Contributor Stories: Dillon Silzer

Contributor Stories: Dillon Silzer

If you’ve ever engaged with the content on the Microsoft Learn platform, it's highly likely that the material you utilized was written or co-authored by dedicated contributors. These contributors, often volunteers, generously offer their time and expertise to fill knowledge gaps within our content portfolio by suggesting valuable updates to our material, sharing their knowledge within the Microsoft community, and/or answering questions on the Q&A area of the Microsoft Learn platform!   


In this interview series, we aim to acquaint ourselves with some of these valuable contributors. Through these conversations, we seek to understand their motivations for sharing their knowledge on Microsoft Learn and gain insights into their experiences. 


Welcome and congratulations for being our spotlighted contributor this month, Dillon Silzer - a dedicated Senior Systems Administrator based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. For the past 11 years, Dillon has been an integral employee at the Ranch Ehrlo Society, a non-profit organization committed to providing quality preventative and restorative services, as well as advocacy for vulnerable individuals and families. Collaborating with an exceptional team of IT specialists, he has found immense satisfaction in his professional journey, particularly in working alongside his supervisor, Dean Boutin, over the past couple of years. In his role, he engages in technical service relationships with vendors, plans and executes integrative and automative IT business solutions, and oversees IT staff. Outside of his professional role, Dillon actively engages in online communities to assist people, blogs about problem-solving experiences, and devotes time to coaching soccer and other enjoyable activities with his family. Dillon's greatest joy is being a husband and a father to two children - plus a baby boy who was just born in September! 


Dillon is a veteran member of Microsoft Community Champions. This program identifies, engages, and rewards technology experts who frequently provide high-quality answers to customers' questions on Microsoft Learn Q&A.  Dillon, an Azure technology subject matter expert (SME), specifically focuses on Azure Q&A. He has answered over 1,000+ questions - supporting thousands of Azure users on Microsoft Learn Q&A by unblocking them from technical roadblocks.


Meet Dillon 

Dillon Silzer, Senior Systems Administrator, Ranch Ehrlo Society


Sumit: Hi Dillon! Thanks for joining us today. It’s a pleasure to meet you. To start us off, do you mind sharing a bit about your background and experience?  

Dillon: Absolutely, Sumit! My adventure into coding ignited in the early 2000s when I immersed myself in the intriguing realm of IRC. It all began with experimenting in mIRC scripting, where I created bots for channel moderation and soon managing IRC networks and communities became a significant part of my early experiences. However, around 2010, there was a pivotal shift with the decline of IRC networks and the ascent of social media platforms. This prompted me to transition my focus, marking a substantial change in my digital engagement. 

Over the past decade, I've delved into various professional roles in the IT domain, accumulating valuable experience. Recently, I decided to further enrich my skill set by pursuing certifications, with a particular emphasis on Microsoft certifications through the Microsoft Learn platform. The turning point came when I discovered the vibrant community on the Microsoft Learn Q&A. This revelation reignited my passion for fostering support and building connections within the tech community enabling me to make a conscious effort to actively contribute to the Microsoft Learn Q&A. I'm thrilled to share that this commitment has endured, and I continue to be an engaged contributor to this dynamic community.  

Sumit: Your journey into coding and programming through the world of IRC sounds fascinating and the way it grew into something so inspiring. What made you to start contributing, and what motivates you to keep contributing? 

Dillon: Thank you, Sumit! Being an Azure Community Champion has been a rewarding experience. I was motivated to contribute by the desire to be part of the growing and evolving Microsoft Learn Q&A forum. I have learned a lot from this vibrant, evolving community. Initially, there were challenges as my engagement was not acknowledged, and I felt discouraged. But I want to stress the importance of persistence in such cases. Every contribution counts, and it helps you grow personally and professionally. Embrace the challenges, improve your responses, and be proud of the difference you make in the community. 

