After a tumultuous 2018 in tech, it’s vital that you surround yourself with a variety of opinions and experiences in 2019 if you’re to understand what the hell is going on.
While there are thousands of incredible people working in tech, I’ve decided to make life a little easier for you by bringing together 18 of the best people from across the industry to follow on Twitter.
From engineers at Microsoft and AWS, to researchers and journalists, this list is by no means comprehensive but it does give you a wide range of people that have been influential, interesting, and important in 2018.
(A few of) the best people in tech on Twitter
April Wensel (@aprilwensel)
April Wensel is the founder of Compassionate Coding, an organization that aims to bring emotional intelligence and ethics into the tech industry. In April 2018 Wensel wrote an essay arguing that “it’s time to retire RTFM” (read the fucking manual). The essay was well received by many in the tech community tired of a culture of ostensible caustic machismo and played a part in making conversations around community accessibility an important part of 2018.
Watch her keynote at NodeJS Interactive:
Liz Fong-Jones (@lizthegrey)
Liz Fong-Jones is an SRE and Dev Advocate at Google Cloud Platform, but over the last couple of years she has become an important figure within tech activism. First helping to create the NeverAgain pledge in response to the election of Donald Trump in 2016, then helping to bring to light Google’s fraught internal struggle over diversity, Fong-Jones has effectively laid the foundations for the mainstream appearance of tech activism in 2018.
In an interview with Fast Company, Fong-Jones says she has accepted her role as a spokesperson for the movement that has emerged, but she’s committed to helping to “equipping other employees to fight for change in their workplaces–whether at Google or not –so that I’m not a single point of failure.”
Ana Medina (@Ana_M_Medina)
Ana Medina is a chaos engineer at Gremlin. Since moving to the chaos engineering platform from Uber (where she was part of the class action lawsuit against the company), Medina has played an important part in explaining what chaos engineering looks like in practice all around the world.
But she is also an important voice in discussions around diversity and mental health in the tech industry – if you get a chance to her her talk, make sure you take the chance, and if you don’t, you’ve still got Twitter…
Sarah Drasner (@sarah_edo)
Sarah Drasner does everything. She’s a Developer Advocate at Microsoft, part of the VueJS core development team, organizer behind Concatenate (a free conference for Nigerian developers), as well as an author too.
Some thoughts as we carry into the new year:
– It usually takes a few tries at something to improve
– Respect is earned, not given
– You don't have do everything at once, small changes over time can add up
– Pay more attention to a person's actions then what is said about them
— Sarah Drasner (@sarah_edo) December 30, 2018
Mark Imbriaco (@markimbriaco)
Mark Imbriaco is the technical director at Epic Games. Given the company’s truly, er, epic year thanks to Fortnite, Imbriaco can offer an insight on how one of the most important and influential technology companies on the planet are thinking.
Corey Quinn (@QuinnyPig)
Corey Quinn is an AWS expert. As the brain behind the Last Week in AWS newsletter and the voice behind the Screaming in the Cloud podcast (possibly the best cloud computing podcast on the planet), he is without a doubt the go-to person if you want to know what really matters in cloud.
The range of guests that Quinn gets on the podcast is really impressive, and sums up his online persona: open, engaged, and always interesting.
Yasmine Evjen (@YasmineEvjen)
Yasmine Evjen is a Design Advocate at Google. That means that she is not only one of the minds behind Material Design, she is also someone that is helping to demonstrate the importance of human centered design around the world.
As the presenter of Centered, a web series by the Google Design team about the ways human centered design is used for a range of applications. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth a watch.
Suz Hinton (@noopkat)
Suz Hinton works on IoT programs at Microsoft. That’s interesting in itself, but when she’s not developing fully connected smart homes (possibly), Hinton also streams code tutorials on Twitch (also as noopkat).
