Tag Archives: Google Developer Expert

GDE community highlight: Nishu Goel

Posted by Monika Janota, Community Manager

Red graphic image shows woman holding microphone on stage next to some gears and the GDE logo

Nishu Goel is a renowned web engineer from India, Google Developer Expert for Angular and web technologies, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. She’s the author of Step by Step Angular Routing (BPB, 2019) and A Hands-on Guide to Angular (Educative, 2021) as well as the author of Web Almanac 2021 JavaScript chapter. Nishu currently works at epilot GmbH as a full stack engineer. She told us about her community involvement, career plans and the best ways to learn web development.

Monika: Let’s start with your story. What inspired you to become a developer and take on an active role within dev communities?

Nishu: I got my bachelor’s degree in computer science, we studied data structures, and that’s where the interest in programming started. During the third year of engineering, a connection with the developer community was established through my participation in the Microsoft Imagine Cup Nationals competition where we presented solutions through code. The idea of the application we built was to bring educational opportunities to local students, especially girls. I met some very inspiring people, both contestants and organizers in this journey.

In 2018, my professional career took off, and I started working with Angular. Angular became the primary technology that connected me to the GDE program. Around the same time, I started writing blog posts and creating content around the subject I was working on and learning . Dhananjay Kumar helped me get started on this journey and ensured to keep me on track. My first articles tackled the basics of Angular. Soon after I started speaking at events-the first one being ngNepal, Nepal’s Angular Conference. This led to more speaking invitations about Angular and web technologies.

GDE Nishu Goel stands in the middle of the photo with 4 men on her left and 4 men on her right. They all look into the camera with half smiles

Monika: What’s your professional experience technology-wise?

Nishu: It was all about Angular and web components for the first two years. I was using Angular for building the web, but soon I decided to go beyond that and explore other fields. I didn’t want to limit myself in case I’d have to switch projects. That’s how I started creating web components in Angular to use in other frameworks.

The first thing I did was to create web components using Angular. I published it to npm and used it as a demo in a React project. I’ve discussed this during some of my talks and presentations later. My next job required using React and Typescript. Now, because I was working with React, I wasn’t just using one framework anymore, but the web in general. At that moment I learned a lot about the web, especially web performance. That’s when I had to start thinking about the Largest Contenful Paint (LCP) or First Contentful Paint (FCP), which means how much time it will take your application to load or what’s going to be the maximum time for the page to render. I have been working towards choosing best practices and an improved performance of the applications.

Because of this interest in web performance, I got involved in the Web Almanac and wrote the JavaScript chapter. Web Almanac is an annual report on the state of the web in general — it tells us how people are using different features. Last year 8.6 million websites were screened, the data was analyzed and presented in the report. The report includes statistics like the usage of the async and defer attributes in a <script> element. How many websites are using them correctly, how many are not using that at all, and how many improved those compared to 2020. The last Web Almanac report mentioned that around 35% of websites used two attributes on the same script, which was an anti-pattern, decreasing the performance. This was pointed out last year, and this year we tried to see if the situation improved. I also spoke at ngConf and Reliable Dev Summit, where I focused on the performance of the web.

Close up of the front of a book titled 2021 Web Almanac, HTTP Archive's Annual state of the web report

Monika: You’re also very much involved in giving back to the community. Lately you’ve been volunteering with a Ugandan NGO YIYA — how did it start and what was the main point of that cooperation?

Nishu: It started with the GDE team informing us about the volunteering opportunity with YIYA. The Ugandan NGO was looking for engineers to help them with either the content preparation or technical features. The program aims to empower school-aged children in Uganda and offer them education opportunities using the technologies available locally — not computers or textbooks, but rather basic keypad phones and radios. The children would dial a certain number and receive a set of information, dial another one for more insights, and so on. It became even more useful during the pandemic.

Since I’ve always been involved with the community and sustainable development goals, I decided to reach out. After a meeting with the YIYA team, I offered my help with the Python scripts or any bugs they came up with, any issues with the portal. We worked together for a brief amount of time.

Monika: What are your plans for 2022? Is there anything you’re focusing on in particular?

Nishu: I’m switching jobs and moving to another country. I’ll be working on the web in general, improving the site performance, and also on the backend, using Golang. I’ll continue to zero in on the web performance area since it’s very interesting and complex, and there’s a lot to understand and optimize. Even now, after dedicating a lot of my time to that, there’s still so much to learn. For example, I’d love to understand how using a CDN for my image resources would help me make my app even faster. I want to become THE expert of web performance — I’m gradually getting there, I like to believe :)

Monika: You’ve mentioned starting to write at a point when you were not an expert, you were just writing what you were learning. What would your advice be to new developers coming through and feeling they don’t have anything to share?

