Speaker Interview: Dustin Whittle — Developer Advocate at UBER

We are continuing our series of AmsterdamJS Speakers interviews, offering personal thoughts and perspectives from some of the most interesting personas in the industry. We have selected people who run companies, drive projects, build products and contribute to Open Source.

Today we are welcoming Dustin Whittle — an avid technologist and architect who also happens to be a Developer Advocate at UBER.

AmsterdamJS: Tell us a bit about yourself, what in your opinion was the first conscious step towards your current career?

Dustin: When I was in the 1st grade my elementary school gave me a computer and I believe that was the first step to my current career. I started tinkering with computers and bulletin board systems and along came the Internet. The rest is history.

AmsterdamJS: Not many companies have Developer Advocate positions. What is the company’s vision and which goals it tries to pursue with this role?

Dustin: The mission of the Uber Developer Platform is to Build Moving Experiences. This mission really reflects one of our internal cultural values at Uber to “Let Builders Build” and so one of the core goals of our Developer Relations team is to enable external developers to build with Uber. Most companies think of Developer Advocates as just technical marketing. At Uber the role is much larger as we help our internal product teams launch developer products and we work closely with our external community to make sure they are successful building on top of these developer products. This comes in many forms from writing tutorials and sample apps to presenting at conferences and working in person with developers.

Most companies think of Developer Advocates as just technical marketing. At Uber the role is much larger.

AmsterdamJS: Uber became a massive company, doing many things from own transaction systems to self-driving cars, what’s the role of JavaScript in the company?

Dustin: JavaScript has a long history at Uber as we were early adopters of Node.js. JavaScript is used in many ways from implementing backend Node.js services that power parts of the rider experience to our frontend web experience built using React. Nowadays we primarily use JavaScript for building frontend web applications and for data visualization.

Nowadays we primarily use JavaScript for building frontend web applications and for data visualization.

In my talk “JavaScript @ Uber” I talk about three ways we have used JavaScript: 1) backend services implemented in Node.js (and our learnings migrating from monolith to microservice architecture, 2) frontend web applications build on top of React, and 3) visualizing data with our open-source JavaScript libraries (deck.gl, react-vis, etc).

AmsterdamJS: Are you also involved in promotion of Uber open source projects?

Dustin: Yes! As a Developer Advocate we help promote many of the amazing tools that Uber teams build. Check out Ringpop, TChannel, and Jaegar for building scalable distributed applications. Check out deck.gl which is our WebGL-powered framework for visual exploratory data analysis of large datasets. We invest heavily in giving back to the open-source community. See all of our open-source projects on Github: https://uber.github.io/. Not only we do we open-source our code, but we also share our engineering learnings on our blog: http://eng.uber.com/

We thank Dustin for time taken to answer our questions and knowledge shared. At AmsterdamJS Conference Dustin will be presenting his talk “Javascript @ Uber” providing deep dive on how Uber leverages javascript across its engineering orgs.

Let us know whom we should interview next! https://amsterdamjs.com/#speakers

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.