Who are the heroes of the tech world?

TheServerSide has spoken with many up and coming stalwarts in the industry, and what we wanted to know was who they looked up to as thought leaders and heroes. The names they picked might surprise you.

TheServerSide is fortunate to have the opportunity to interview some incredible thought leaders in the software and technology world. These men and women epitomize what makes this industry so compelling. They bring extensive skills and abilities to the table along with a passion for sharing knowledge—and each one is considered an authority in their field. Here are a few examples.

These professionals have impressive resumes, but who do they look up to? Who do they follow on Twitter? Which great minds do they think should get more attention? We asked several of our expert interviewees that question. Here's what it takes to be looked up to by the leaders.

Prognosticating with accuracy

Simon Maple said that, although it's a good idea to keep a bit of distance from analysts, he does admire James Governer at Monkchips. "Very often, James Governor will tweet and talk about a blog post he wrote 2 years ago predicting what's happening now." That uncanny ability to tell what's going to happen in the future makes Governer an analyst worth watching.

Very often, James Governor will tweet and talk about a blog post he wrote 2 years ago predicting what's happening now.

Simon Maple, ZeroTurnaround

Offering fresh perspective

Maple also had high praise for independent consultant Russel Winder. "He's always a great guy to follow. The way he talks about different languages in the JVM is very refreshing. He does talk a lot about the other great languages. But I think deep down, he really does enjoy working with Java, although he'll hate for me to say that." As a confirmed polyglot programmer, Winder has written a wide variety of textbooks on Java and C++ and is involved in D programming as well.

Being the embedded genius

Marcus Lagergren at Oracle got a shout out for his technical savvy. As a runtime guru, he goes deep into the JVM and is involved in working with Java 8 and the ever-expanding discipline of JavaScript. As a self-described generalist, Lagergren proves that it's possible to be a little cog in a big machine—and still have a profound impact.

Encouraging industry improvement

There are some people who raise the bar for everyone around them. As well as being a speaker, author, and empirical technologist, Richard Warburton is a key organizer for adopt-a-JSR and adopt-open-JDK campaigns. The work involved in encouraging the programming world to adopt best practices and standards is never glamorous, but it makes the software world a better place.

Creating software that works for business

For Emmanuel Bernard, seeing developers become entrepreneurs to capture new business opportunities was exciting. "I'm really inspired by Jay Kreps, Neha Narkhede, and Jun Rao from LinkedIn—the team that created the Confluent company around Kafka."

Kreps previously built Samza, a distributed stream processing framework that utilizes Kafka and Hadoop YARN to create a state-of-the-art messaging system for LinkedIn. This development team has now stepped outside the realm of thinking about Kafka solely for web-based businesses and is exploring applications in other areas. For example, the near real-time capabilities of stream processing have profound implications for sensor data and the internet of things in production environments.

Bringing technology to the masses

Jenny Tong looked outside the insular world of high technology for her inspiration. She brought our attention to a hero who sparks the imagination through a digital storefront catering to anyone who wants to get their hands dirty with tech.

"I love people out there who make stuff seem easy, because technology doesn't have to be hard. One person who comes to mind right away is Lady Ada who runs Adafruit—an online electronics store where you can buy these cool kits and interesting, novel components. She has great tutorials and videos that help people learn how easy it is to make cool stuff." In the end, it's always about the cool stuff.

Who would you add to this list of IT heroes? Let us know.

This was last published in April 2015

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