7 years ago I made a pretty major career shift from doing full-time ministry (working at a Church) to becoming a full-time Software Engineer. I was well aware that this was not the traditional career trajectory of someone who worked at a church, but one I was willing and eager to make.
From that moment on I begin doing anything I could to learn how to write code. From YouTube videos, blogs and even a membership to Treehouse, I begin slowly learning how to write code. This journey was not easy in any way shape or form. I spent an in-measurable amount of time building "hello world" apps and debugging my broken code. But it was in this pain that I grew and eventually strengthened the mental muscles needed to build software.
It was the community work of other Google Developer Experts that I used to learn how to write code. It was the time they took away from their families to write that tutorial or to make that video course that kept me going when I wanted to just give up. Programming is hard and I wouldn't have made it without you all!
The hard work of other GDE's has always motivated me to give back to the community and to help others who are just like I was. I knew the pain. I knew the commitment. I knew the sacrifices and I have always wanted to help motivate those on the same journey.
As much a I wanted to help others, I had this sense of "imposter syndrome". I still felt like the underdog trying to learn from the pros. The little kid who just wanted to play with the big kids on the playground. That isn't an easy switch to "flip". But, sometimes you just need to look in the mirror to remind yourself that you are not the little kid anymore.
Eventually, I began to help mentor some Junior devs and even write a few blog articles. Before I knew it was contributing to open source projects like NgRx and giving online meetup talks. I even began attending conferences like ng-conf and codemash. The important thing wasn't "what" I was doing, but just that I was doing something. I could go on and on about "how" I got here and "who" helped me along the way, but the important thing is to just keep going. Don't give up and keep working hard.
Over the past 2 years, I have given dozens of meetup talks, contributed to many open source libraries, spoken at several in person conferences (no thanks to Covid) and actively mentored others along the way. It was this work that ultimately got me recognized by the community as someone who embodies what it means to be a GDE. Today I am happy to announce that I have officially joined the Google Developer Expert program!
Google Developer Expert status recognizes the outstanding developers who exhibit great expertise in one or more Google technologies and continue to share it with the developer community, as well as exceptional professionals in product strategy, UX/UI and marketing.
Experts are leaders, mentors and evangelists. They create content such as tutorials, code samples, books and blogs; they publish videos, drive community projects, and speak at large and small events; they engage in mentoring opportunities for startups and developers; and they provide valuable feedback to Google Product teams. These independent professionals bring their hands-on experience and practical knowledge in working with Google technologies to developer communities worldwide.
Today was a day I dreamed about for many years. I wouldn't have made it here without the help of so many people in the community. I know I will forget many of you but here are just a few people that have helped me along this journey:
- My Wife Ashley
- My Mom & Dad
- Wes Grimes
- Krista Hoge
- Sam Feree
- Ryan Buening
- Rob Molnar
- Jon Rista
- Adam Murray
- Tracy Lee
- Brandon Roberts
- Ben Swartz