What About the Developer?
Have you ever wondered about the developer experience of your advertising? If you are marketing to developers, you absolutely should. Our goal with the “Meet the Developer” series is to give you, the marketer, insight into individual developers. Meet the people behind the code and learn about how they experience the advertising and content you are throwing at them.
We caught up with Mehreen Tahir, a software engineer from Pakistan who enjoys cooking and baking in her spare time. Her specialties, analytics and machine learning, reflect her interest in intelligent systems. Like many developers, she generally avoids ads, but trusts those in her developer community, CodeProject. Here’s what she had to say about herself and her experiences with advertising targeting developers.
First of all, how are you doing during the trying times of the pandemic?
Initially it was very hard for me. I was supposed to play in an inter-university squash tournament for my university when we went under lock-down, and the tournament was cancelled. I had to move back home from university, and none of it was pleasant. But eventually I adapted to the new routine, started working full time along with my studies, and now I can say that I’ve made my peace with the situation.
Tell us about yourself – where are you located, what is your job/role, what is your area of expertise, what are your hobbies/interests?
I grew up in Rabwah, Pakistan. It’s a small but lovely city. I’ve lived at [sic] a few other places like Lahore, Pakistan and Virginia, USA, but I guess most of us are more attached to our hometowns.
I’ve been more into academics, mostly; crazy about grades and the dean’s list, and I graduated at the top of my class. One of the best experiences was my exchange semester at ODU where I also had the opportunity to work in cyber security and cloud computing domains.
Most recently, I’ve been working as a Software Engineer. I’ve always been drawn to intelligent systems. Start off with raw data, all the way to using it for smart decision making and you’ll have my undivided attention. Analytics and Machine Learning will always be my pet areas in the field.
Aside from a hectic routine these days, I like to cook & bake whenever I find time. So if you ever want to have yummy cupcakes or brownies, just ping me. 😉
P.S. you will have to make coffee for me as well 😀
Has Covid-19 caused you to use new or different ways to locate information about products? And if so, what are those new tools?
With COVID-19 in place, the world is going more digital, but I don’t think things have changed much for us developers. I used to locate information about products and services online even before COVID, so it’s the same old, same old for me.
Why do you participate in your developer community?
I started participating in developer communities around 2 years back, and have been hooked ever since. I’ve always been passionate about sharing my knowledge and expertise with others. There’s also the feeling you get when you wake up to a text/email [from someone] appreciating your work, or from a story about how it [my expertise] helped someone — [it’s] indescribable. That indeed is a proud moment, and it doesn’t hurt to be in the spotlight, right?
What’s the newest tech you are using, learning, excited about, curious about?
Edge analytics. There’s been a lot of work done in the domain of analytics and machine learning, but usually it requires a huge amount of computational resources whereas we deal with resource constraint devices in our daily lives, mostly. Bringing machine learning to Edge devices will be a challenge, but so is the demand of the time.
I’m planning on working with Edge analytics using serverless architecture, and might continue the project for my PhD as well.
Where do you go for info about developer tools?
Google search is always a yes! I mean that’s the first thing you learn as a developer, how to Google intelligently. GitHub has also been a great source of information lately. Usually when I come across some new developer tool, I like to go to GitHub and search for some interesting projects. Other than that, YouTube is a great free platform to learn about pretty much anything. No matter the topic or experience level, there will always be some guy talking about the tool or technology stack to help you through it. Udemy, Code Academy and LinkedIn Learning are amazing platforms to learn new tech stuff as well. Other than that, I read articles on Code Project and Medium.
I like to stay local when doing actual development. Anaconda comes in pretty handy when working with Machine Learning stuff. For other sorts of projects, I usually go with Visual Studio Code.
What ads attract you?
Ads are the most annoying thing on Earth. I mean, when I’m surfing on the Web looking for something, I don’t need an ad popping up asking me to subscribe or trying to redirect me to some other website. Static ads are still bearable, but I always have my Ad blocker on and I would just leave the site if asked to turn the Ad blocker off.
If you listen to podcasts related to your work, how often and how many?
Lately I’ve had a pretty hectic routine working as a full-time Software Engineer while pursuing my master’s, so I don’t usually get time to listen to podcasts. It’s usually just once or twice a month.
How do you feel about sponsored content if it is featured on podcasts?
From a marketer’s perspective, sponsored podcasts allow you to gain awareness from listeners without having to put time and effort into creating your own content from scratch, which is good.
Do you click on the ad or search the product/advertiser you see in the ad on a separate browser instance?
That highly depends on how the ad is presented and the kind of product/service being advertised. From developer communities like CodeProject, you know you can trust the link, so yes I might click on it, but in other communities, my hesitation would automatically double, since there’s a higher chance for a spam link.
How do you feel when you visit content or another site you are interested in, that was advertised to you, only to find that you have to give a phone number to get what was offered?
Why do you even need my phone number? I wouldn’t have cared a few years back, but then I started receiving many advertising messages — so now, please keep your services. I’m not giving away my phone number. I like my phone silent better.
Same as above — except about your credit card info?
100x worse. My credit card info is even more precious to me than my phone number.
At what point do you navigate away when you visit content you want, but encounter a lot of requests for personal information? Email? Name? Phone number? Credit card? Other?
Sometimes right away if I don’t want it that badly. But usually at credit card info.
Once this happens, how do you feel about that brand or product?
I feel like asking for too much personal information only makes the brand or product lose customers. Because once I move away, I’m usually never coming back unless it’s a do or die situation.
In what situation are you more likely to try a new product and why (e.g., Seeing an engaging ad, having someone you follow and trust mention it on social media, hearing about the product at a conference, a combination, or something else)?
If I hear about the product at a conference or if the situation calls for it. I’m usually trying out new things because of my diverse interests, so if something intrigues me, I’m definitely trying it out.
Have you ever found a technology and purchased it based on an ad run in your developer community? Why or why not?
I’ve purchased and worked with a few technologies for my office work, but nothing for my personal use so far. You’re mostly provided with technologies to work with either in a work setting or in academics, so I’ve never felt the need to.
That’s a Wrap
Like other developers we’ve talked to, Mehreen avoids ads because they are irritating. Unsurprisingly, she most resents the interruption of pop-up ads. But, while she is spending time in a developer community that she trusts, like CodeProject, she is willing to click on an ad if it’s a product or service that interests her — like something related to Edge analytics and machine learning. But the best way to keep Mehreen away? Adding a paywall to a content offer.
For more details on how to create successful advertising campaigns in D2D communities, check out our ebook, “D2D Marketing: An Advertising Guide.”