My name is Matt Gaunt, I work in the Developer Relations team @ Google. I've focused on a few different products since joining, Google TV, Android WebView and I'm now spending the majority of my time on the Open Web and Chrome.
How did you become a developer advocate at Google, what is your background?
During my time at University I started getting into Android development and I was lucky enough to build an Android app that was featured in the Android Market while working for a startup. I ended up leaving Uni, working for that startup, leading the Android team. When I left that company I worked for a mobile development house in Brighton called Future Platforms which was incredible for learning all sorts of tech and platforms. Future Platforms was bought and when faced with moving to London, I gave Google a shot and wanted to work in Developer Relations whom I met with and chatted with at events since starting Android development, admiring all the work they had done.
Where did you studied? Looking back, would you recommend your path to beginners?
I first started coding at University of Bristol where I earned my Masters Degree in Computer Science and I loved it! The thing I loved about the staff there is 1.) They are passionate and have crazy ideas 2.) They were happy with the notion that someone who hasn't coded before is almost at an advantage for the course since they won't have learnt bad practices.
What are the books and weblogs helped you to improve your professional skills?
I don't think I have any solid advice here, it all depends on what you want to do. The main thing for me is to find people on social networks that are well respected in the tech area, they'll basically guide you to the latest and best tools and guidance. For Android I'd say get on G+ and check out: Jake Wharton, Mark Murphy, Juhani Lehtim?ki, Lucas Rocha, Jeff Gilfelt, Guenther Beyer, Cyril Mottier & Stefan Hoth. For Web get on Twitter and check out Chris Coyier, Remy Sharp, Harry Roberts, Wes Bos, Pascal Hartig, Paul Irish & Addy Osmani.
P.s. this is the tip of the iceberg for people to follow - sorry for anyone I missed off, but you'll organically crop up :)
If I could give any advice, I'd say just jump in and try things out and blog about it. I blog to remind myself stuff at a later date, if someone else finds it useful, that's a double win. If someone corrects me, that's not a failure, that's free advice and hopefully other people will find that advice useful too.
What development technologies and tools do you use for your work?
It's a mish mash of things, but mostly my set up is:
- OS X or Gnome Ubuntu
- Atom for coding
- ZSH on my terminal
- For site building I'm always using Gulp
- For coding backends I've used PHP + Codeigniter for my personal site, but I use NodeJS for a lot of my work and demos.
- Server wise I'm living on Google Compute Engine to host a Docker image and I'll use App Engine for hosting demo's. Have to give a shout out to Heroku who have been awesome when I've used them.
- Daily tools for testing sites: webpagetest.org and PageSpeed Insights. SSL Labs for security testing.
Who are the developers, colleagues in Google or outside you admire most?
Too many to shout. Generally anyone who does work that I could never achieve and are insanely humble. Chris Coyier, Sindre Sorhus, Pascal Hartig & Gavin Strange to name a few. I also have to give a cheeky shout out to aerotwist, jaffathecake, addyosmani, paulkinlan who I work with and annoy every damn day :)