google Cloud skills, as he could see the platform as a worthy contender to market leaders, Microsoft and AWS.

"Google Cloud was making up a lot of ground at the time. I could see that as more organisations started to evaluate the platform, Google Cloud skills would become increasingly useful to have," he says.

"As one of the emerging leading cloud platforms in the market, a Google Cloud certification was the perfect way for IT professionals and service providers to prove their proficiency with the platform early on."

Skilling up for a multi-cloud world

About 18 months ago, James started delving deeper into the world of AWS, after Auldhouse become an Authorised Training Delivery Partner for the platform.

“I was getting more and more questions about how the platforms compared, and what service was equal to what. It was becoming apparent that I needed to spend more time with AWS to better meet my students’ needs.”

He started looking at the bigger-picture architecture issues and has continued to expand and refine his knowledge around the specific service offerings.

James teaches the following courses across the three main cloud platforms:

Amazon Web Services:

Microsoft Azure:

 Google Cloud Platform:

Teaching multiple cloud platforms are perfectly complementary, says James.

"Most organisations don’t use just one cloud platforms, so a large number of our students have experience in different platforms. The benefit of having trainers who understand different platforms is that we can present new concepts within the context of what they already know. That helps students learn the new technologies faster."

So how does he not become confused between the different platforms?

While at a certain level, there is a great deal of similarity between the various platforms, as always, the devil is in the detail, says James.

But, there’s no secret on how he stays up to date on those details.

“It’s not glamourous or fun, but the reality is I just have to make regular time to work in and review what is going on in all the platforms. Refresh my brain, so to speak. The only time it’s really challenging is when I teach two different platforms in the same week. I’ll be the first to admit that I have used the AWS name for an Azure service and vice-versa occasionally.”

Punk and Disorderly

Being able to juggle so many responsibilities is not limited to James' work life. In addition to being a husband and father of four, he is also a punk rocker!

James is the rhythm guitar and keyboard player for Auckland-based punk covers band - Punk and Disorderly (Find them on Facebook here). They regularly play at any pub that will have them (also available for weddings/birthdays/funerals!).

“After playing a punk gig, training is easy. Nobody is throwing bottles at you. Seriously though, doing something creative really allows me to exercise some different mental muscles than IT work does. But there is still that pressure to make sure you’re properly prepared before you fire up the projector or strap on your guitar and present yourself to your audience.”

James Finley, Auldhouse

Why Auldhouse for cloud training?

Says James: “Regardless of what cloud platform you’ve chosen we can provide the training. Our trainers have been working in these technologies for several years. They have the experience to understand how customers use cloud computing, so can match their training to customers’ needs.”