How I Became a Google Developer Expert (GDE)

Thoughts and learnings from my personal journey

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

On August 9th I was recognized as a Google Developer Expert (GDE) on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) technologies with emphasis on Data Analysis.

When I announced it some people reached out to me asking why and how I've achieved this, then I got inspired by how-i-joined-the-google-developers-experts-program, and I decided to write a blog post of my own :)

First of all, what is a GDE?

The Google Developers Experts program is a global network of highly experienced technical experts, influencers, and thought leaders who actively support developers, companies, and tech communities. It is a person who does not work at Google and is recognized for his activity and expertise on Google technologies.

How did it start for me?

It all started with me creating content on blog platforms like medium, freeCodeCamp, dev.to, and some others. My writing process is usually in face of a problem or doing some R&D trying to solve it, I search for good references, tutorials, to find out how other people have successfully done it in the past, or to get some grasp on what was their line of thought.

For example, one time I was working on this assignment to create a Hive Metastore agent, I had to look for references, look at the source code, "reverse-engineer" the roots of it, at the end I published a blog post, summarizing the pros/cons with sample code on how to do it.

And trust me! If you want to become a good developer, you need to become good at searching! Know what to look for and how to look for it! Stackoverflow, tech communities, and platforms like medium are your best buddies :)

So when I go through that journey and don't find a good reference, I like to write to a past version of myself, what my younger self would have loved to have found when he was digging to solve a complex problem?

That often translates to a blog post that will help other people, and this makes the community wheel spin! Sometimes one person's blog post will help you save a lot of time! At other times it's your own blog post that will do that!

And bear in mind that that you may feel that your work with writing is not being rewarded, but it's an excellent way of creating your personal brand, and eventually, you will be rewarded for it, like my current job, that I got because of a blog post, but that's a separate story of its own.

Why GDE, why Google Cloud and Data Analytics?

I've been to many meetups with GDE's and on GDG communities, one day I talked to a GDE on the field and they convinced me to give it a shot and apply. I was not sure if I was going to pass the whole process, it's certainly not easy, but at the same time, you only will know if you try! So I didn't let the imposter syndrome get the best out of me and I decided to start it!

The reason why I choose Google Cloud Platform as the GDE area, I've been working a long time with challenges that were Google Cloud Platform related, and to test my self I ended up with 7 Google Cloud certifications.

Data Analysis as a specialization was because of my passion working with BigData technologies and taming metadata in the wild! I've been contributing with many open source repositories related to Google Data Catalog, Google Data Loss Prevention, and tutorials on some cool frameworks like Apache Beam.

The current company I work for has a mission to improve the quality and usability of data, so I live and breathe data on a daily basis, Data Analysis has the perfect area for me!

And finally, I often help people with tips, guidance, or even mentoring focused on GCP technologies and the developer area, so this community involvement started to become a part of myself.

Cool stuff, How does the GDE application process work?

  • Register your Profile: There is a dedicated platform for it, where you add details of your contributions and their impacts: blog posts, talks in meetups and conferences, OpenSource contributions. When you add it, someone will evaluate it, and, if it is relevant, you go to the next step.
  • Community Interview: This one was really interesting to me, I got the chance to talk with one of the early users of Apache Beam, an expert in the field. This interview tries to grasp your motivations behind the application, the impact you are causing on Google technologies in the community, and fit with the program.
  • Product Interview: an interview with a Googler: final validation, to make sure you understand the Google products in the area of expertise you are applying to. You need to know your stuff!

Official information about the GDE program on Experts Program.

And on August 9th I officially become GDE!

Benefits and Duties

Joke aside there are no duties, I am not affiliated with Google in any way, the only thing is that I have to report in a dedicated platform what I do as a GDE. According to my activity in the community, every year my status will be reviewed and may be renewed.

Among the benefits:

  • Being recognized as an expert, on GCP technologies. This gives me validation and weight on the topic if needed.
  • Access to a community of nearly 1000 experts around the world, and having dedicated contacts at Google.
  • Event opportunities: GDG, DevFest, blogging, mentoring.
  • Access to specific Google Groups on the technology and early access on new features that we can experiment, give feedback and can't talk about ;) until they are publicly available.

Final thoughts

That's it! Thanks for reading this, and hearing my thoughts! I really hope I could help someone with this article, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach me anytime!

Remember to always challenge yourself, do your best to share your learnings with others, and if you want to be a GDE, discuss your goal to a GDE close to your local community or the Program Manager from Google responsible for your region.

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Experts on various Google products talking tech.

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Marcelo Costa

Marcelo Costa

software engineer & google cloud certified architect and data engineer | love to code, working with open source and writing @ alvin.ai

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