I have been a .NET developer for over a decade and worked in a wide variety of industries including games, printer software, web services, and more. A little over three years ago I decided to move my entire life from Phoenix, AZ to the most wonderful place in the world Seattle, WA for a brand new job. That new job was to be the lead and only mobile developer at Ceton. My first assignment was to create a series of mobile apps to pair with their DVR hardware and Windows Media Center (Microsoft’s ahead of its time DVR software). These mobile apps of course had to run across all platforms from iOS, Android, and yes even Windows. At that point in my life I only knew C# and had only made one mobile app in my life and it was for Windows Phone. Android, iOS, Java, Objective-C… I had no idea. That is when I found the Xamarin Platform, which enabled me to re-use my C#, .NET, and IDE skills to create beautiful native apps for all of these platforms.
My time at Ceton was awesome and I created a plethora of apps that I am extremely proud of and have tens of thousands of downloads (which is great for a $5 app targeted at Media Center users).
After two years, it was time for a change when I got a phone call from Xamarin asking for me to interview for a Developer Evangelist role. It has been over a year since I joined Xamarin, and I still get questions about what I actually do for a living, so I wanted to take some time to actually describe what a Developer Evangelist at Xamarin is all about and what we do.
What is Xamarin?This has to be the number one question that I get asked no matter where I am at in the world, and it is one that I have no problem answering and explaining each and every time. This is the core of my job, regardless of wheter I am actually explaining or demoing live code at a coffee shop or a conference, webinar, or developer group. To be honest with you, this is the easy part of my job because I absolutely LOVE the Xamarin Platform. Having been a Xamarin developer for over two years who fell in love with the platform means that I get to show developers my passion for mobile development, something that I love, and think is absolutely unbelievably amazing. Hopefully you will think it is amazing as well :)
Travel & Make ConnectionsEven though I live in Seattle, I actually spend about half the year away from this beautiful city. I know just about every airport, am comfortable with hotel gyms, and have racked up more Southwest Rapid Rewards points than I know what to do with. Even though I believe everyone should fly to see me in Seattle, I know it is much easier to come to you, and that is something that I couldn’t be happier to do. The great thing is that through this travel I’ve created connections with amazing developers all around the world that I know will last the rest of my life. Locally here in Seattle I have the honor of co-organizing the Seattle Mobile .NET Developers group with one of my best friends, Frank Krueger, which has been an extremely memorable experience.
If I was able to share a few highlight from the year I have to mention getting the chance to meet some of my all time heroes like Scott Hanselman (and the creation of the Hanselman app) and Laurent Bugnion the create of MVVM Light that I had the chance to sit down and discuss Xamarin support for the framework. But of course there is our amazing community including all of our amazing Xamarin MVPs. At Philly Code Camp I had the honor of presenting side-by-side both Brent Schooley and Greg Shackles, which was an absolute blast. Between Evolve, online, and all my travels I have meet so many people that I wish I could list them all: Ryan Hatfield, John Lyon-Smith, Jan Hannemann, Seth Valdetero, Alec Tucker, Beth Massi, Chris Riesgo, Paul Batum, Tomasz Cielecki (The Cheesebaron!), Paul Betts, Nick Landry, and SO MANY MORE!
The easiest way to get a hold of me is via Twitter via @JamesMontemagno. I seem to always be on and have had some of the best 140 character coding conversations ever (although usually they involve GitHub and some Gists).
Of course can not forget my entire Xamarin family, who it is truly an honor to be able to work side by side each and every day. Thanks to Craig Dunn I am now addicted to waffles that I must have each and every time I am in San Francisco.
Present, Present, and Present More!You may be surprised to hear this, but before I started at Xamarin I had only ever professionally presented once in my life. But last year I presented over 120 times! Many of these presentations are the same, however I like to mix things up. This means if you see me present and see me again presenting the same presentation even the next day, it will be a brand new experience. I handcraft all of my slide decks (aka, I am a PowerPoint pro now) and all of my demos as well. With mobile platforms and the range of products that Xamarin now offers, there is so much to present that it is hard to keep up — but that is the fun part.
Here are just a few badges from 2014!
Build Awesome Libraries, Apps, and SamplesHave you seen my GitHub lately? It is filled with every single sample, library, and app that I have created since I started at Xamarin. One of the best aspects of my role is that I am always learning, trying the latest APIs, and still building full apps that I ship! It is a special feeling though to be able to give so much back to the community.