Posted by Brian Shen, Regional Lead for Mainland China Developer Communities
Every developer’s path to pursuing a career in tech can be traced back to a single moment. Such is the case for Ning Zhang, a developer from China, who found his early interest in web development as a high schooler at the age of fifteen. Ning built his first website for his English class to help his classmates succeed with their studies. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he was only just getting started. Throughout high school, he played with Google Webmaster Tools (now Google Search Console) and Google Adsense to create and manage numerous other websites for fun. Like so many aspiring developers before him, Ning knew he’d found his passion, but the path ahead remained unclear.
Enter Google Developer Groups
To grow his skills further and turn his hobby into a viable career path, Ning majored in data science at university in Qingdao. Here, he participated in data-modeling competitions like Kaggle Days, and other events that gave him more exposure to the tech community and allowed him to learn from his peers. It’s also where he first heard about Google Developer Groups (GDGs) and their many opportunities for learning, networking and collaboration.
It was perfect timing too. After graduation Ning got a job with a financial services firm in Shanghai, home to a very active GDG. He jumped at the chance to engage in activities and workshops to further his abilities and knowledge, especially in data science, which constitutes a significant part of his work responsibilities.
While Ning enjoys the formal learning opportunities the GDG offers, he finds the sense of community and support—the opportunity to learn from others and share his expertise as well – even more valuable.
“This kind of atmosphere is actually more inspiring than learning a new technology, new programming ideas, and new algorithms.”
“Everyone has different hands-on experience and expertise in different companies,” Ning explains. “GDG provides an environment where people can share their experience and listen to each other.”
The combination of community, developer success, and social impact has made a huge impression on him both personally and professionally. The international nature of GDGs also provides an expanded perspective and different ways of thinking about problems and solutions. “GDG really gave me a lot of new and fresh information and opened our eyes to more global approaches,” says Ning.
Group photo of GDG Shanghai Activity Center
Tapping into a global community
As the importance of technology continues to grow, the GDG community can play an even greater role by helping people learn valuable tech skills, supporting the dissemination of knowledge, and spurring innovation. Offerings that focus on sharing knowledge and other events can assist members in achieving their career goals as they have done for Ning. “I hope every member of GDG will experience the good atmosphere of the group in the future so that their value can be magnified,” says Zhang.
Join the community: Learn how you can find a GDG chapter near you.