Meet the newest Google Developer Expert

June 23, 2014

If you're a computer nerd like me -- particularly one who's well versed in anything and everything Google -- you may have heard of the Google Developer Expert program (GDE). For the rest of you, I wanted to take a few minutes today to explain what a GDE is and why I'm honored to recently have been named one.

GDE is a program created by Google that was announced in July of 2012. It was established as a way for Google to recognize and reward outstanding people in the development community. There are currently about 80 GDEs across 15 products and 21 countries. You can check them out here.

Personally, (and this probably won't come as much of a surprise since I'm currently a developer at TARGIT) I was named as one of the first GDEs for Google Analytics. This is exciting for a number of reasons. As a GDE, I serve the role of educator. GDEs are supposed to help others. Whether that be by writing code, sample projects, blog posts, and tutorials to help others get the most out of their Google products and projects.

GDEs are all active in the online community. I'm willing to bet that if you needed help, it would be pretty easy to find one. GDEs even hold events for their local Google Developer Groups as well as other GDGs near them. In this way, they spread their passion for working with their chosen Google Product(s) and help others learn.

About two months ago someone asked me to help create a WordPress plug-in for Google Analytics. I spoke with him about it for several days, gave him some ideas, and explained to him how the API works and what he needed to watch out for. Last week he contacted me again and sent me a copy of his completed plug-in. I was wowed he took all of my suggestions plus a few of his own and made a super application that I'm sure will help a lot of people. This is why I do what I do! I like seeing people take their unique ideas and bring them to life. 

We don't get paid for what we do at GDEs; we share our knowledge with the rest of the world just because we enjoy working with Google products so much. But there are even more perks.

Google will occasionally contact me to test a new product or feature in the API. This is a boon for TARGIT because it means that whenever a change is in the works at Google, we can ensure the new TARGIT BI Accelerator for Google Analytics is already up and running well before anyone else. It also means I have a direct line to the good folks at Google if I come across any problems or have any questions about the Google Analytics API.

We've already created a custom Connection manager and SSIS task for the TARGIT BI Accelerator for Google Analytics that directly requests TARGIT users' Google Analytics data from the API. I also now have a rich network of other GDEs who are experts in other Google products, so whenever I'm working on something new, I can easily reach out for additional help or expert guidance.

I've worked with the Google Analytics, Google Drive, Google+, and recently Google Glass. What I like most about these products and services is the fact that they are all free to use. Companies these days are normally just out to make a buck. From my experience, Google isn't most companies. Don't get me wrong, they do charge for some of their services, but that's typically only at the professional level.

This week, I'll be in San Francisco for Google I/O, the company's annual developer-focused conference. Google I/O features highly technical, in-depth sessions focused on building web, mobile, and enterprise applications with Google and open web technologies such as Android, Chrome, Chrome OS, Google APIs, Google Web Toolkit, App Engine, and more.

What am I most looking forward to?

This year's Google I/O has a large number of sessions focusing on the user experience (UX), as well as designing applications that are cross-platform, and for the new wearable technology like Google Glass. I hope to bring back insight and ideas on how applications are designed primarily with the user experience in mind.

Creating applications that are intuitive and easy for our users to understand has always been a priority for me. I feel that wearable technology like Google Glass and new smart watches will become quite common in the future. I hope to bring back some ideas on how TARGIT can take advantage of the unique opportunities for instant information wearable technology will give our customers.

I'm also greatly looking forward to the networking opportunities. A large number of the other Google Developer Experts will be attending Google I/O. In particular, I'll be attending an exclusive dinner hosted by Women Techmakers that will bring together women who like me work in the technology industry. 

I've already written up a quick description of my experience walking around with Google Glass this weekend while in town for the conference on Google+. I snapped some great photos of the plane ride over from Denmark with Glass too which I'll share soon. Stay tuned, because I'll be writing more soon on my time at Google I/O as well as all the great experiences in store for me as a GDE!

Linda Lawton

Linda Lawton

BI Developer
I started programming when I was 13 years old, and quickly fell in love with working with data and databases.  As a developer for TARGIT, I enjoy learning new programming languages, and I've worked with everything from COBOL, Turbo C, BASIC, PHP to .NET. I also enjoy helping people learn to love programming and seeing what they can do. I was recently named a Goo..
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