Participating in the Microsoft Learn Q&A has helped me broaden my knowledge beyond my current role. It keeps me updated on current industry challenges and aligns with my expertise helping me overcome obstacles in my workplace, creating a link between practice and collaboration. I am determined to continue contributing as a valuable member of this community and other Microsoft forums. This experience has boosted my confidence in both personal and professional aspects. 

Looking back on my journey, I urge fellow community members to stay positive. Understand that everyone has a different level of knowledge, and it’s okay not to be the most knowledgeable person. Everyone plays a vital role in shaping this community, and the diversity of perspectives makes us strong and successful. So, keep your head high, enjoy the learning journey, and value every contribution, as each one adds to the success of our community. 


Sumit:  This is truly inspiring, Dillon, especially since you've helped over 1,000+ users just on the Microsoft Learn Q&A platform alone! I'm guessing it's a pretty extensive effort for you.  How awesome that it's also a highly fulfilling experience for you! Have you been able to advance your career or skills as a result of contributing to the Microsoft Learn Q&A 

Dillon:  Contributing to the Microsoft Learn Q&A platform has opened my eyes to the current issues and questions that can overlap with my job. My workplace is heavily integrated with Microsoft and Azure products, which means I have a high probability of needing the same type of guidance that users seek on the Microsoft Learn Q&A platform. And on numerous occasions I have seen questions on the Q&A forums that pertain to the environments I work in. This is really helpful to me and enables me to implement faster resolutions for similar issues – simply because of all the other contributors’ efforts with helping folks on the Q&A site. 


Sumit: That is so cool. To have real-time visibility of potential problems on the Q&A site, as well as exposure to diverse solutions – that can certainly have an immense impact on someone’s technical growth!  I’m glad that you are enjoying it and helping hundreds of users along the way.  Would you shed some light on how your experience partnering with Microsoft as part of Microsoft Community Champions so far.  

Dillon: Being a part of the Microsoft Community Champions program has been an insightful and rewarding journey. Since joining, I've had the privilege of collaborating with not only dedicated Microsoft employees but also fellow champions and distinguished MVPs within the community. I joined the Microsoft  Community Champions program through curiosity and regular contribution to the Q&A platform. One day I noticed a forum posting which had a callout for people who had contributed and decided to apply to join the group. I am glad I did, as our shared vision, rooted in the commitment to contribute meaningfully to the community, has forged a strong sense of purpose among us.  

One of the most gratifying aspects of this journey has been the opportunity to connect and collaborate with a diverse group of IT enthusiasts. The exchange of ideas, insights, and expertise has been great. Whether through virtual discussions, or engaging in monthly events, the sense of community within the Azure Community Champions program has proven to be a driving force.  

As a participant, I've found that the program not only provides a platform for networking but also serves as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. The exposure to the latest developments in Azure technologies, coupled with hands-on experiences and the chance to contribute to the community's knowledge base, has been instrumental in demonstrating my skills and expanding my understanding of IT in general. I would suggest to everyone to join the program and grow along with it.  

Looking ahead, I am excited about the prospect of further contributing to the Microsoft  Learn Q&A community, leveraging the knowledge gained through the program, and continuing to build meaningful connections. I am truly grateful for the experiences, insights, and relationships forged through this exceptional community-driven initiative. 


Sumit: That's wonderful to hear, Dillon. We truly value your dedication and partnership in helping others on our Q&A site. If you don't mind, I'd love to hear a little bit about your life outside of work. Do you have any personal hobbies?  

Dillon: Family is extremely important to me, and I wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything. I do occasionally like to game when I am not spending time with my family. I mainly play Real-time Strategy games such as StarCraft II and a variety of PlayStation games to collect trophies. 


Sumit: It was great to have you, Dillon. Wishing you best of luck for all your endeavours and Kudos to you for all the great work you have been doing with the online community and Microsoft Learn Q&A forum. Thank you.  

Keep up with Dillon: 

Personal blog: https://www.cloudaen.com/page/blog-grid 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dillon-silzer/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DillonSilzer  

Credly:  https://www.credly.com/users/dillon-silzer/badges 


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