Chris Short (@ChrisShort)
If you want to get the lowdown on all things DevOps, you could do a lot worse than Chris Short. He boasts outstanding credentials – he’s a CNCF ambassador, has experience with Red Hat and Ansible – but more importantly is the quality of his insights.
A great place to begin is with DevOpsish, a newsletter Short produces, which features some really valuable discussions on the biggest issues and talking points in the field.
Dan Abramov (@dan_abramov)
Emma Wedekind (@EmmaWedekind)
As well as working at GoTo Meeting, Emma Wedekind is the founder of Coding Coach, a platform that connects developers to mentors to help them develop new skills.
This experience makes Wedekind an important authority on developer learning. And at a time when deciding what to learn and how to do it can feel like such a challenging and complex process, surrounding yourself with people taking those issues seriously can be immensely valuable.
Jason Lengstorf (@jlengstorf)
Jason Lengstorf is a Developer Advocate at GatsbyJS (a cool project that makes it easier to build projects with React).
His writing – on Twitter and elsewhere – is incredibly good at helping you discover new ways of working and approaching problems.
Bridget Kromhout (@bridgetkromhout)
Bridget Kromhout is another essential voice in cloud and DevOps. Currently working at Microsoft as Principal Cloud Advocate, Bridget also organizes DevOps Days and presents the Arrested DevOps podcast with Matty Stratton and Trevor Hess.
Follow Bridget for her perspective on DevOps, as well as her experience in DevRel.
Ryan Burgess (@burgessdryan)
Netflix hasn’t faced the scrutiny of many of its fellow tech giants this year, which means it’s easy to forget the extent to which the company is at the cutting edge of technological innovation.
This is why it’s well worth following Ryan Burgess – as an engineering manager he’s well placed to provide an insight on how the company is evolving from a tech perspective.
His talk at Real World React on A/B testing user experiences is well worth watching:
Anil Dash (@anildash)
Okay, so chances are you probably already follow Anil Dash – he does have half a million followers already, after all – but if you don’t follow him, you most definitely should.
Dash is a key figure in new media and digital culture, but he’s not just another thought leader, he’s someone that actually understands what it takes to actually build this stuff. As CEO of Glitch, a platform for building (and ‘remixing’) cool apps, he’s having an impact on the way developers work and collaborate.
6 years ago, Dash wrote an essay called ‘The Web We Lost‘. In it, he laments how the web was becoming colonized by a handful of companies who built the key platforms on which we communicate and engage with one another online. Today, after a year of protest and controversy, Dash’s argument is as salient as ever – it’s one of the reasons it’s vital that we listen to him.
Jessie Frazelle (@jessfraz)
Jessie Frazelle is a bit of a superstar. Which shouldn’t really be that surprising – she’s someone that seems to have a natural ability to pull things apart and put them back together again and have the most fun imaginable while doing it.
Formerly part of the core Docker team, Frazelle now works at GitHub, where her knowledge and expertise is helping to develop the next Microsoft-tinged chapter in GitHub’s history.
I was lucky enough to see Jessie speak at ChaosConf in September – check out her talk:
Rachel Coldicutt (@rachelcoldicutt)
Rachel Coldicutt is the CEO of Doteveryone, a think tank based in the U.K. that champions responsible tech. If you’re interested in how technology interacts with other aspects of society and culture, as well as how it is impacting and being impacted by policymakers, Coldicutt is a vital person to follow.
Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower)
Kelsey Hightower is another superstar in the tech world – when he talks, you need to listen. Hightower currently works at Google Cloud, but he spends a lot of time at conferences evangelizing for more effective cloud native development.
But most of all he nailed the human element. And reminded us of the big picture. A brilliant storyteller.
— Matt Rickard (@mattrickard) December 13, 2018
If you’re interested in anything infrastructure or cloud related, you need to follow Kelsey Hightower.
Who did I miss?
That’s just a list of a few people in tech I think you should follow in 2019 – but who did I miss? Which accounts are essential? What podcasts and newsletters should we subscribe to?