#VirtualDesignMaster Wrap-Up

Part of me feels like it flew by but then I remember the hours spent reviewing all the designs (*ahem* Adam) and then it feels like it took an eternity to get through. Admittedly, Virtual Design Master was probably one of the coolest community driven events in which I have participated. If you are unfamiliar with Virtual Design Master, I strongly encourage you to check out the site and catch up with the five seasons.


This year I had the privilege of being on the judges panel along with two other VCDX, Byron Schaller and Lior Kamrat. I cannot say enough good things about Lior and Byron, both epitomize the idea of a full-stack engineer and are professional, well-prepared, and hilarious. I truly enjoyed discussing the different designs with both and hearing their perspective. I look forward to doing more with Lior and Byron in the future.

It was a blast each week seeing what the Virtual Design Master creative team would conjure up. I think Melissa did an amazing job coming up with scenarios that brought the contestants through infrastructure, automation, BCDR, security, application design, CI/CD, DevOps processes, as cross-cloud architectures. I admit that there were multiple times in which I was furiously googling and reading up on some of the technologies that the contestants chose to place in their designs.

Collectively, as the judge panel, we wanted to push the contestants out of their comfort zone to explore technologies that they may not have used before. It was incredible to see so many make the transition from the engineering mindset to one of an architect. Ultimately, thought it was a technology driven challenge, I did not judge based on the tech itself but on the contestant’s ability to demonstrate a consistent methodology and thoroughly explain or justify why design decision was made rather than explain how it works.

One of my favorite parts of the season was seeing the number of blogs that came out of researching and architecting the solutions that were submitted. Therefore, I would like to highlight the blogs that came out of Virtual Design Master Season 5 (please let me know if I missed one). Without further ado:

I wrote a post about design methodology, specifically about conceptual, logical, physical.

Lior wrote up a nice blog post on his perspective as a judge and did a spotlight for each of the three finalists –

Season winner, Chris Porter, did a wonderful job blogging about different technologies and challenges he faced throughout the season –

Third place winner, Kyle Jenner, wrote a weekly recap about the competition and his progress throughout –

Another contestant, Gareth Edwards, wrote a blog post and managed to record multiple podcasts during the competition –

It was truly a pleasure to participate and sponsor season 5. I look forward to seeing what challenges contestants face next year!

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