From student to Evangelist–Stand out at Hacks and take opportunities


Being an part of the Microsoft ecosystem changed everything. I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my experience and how to make the most of it.

Guest post by Sean McGee, Developer Evangelist at Esri UK

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What do I do?

I’m a Developer Evangelist at Esri UK. Which basically means I’m a professional developer/networker. I attend and talk at developer events, hackathons and industry events. I still get to developer apps and games to demonstrate our technology, with my main focus being the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. Apart from the developer stuff, I’m lead of the Esri Startup Program here for the UK.

 

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Making the most of any opportunity

It’s really important to make the most of any opportunities you get to network with industry be that student partner programmes, hackathons or industry projects. The criteria to get accepted on programmes is pretty tough. Embrace the opportunity you’ve got.

Here’s how.

· Attend as many events and activities you can. You’ll gain contacts and that’ll really benefit you in the future. The more you show your face and offer to help others the more it helps yourself. I’d always offer to speak at different universities about Imagine Access, Imagine Cup and the MSP program. I attended as many hackathons as I could. With Microsoft and as a student.

· Make the most of the experts around you. Don’t be afraid to ask others, Microsoft Valued Professional ’s and employees at Microsoft. They’d generally be more than happy to offer there time.

What I learned during my time as a Student

It was very easy to evangelise and be an ambassador for Microsoft. When great tools and programs are developed, it makes it easy to speaking positively about them. I still have the same mentality here at Esri UK.

I definitely improved my presentation skills. When talking in front of 200 people you quickly learn to get over any fears you have of public speaking.

I’d say the most important thing I have learned is never burn your bridges.

So some top tips

– Go out of your way to help someone.

– Stay on good terms with everyone you can.

Aspiring Evangelists

I think what you’re evangelising about makes all the difference. At Microsoft and at Esri I have been lucky as I am passionate about the technologies I evangelise about. I genuinely want to show off the cool new technologies that people haven’t seen before.

It’s an amazing job. You’re not in sales. So you don’t have the pressure of getting commission. You’re literally there to show off the cool and interesting stuff. It’s a good career!


What made me become an evangelist?

– It’s an amazing job.

Before the role; I had my own blog and social media. I loved to present and showcase things. I always would be making games and apps and I’d be attending events and hackathons… All for fun in my own time. But now I get paid for it.

– We get to develop innovation projects!

Here’s a few fun examples http://www.esriuk.com/labs. We also post the code on GitHub. There’s no sales effort behind it. If we have a cool idea that we think the community would benefit from or that would be a good test of our own tools. We can potentially just run with that idea.

Highlights of my job

– I’m in technical research so if I have a great idea I can potentially run with it.

I think that has to be one of the coolest things that any job could have. Also our tools and technology are very powerful. I think we’re now at a stage where pretty much anything is possible. It’s the idea that counts!

– I used to be an avid attender of hackathons before I joined Esri UK.

Now I’m the guy that gets to attend them on behalf of my company. 

– I definitely get to see the world!

I was recently was in Berlin for our Developer Summit and soon to be heading to Barcelona for a hackathon.

–  I really enjoy helping others

Assisting students, developers and startups has to be a massive highlight of my job.

Being a Microsoft Student Partner is still one of the best things I’ve done. So never waste any opportunities!

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