Nishu: That’s exactly how I felt when I started writing. I thought that maybe I should not put this out? Maybe it’s just wrong? I was worried my writing was not going to help the readers. But the important thing was that my writing was helping me. I would forget things after some time and then come back to something I wrote earlier. Writing things down is a great idea.

Close up of the front of a book titled Step-by-step Angular Routing, authored by Nishu Goel

So I would suggest everyone — just write, at whatever stage. Even if you’ve only finished one part of a course you’re going through — you’re learning by writing it down. A piece of information that you got to know at some point may be useful to others who don’t know that yet. You don’t need to be an expert. Writing will help you. And anyone, at any stage of their career.

Monika: It’s best to follow people who just learned something because they know all the things they had to figure out. Once you’re an expert, it’s hard to remember what it was like when you were new. And any advice for someone who’s just getting into web development?

Nishu: Many people ask which framework they should choose when they’re starting, but I think that’s not the right question. Whatever we are learning at any point should be useful at a later stage as well. I would advise anyone to drop the limitations and start with HTML or JavaScript — that’s going to be profitable in the future.

And then take any opportunity that comes your way. This happened to me when I stumbled upon information about the Web Almanac looking for authors. I just thought, “oh, this is interesting, this may help everyone with the performance side of things”. That’s how I became a content lead for the JavaScript chapter, and I’ve spent six months writing it. So I think it’s just about grabbing the opportunities and working hard.

Monika: Do you have any predictions or ideas about the future of web technology in general? What’s going to be the next hot topic? What’s going to be growing fast?

Nishu: I love the fact that we’re able to run servers within browsers now, this is a great advancement. For example, running Node.js from the browser has been introduced lately, meanwhile in the past we could not run anything without having Node.js installed in our systems. Now we can do anything from the browser. This is a huge step further in the web ecosystem. And the OMT — Off the Main Thread. Working on the threads is going to be much improved as well. Web Assembly is advancing and enables developers to do that, and I think that is the future of the web ecosystem.

Creating an app to help your community during the pandemic with Gaston Saillen #IamaGDE

Welcome to #IamaGDE - a series of spotlights presenting Google Developer Experts (GDEs) from across the globe. Discover their stories, passions, and highlights of their community work.

Gaston Saillen started coding for fun, making apps for his friends. About seven years ago, he began working full-time as an Android developer for startups. He built a bunch of apps—and then someone gave him an idea for an app that has had a broad social impact in his local community. Now, he is a senior Android developer at Distillery.

Meet Gaston Saillen, Google Developer Expert in Android and Firebase.

Photo of Gaston

Building the Uh-LaLa! app

After seven years of building apps for startups, Gaston visited a local food delivery truck to pick up dinner, and the server asked him, “Why don’t you do a food delivery app for the town, since you are an Android developer? We don’t have any food delivery apps here, but in the big city, there are tons of them.”

The food truck proprietor added that he was new in town and needed a tool to boost his sales. Gaston was up for the challenge and created a straightforward delivery app for local Cordoba restaurants he named Uh-Lala! Restaurants configure the app themselves, and there’s no app fee. “My plan was to deliver this service to this community and start making some progress on the technology that they use for delivery,” says Gaston. “And after that, a lot of other food delivery services started using the app.”

The base app is built similarly to food delivery apps for bigger companies. Gaston built it for Cordoba restaurants first, after several months of development, and it’s still the only food delivery app in town. When he released the app, it immediately got traction, with people placing orders. His friends joined, and the app expanded. “I’ve made a lot of apps as an Android engineer, but this is the first time I’ve made one that had such an impact on my community.”

He had to figure out how to deliver real-time notifications that food was ready for delivery. “That was a little tough at first, but then I got to know more about all the backend functions and everything, and that opened up a lot of new features.”

He also had to educate two groups of users: Restaurant owners need to know how to input their data into the app, and customers had to change their habit of using their phones for calls instead of apps.

Gaston says seeing people using the app is rewarding because he feels like he’s helping his community. “All of a sudden, nearby towns started using Uh-LaLa!, and I didn't expect it to grow that big, and it helped those communities.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants struggled to maintain their sales numbers. A local pub owner ran a promotion through Instagram to use the Uh-Lala! App for ten percent off, and their sales returned to pre-COVID levels. “That is a success story. They were really happy about the app.”

image of person holding a phone and an image of an app on the phone

Becoming a GDE

Gaston has been a GDE for seven years. When he was working on his last startup, he found himself regularly answering questions about Android development and Firebase on StackOverflow and creating developer content in the form of blog posts and YouTube videos. When he learned about the GDE program, it seemed like a perfect way to continue to contribute his Android development knowledge to an even broader developer community. Once he was selected, he continued writing blog posts and making videos—and now, they reach a broader audience.

