This post was originally published here

Hey you, yes you! I reckon you ended up reading this blogpost due to the enticing title. Well awesome, now that I have your attention.

Like all things in nature, things evolve. Well they either evolve or get instinct. By sharing this post I hope you as an Integration Specialist want to evolve as well and don’t get extinct.

So how would you know if your existence as an Integration Specialist is not about to get obliviated from this world? Well keep on reading..

Let’s start off with: Yes BizTalk Server is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  BizTalk Server 2016 was just released and once again this is proof that Microsoft is still heavily investing in this great , one of a kind, integration platform.

You might wonder, how does Microsoft keep it alive? Well Microsoft is doing so by constantly evolving as it understands the business needs and the fact that integration space is changing and now both spans on-premises as the cloud and a clear example of this is to be seen with the new release of BizTalk Server 2016. This release a new adapter is being introduced which allows us to seamlessly expand into the Hybrid Integration Space, the logic app adapter for BizTalk. Besides this adapter we offcourse still have our good ‘old’ friend the SB Messaging adapter (service bus).

Anyways I am digressing. What about that thing I mentioned before; about becoming extinct as an Integration Specialist? Well, please allow me to elaborate.

Isn’t it true that when you decided to take up on a career within IT you were fully aware that you would need to keep your skillset and knowledge constantly up to date (I.e.; keep on learning new and exciting stuff). Well how many of you, actually do, keep up to date; and I mean really up to date, thus not only reading up on the new stuff but actually getting your hands dirty.

Most of the integrators I talk to, work day in day out with BizTalk Server, and although reading up on for example Logic Apps, Service bus, Azure functions, App Services, Service Fabric, Azure API management and so forth most of them have not really gotten their hands dirty and played around with these awesome services in Azure which open up new ways with regards to integration capabilities.

If I ask them why? I Usually get the same answer, no time, our company does not allow for us to use the Cloud, no need as we use BizTalk, not mature enough, don’t know where to start, it changes all the time, and so on. Well I do understand these answers and I most certainly do understand that ideally we would love to be able to learn these new skills in our boss’ time, but hey let’s wake up! You can decide to wait until this time arrives or you simply start investing in yourself! Anyways the longer you wait the harder it will get and that day where you will be deemed extinct will only get closer and closer. So please do not let this happen, don’t become extinct, evolve! The last thing you want is to end up like Milton from Office Space (

In order to evolve you will need to expand your knowledge and be able to apply everything you learned (think integration patterns, integration best-practices etc.) in this new Hybrid world; and yes sorry to tell you; you won’t get far by merely clicking, copy and pasting and dragging and dropping. No you will need to level-up your foundational skills.

At  this point you might ask yourself, how do I level-up my foundational skills and where do I start? Well it’s actually simpler than you might think especially considering that the chances are pretty big that you are a seasoned BizTalk Specialist which is able to solve the most complex integration challenges using all the capabilities within BizTalk, sure some areas are more familiar than others but overall; you have the skills, capabilities , know all the EAI patterns, love to decouple services and you know  that Microservices is nothing more than another implementation of SOA and heck yeah you’ve been doing that for years. So yes you have a great foundation and that on itself gets you halfway there.

Nevertheless you will have to level-up and that my friend is only to be done in one way and that’s by exposing yourself to these new technologies and start experimenting. In short make those flying hours and don’t decide to be a passenger, become the pilot. Make mistakes, because by making mistakes we learn. If you are stuck  reach-out to the community, attend user group meetings and so on and before you notice you will have skilled up and you are one step further away from getting extinct and one step closer to evolving even further.

So in fact it is pretty simple to ensure you will not get extinct, all it takes is that additional push in the right direction to get you moving and hopefully I’ve been able to contribute to this little push. So don’t wait any longer and get started

  • If you don’t have an Azure Subscription, sign up here for a free trial and receive $260 in credits – or join visual studio dev essentials and get $25 dollar of Azure Credits per month for a year
  • Have a look at one of the following resources to learn more about Logic Apps, API Management, Service Bus and BizTalk Server 2016
    • Logic Apps
    • API Management
    • Service Bus
    • BizTalk Server 2016

If you are in Sydney Australia, please do check out the Hybrid Integration Platform Usergroup and feel free to join us for one of our meetups!