It was not that easy but not impossible as well, that was my thinking before applying. You might have seen my tweet after the excitement :)
This post will try to cover everything that I learned and that you should know before thinking in this direction.
The Expert Program
Google Developer Expert is a global program to recognize individuals who are experts and thought leaders in one or more Google technologies. The individuals recognized in this program are called Google Developer Experts (GDE’s).
The most common trait which you will find in all the GDE’s is the sharing of knowledge. You may see GDE’s as the speakers in your events, content creators for the blogs, sharing their code labs, Authors of the book, running channels on Youtube, working closely with the teams to provide feedback ….
The list is not going to end and that’s the most important thing about sharing knowledge, you may create your own way of sharing.
Why should you apply?
Let me tell you my personal philosophy, there is a loop in this world everywhere:
When my friend was searching for the job off campus, the companies asked about his experience. I remember his words “Companies ask me to have some experience and experience requires me to work for the companies”
When I was applying for an international talk. I got around forty rejections. The same reason “Conferences want recognized speakers and you get the recognition after giving some talks”
Obviously, these things are not universal as there are companies who are interested in skills rather than experience and there are conferences who filter developers anonymously on their proposal.
But the fundamental problem remains the same. All developers want to give a talk on a stage, every student wants a job and the opportunities are limited. Is there anything different you have done that can differentiate you from this crowd? I was in this dilemma for a month when I was getting the rejection email almost every day.
Being a GDE helps me to get the recognition which helped to share my thoughts with others easily. The best part is, I am still doing the same things that I was doing before being a GDE like giving talks, designing code labs, providing feedback, contributing to Open Source. Maybe, you are also doing the same things that the GDE’s do but you might have never tried.
Today, my body is immune to rejections and the recognition is decreasing the probability which makes me happy :)
There are other benefits as well like Access to Google teams and projects, Global Network of Professionals and Priority invitation to Google Events.
You can find more on these here.
How should you apply?
Reading this part means you are interested in sharing knowledge and giving back to the community.
1. Expert in the particular subject area for which you are going to apply.
Have knowledge of your subject. I will recommend anyone to try who can rate himself between intermediate and advanced level somewhere.
2. Activity in the community
Have written some blog posts, created content, mentored startups, influential speaker at conferences, authored some books, created videos to help others etc.
3. Have shown the ability to provide meaningful advice to others
You are going to be the thought leader. There is an expectation that you will be able to provide meaningful advice to others.
After completing the above checklist, you need a referral from a Google employee or a GDE itself before filling the form.
If you are able to pass the eligibility criteria based on the checklist above, you will be contacted by the team for the interviews. According to the category you have applied for, the number of interviews and their difficulty levels may differ. Generally, you will be going through a Community interview and a Product Interview.
In Community Interview, the focus is to measure the impact you have created in the past. It’s all around the activity in the community. After Community Interview, you will face Product Interview.
Product Interviews are technical interviews but you can pass them if you know your stuff well.
This whole interview procedure can take some time, so you need to have some patience and that’s not a big deal if you are coming from the open source background.
The new learning: Obvious thing
Every journey is unique and you just need to follow whatever you like.
I started writing blog posts two years back and still love to write and share knowledge. I always want to help the developers with the latest technologies. After having more than forty rejections for the topic that was close to my heart, I learnt the most obvious thing:
Success is directly proportional to the number of trials.
Until you start the engine, you can not know whether it is working or not. I gave talks on Accessibility everywhere. I was doing multiple things like creating Codelabs for Google Codelabs, writing posts, mentoring startups, teaching students and then was observing a lot of people at Summits and Conferences suggesting me the same thing: You should apply for GDE….
The GDE community is so supportive and I am glad to be a part of such impactful work.
Trying never hurts. To find the answer to the question “Am I good enough” you need to start trying. Maybe you need to start contributing to the community in your own way. It’s all about the impactful work you can do in your one life that can make a difference in other lives.
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