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Microsoft NZ: Developing an appetite for developers

Computerworld NZ staff | Sept. 25, 2014
Type in the words 'NZ developer' into the Twitter search box and chances are Nigel Parker will have retweeted it.

Type in the words 'NZ developer' into the Twitter search box and chances are Nigel Parker will have retweeted it.

For the Director of Developer and Platform Evangelism at Microsoft New Zealand is unashamedly enthusiastic about the Kiwi developer community, a community he has loyally served for nine years.

Seen endearingly by many as "that Microsoft guy", Parker is part of the furniture in the DPE team, tasked with exciting customers and communities about Microsoft's new and emerging technologies such as Windows Azure, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

"I am constantly in awe of the capability of the people in New Zealand and our ability to go global from the beginning," says Parker, acknowledging around 27,000 professional developers across the country.

"We have an amazing community of mentors, influencers and doers that play off each other to create things that are bigger than ourselves.

"It is this magic that draws me in and keeps me energised. The New Zealand tech community isn't a community of them and us it is a community of curious people that are driven by mastery and results."

With 6,000 developers currently subscribed to the bi-weekly Microsoft Developer Network newsletter in New Zealand, Parker says the community has grown 2.7% during the past 12 months, representing an addition of 700 people.

"We are very lucky to be living in New Zealand as part of such a great community of scientists, collaborators, designers and entrepreneurs," adds Parker, when speaking to Computerworld NZ at Microsoft's TechEd NZ 2014 conference earlier this month.

"We are prepared to try things and fail a little bit along the way. I am also constantly inspired by how willing the community is as a whole to help others grow and to lend a hand."

During his time in DPE, Parker has led strategic change with New Zealand developers, government agencies, start-ups, top Kiwi websites and media companies.

This work has now evolved into the app focus Microsoft has today in DPE with Windows Azure, Windows Phone and the Windows 8 development ecosystems.

Yet unfortunately for Parker, he sees an ageing developer community of Kiwis.

"It's concerning," he admits. "But we are focusing a lot of our efforts to inspire the next generation of kiwi developers specifically with a view to open the door for female developers in the future.

"There is a lot more work needed in this area but I am seeing encouraging signs with government, industry and education bodies getting involved to help."

Parker says Microsoft is also seeing a trend towards new roles around cloud and big data.

"It's a move away from relational/ client server development roles to more data scientist roles," he explains. "They're looking at working with highly scalable databases like Hadoop and DocumentDB preparing for the avalanche of computing that is the Internet of Things and the Data Economy.

 

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