“I created a course on Udemy that I keep updated, and I’m still writing the blog posts,” he says. “We also started the GDG here in Cordoba, and we try to have a new talk every month.”

Gaston enjoys the GDE community and sharing his ideas about Firebase and Android with other developers. He and several fellow Firebase developers started a WhatsApp group to chat about Firebase. “I enjoy being a Google Developer Expert because I can meet members of the community that do the same things that I do. It’s a really nice way to keep improving my skills and meet other people who also contribute and make videos and blogs about what I love: Android.”

The Android platform provides developers with state-of-the art tools to build apps for user. Firebase allows developers to accelerate and scale app development without managing infrastructure; release apps and monitor their performance and stability; and boost engagement with analytics, A/B testing, and messaging campaigns.

photo of a webpage in another language

Future plans

Gaston looks forward to developing Uh-La-La further and building more apps, like a coworking space reservation app that would show users the hours and locations of nearby coworking spaces and allow them to reserve a space at a certain time. He is also busy as an Android developer with Distillery.

Photo of Gaston on a telelvision show

Gaston’s advice to future developers

“Keep moving forward. Any adversity that you will be having in your career will be part of your learning, so the more that you find problems and solve them, the more that you will learn and progress in your career.”

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#IamaGDE: Joel Humberto Gómez

Banner with image of Joel Humberto Gómez, Google Developer Expert in Googe Maps Platform and Web Technologies

The Google Developers Experts program is a global network of highly experienced technology experts, influencers, and thought leaders who actively support developers, companies, and tech communities by speaking at events and publishing content.

Joel Humberto Gómez is an application developer at IBM, writing applications that improve the performance of IBM’s internal organization. While his job focuses on frontend development using React, he also has experience with web development using JavaScript. He has held many technical lead roles, in which he makes technical decisions and product delivery plans. Joel has a Computer Science degree from Universidad Veracruzana and has familiarity with databases, mobile development, web development, networks, and servers. He is a GDE in Web Technologies and Google Maps Platform.

“I’ve been involved in projects related to asset delivery and NFC in mobile development and projects about data visualization and automation processes in companies,” he says. “In 2022, I want to be more involved in the open source community.”

Joel uses Google Maps Platform to visualize data and explore data in projects focused on data visualization. In one project, he used the Maps JavaScript API. In another, he focused on trace routes and visualizing points to recollect and deliver packages. In a third project, he used the Place Autocomplete services and Directions API. Now, he is working on a non-profit project to show some places related with medical services.

Getting involved in the developer community

At university, one of Joel’s instructors organized events related to Linux, like Install Fest, with his students.

“With time, I became one of their students, and he motivated me to share knowledge with others and be brave and go beyond the university and my comfort zone,” Joel says. “I started to organize events and talks and got to know people in other communities.”

Eventually, Gómez became a GDG organizer.

“My chapter was GDG Monterrey,” he says. “We organized an Android Study Jam and some Google I/O Extended events.”

Gómez enjoyed sharing with his community and received encouragement from other GDEs to apply to the GDE program to share his knowledge more widely.

“I love to share with my community, but sometimes the knowledge just stays in your community,” he says. “Diego DeGranda, a GDE specializing in web technologies, encouraged me to apply and go beyond my community to share with communities outside of my country.”

As a GDE, Gómez has met other developers from around the world, with whom he talks about technology and shares experiences. Another benefit of being a GDE is the opportunity to learn from other GDEs and Google employees.

“In 2020, I had more activities, because location wasn’t a limitation anymore,” he said. “For speakers, virtual meetings are sometimes complicated, but we are adapting to this situation and using and creating tools to get and provide a better experience.”

Favorite Google Maps Platform features

Gómez’ favorite Google Maps Platform feature is the Local Context API.

“I think it’s a cool feature and has a lot of potential to create better applications,” he says. “I have some projects where Local Context helps me with some features, and I don’t need to develop by myself. In 2020, I gave some talks about the new features, wrote blog posts about them, and made videos about them.”

Future plans

Joel plans to create more content about Local Context, Plus Codes and other features in Google Maps Platform.

“I’m planning to start with a podcast about Maps and how to use it to create better applications,” he says. “I’ve been doing this in Spanish, so I need to create content in English, too.”

He has three professional goals: start to contribute to open source, create a little startup, and start projects that use Google Maps Platform.

Follow Joel on Twitter at @DezkaReid | Check out Joel’s projects on GitHub

For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website or learn more about our GDE program.