Posted by Baris Yesugey – Regional Lead, Google Developers Turkey and Central Asia
Tell us about yourself
I am a mobile developer & community builder who aims to be a restless learner. I am strongly passionate about how innovation can help communities advance and grow. I engage in public speaking on topics like development, community, women in tech, and motivation. I am a co-founder & mentor for the Android Developers Group Turkey.
I serve as an organizer for the Google Developer Groups Edirne. I am also a Google Women Techmakers Ambassador – among all of these groups and the collaborations among them, we reach over 90 Google Developer Student Clubs chapters in Turkey and throughout Central Asia. In that spirit, I personally believe that more colors make a better rainbow in the tech community. My dream is to build a future where the lack of diversity is no longer an issue in the tech community.
What is your job, and how does it relate to the tech community?
My major is chemical engineering, and I am working as a community manager at a game development company called Game Factory. My community-facing role allows me to be a person who motivates and helps people to navigate the learning process on their journey to becoming a developer. I feel able to create inspiration because I have been through what others feel and experience when learning to code, so I can easily empathize with them.
How did you get your start in this field?
In studying the field of chemical engineering, I came across the Google Developer Groups (GDG) and I participated in the organizing team to help and support the organization. While we were organizing events, I noticed people have a huge passion for tech. I asked myself, “what is that thing in tech that makes people so impassioned?”
And after that, I started to better understand the tech industry, thanks to the programs offered by GDG. Then I decided to learn to code. After a while, now I know that I am where I want to be, and I have worked towards finding my dream job.
Can you tell me about how you became interested in technology?
I got introduced to technology in this way through GDG. When I first participated in the community, I was actually only planning to improve my organization and project management skills. But I was lucky that I had the chance to watch people and see what they are doing in tech and in the broader industry. When I saw people’s passion and curiosity in this space, I started to also be interested. But the moment that I wanted to learn to code is when I realized how people get to enjoy the time when they are coding and improve themselves altogether.
What is unique about your GDG community or developers in Turkey?
We are a community that remains close, supportive, and sensitive to each other’s needs. It is easy to reach someone on the other side of Turkey in the community. GDG as a program helps this cause because when people start to learn to code but have a problem, they can easily be demoralized, which might lead them to quit learning and never try again. But with the GDG community, they support each other and help to solve problems. If they realized that they do not like the language they are learning, it is so easy to switch to another tech. They become braver to learn and achieve with the GDG program.
With a goal of creating a space for learning new developer tools, we organize workshops, trainings, and icebreakers for our community, to strengthen its ability to connect people around technical concepts. We hold sessions on technical tools, community management, project management, personal goal setting, and many more topics. The events we host show the power of community. The important thing for me is that the programs and content remain open-minded, equal, and diverse.
What is a recent highlight from your community work?
We hosted an Android DevFest and received wonderful feedback from our participants. We wanted to do something and get together when events were starting to take place physically again. We organized an in-person event with expert speakers and various content.
|An in-person gather for DevFest Android in Turkey|
These speakers accompanied us with wonderful presentations throughout the event. We had fun conversations on many topics, from the Jetpack library and Compose to application architecture. We had a great day as people united by our passion for Android, having fun, drinking a lot of coffee, and bringing each other a lot of new gains.
What is the moment where you feel like everything changed for you or you “had a breakthrough” as a developer and mentor?
When I started to learn Android, I fell in love with the technology. When I started to feel like I knew it well enough, I, along with my teammate, organized an Android Bootcamp. This took two and a half months. At the end of this Bootcamp, I participated in an “I am Remarkable” workshop, which is an initiative empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.
What is an example of community work you’re proud to share?
At the “I am Remarkable” workshop we hosted, before the workshop started, one man who was about 40 years old came up to me and thanked me for our community initiatives. At first, I did not understand what he was looking to ask me about, but then as he shared his story of impact, which made me proud.
He said that he was a teacher before our bootcamp and then changed jobs by attending our Android Bootcamp and other programs we led. During that time, he started to learn Android with us and began to complete all classes. Now, fast forward, and he is working as an actual Android developer! That represents the moment that I recognized that my life changed. This is because that was the moment I realized I was not only improving myself, but I was also growing and running with the community.
|Ceren leads a “Why Kotlin” workshop for beginners and technologists in the community|
What are some technical resources you have found the most helpful for your professional development?
What are your plans for the future, in your career as a GDG organizer?
I am still exploring, career-wise, but I definitely plan to remain in the tech industry and aim to have connections with people. Now, I am working as a community manager, along with my teammate Serkan Alc, who is a great team worker and supporter. We are building a community through GDG. So we can say for both domains of my work and community, the most exciting projects are creating Bootcamps and webinars that help and motivate people to take a step into the field of tech.