Google has introduced a new scheme that recognizes and rewards outstanding developers.
Competing for badges seems to be an integral part of the profession of software developer and Google's new Developer Expert program looks somewhat similar to Microsoft Most Valued Professional program.
According to Amir Shevat, Developer Relations Program Manager, on the Google Developers blog:
The status of Google Developers Expert is awarded yearly to experts who contribute to the communities around Android, Cloud, HTML5, Chrome, and Google Maps.
The new program offers several benefits to its member in terms of credibility and exposure - members are allowed to display a logo showing their specialism and the year of award and be listed in Member Directory along with their areas of expertise; Developer Experts may also be asked to represent Google at public events.
They can also expect advantages in terms of access to upcoming products, by being part of the trusted tester program providing feedback, and to members of the product team for their area of expertise. Special on-line and in-person events are are also promised for program members.
The process of becoming a member starts by being nominated by members of the Google Developer Relations team and to be considered developers should send in their details and state how they contribute to the developer community to firstname.lastname@example.org. Membership in the program is for a one-year period and can be renewed each year if the member still is active and qualifies.
The blog post states:
The inaugural group has 26 honorees with deep technical expertise in specific areas who are major contributors to the developer community.
So far all of the 26 members of this elite group are male which raises the question of what female Googlers are doing.
As well as being limited to a small set of Google products, the scheme has started with a limited number of locations. Even so the Developer Relations Team would be well advised to encourage its female developers to participate in the program - and the best way to do that would have been ensure that women were represented in the inaugural group.