The Road to GDE 3

Google Developer Expert Analytics You may not have heard of the term GDE before. Up until a month ago, I’m not sure if I had even heard of it. From what I have been able to find out, the GDE program started sometime in 2010 in Japan as an API Expert program. The idea quickly took root and has flourished.

So what is a GDE?    Google Developer Expert (GDE) is a program created by Google  and announced in July of 2012.    It was created as a way for Google to recognize and reward out standing people in the development community.     There are currently around 80 GDEs across 15 products and 21 countries.  The tenure for a GDE is 1 year.  After a year, a GDE is officially considered to have exited the program and goes through a re-evaluation to be renewed.   Initially this program was created around the Android, Cloud, HTML5, Chrome, and Google Maps communities, but as you will soon read that is expanding.    I’m proud to announce I just became a GDE,  I would like to add that I am also one of the first for Google Analytics.     I am going to go though with you exactly what a GDE is / does, and then share a bit of my experience of the last three weeks of the review process.

What does a GDE do?

In general, GDEs help others.  They write code, sample projects, blog posts, and tutorials.   You can probably find a number of them lurking on StackOverflow or Google+ community ready to help with just about anything.   GDEs, as I see it, are very active in their community.  This does not necessarily mean that they are active within there locally community;  it can simply mean they are active with the online community.    There are not a lot of Google Analytics Addicts near the area that I live, so all of my activity is online.      After a bit of Googleing I found that a number of GDEs hold events for there 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.

If you ask me, GDEs are a pretty selfless bunch of people. These people don’t get paid for what they do, though it does have its perks. They share their knowledge with the rest of the world just because they enjoy working with their chosen Google product(s).

The Process

There are three steps to this process as I have recently found out.

  1. Getting nominated:    In order to become a GDE, you have to first be nominated by either a Googler or a current member of the GDE program.
  2. Prove yourself:  Once you are nominated they ask you for a copy of your CV, along with a list of everything you have done in the online or offline community to help.
  3. Interviews:   A set of interviews over Google Hangouts.

The Last three weeks

The Nomination:

About three weeks ago received an email from  Pete Frisella.   He told me about the GDE program and asked me if this was something I would be interested in.    He asked me if I would be interested?   I’m not sure what he was thinking.  This is Google do you know anyone who wouldn’t be interested?    So that was step one.

Prove it:

About a week later I received an email.   Requesting the following information:
Personal Details

  • Your full name
  • Your G+ Profile
  • Your email address
  • Your Country/Region
  • Reason for Applying

In your own words describe why you want to join the GDE program. What impact would you aim to make in the developer community?

Relationship with Google
Do you currently have any working relationship with Google in any capacity? If yes, please explain.

Activity Details
Activities take one of the following general forms:

  1. Software creation – You have created well-designed and well-received software using Google APIs/technology.
  2. Content creation – You have written and continue to write blog posts, articles, documentation, books, etc. about Google technology and development using that technology. You could also be translating existing documentation into other languages to benefit local developers.
  3. Forum participation – you are an active participant on product forums, StackOverflow or any forum relevant to the product team (as defined by the product team).
  4. Speaking engagements – You attend relevant conferences, seminars, events, etc. for and engage with other attendees by speaking at the conference, sitting on panels, conducting informal meetups and networking.
  5. Community engagement – You lead and/or participates in GDG or other community meetups, hackathons, G+ hangouts with local developers. You advise technology companies and are a well known developer in your local community.

Please include dates and details for each of the community activity forms above. Details should also note:

  • Verifiable link to activity (such as for forums, blog posts, videos, conference website, presentation slides, etc.)
  • Reach: # of developers impacted, page views, downloads, etc.

The Interviews

I went though 3 interviews.   The Google Analytics team is all based on the West Cost of the USA, while I am in Denmark.  The first two interviews were scheduled for 6pm and 6:30pm my time, which gave me all day to worry about what they were going to ask and what I was going to say. I must admit I was most worried about talking with  Pete Frisella.   Technically speaking, I’m sure he could have asked me questions I wouldn’t have been able to answer; for example, I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to Android. I really shouldn’t have worried – my talk with Pete was great, very relaxed, and I had a lot of fun talking with him about Google Analytics. He didn’t just tell me what he thought the GA team should be doing; I think he was more interested in what I thought the GA team should be doing.

My Take on the whole process

When I first started this trip, I wrongly assumed that all GDEs were experts in their field, in a way I guess they are. But they aren’t necessarily graduates with PhDs from prestigious colleges, working for the best companies. If they were I probably wouldn’t be one.

  • GDEs are people that are passionate about a Google product.
  • GDEs want to spread that passion to the world.
  • GDEs like to help.


About Linda Lawton

My name is Linda Lawton I have more than 20 years experience working as an application developer and a database expert. I have also been working with Google APIs since 2012 and I have been contributing to the Google .Net client library since 2013. In 2013 I became a a Google Developer Experts for Google Analytics.

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3 thoughts on “The Road to GDE

    • Linda Lawton Post author

      I have been a GDE now for four years. In the begging we were fewer GDEs i knew everyone and we talked alot. Now I dont know who the GDEs are, I find that a little sad but on the other side its great because it shows how big the program has become.

      I think the only thing I would change would be a little more acknowledgement from Google as to what the GDEs do. Everything we do we do in our free time with no payment from Google. Other than a tag saying you are doing a good job you are a GDE, and a trip once a year to the GDE summit.