When we launched Clarifai Champions earlier this year, our goal was to help developers master developer evangelism skills like technical communication, community building, API skills, public speaking, and many others. Well, the program turned out to be a massively rewarding experience for everyone involved – most of all, us! Read on for the 2016 recap and how to be a part of next year’s class of Champions!

Back in January, I posted about our new initiative, Clarifai Champions!  It was designed to be a project-based online course and mentorship program designed to help developers master developer evangelism skills like technical communication, community building, API skills, public speaking, and many others. 

After selecting our first batch of stellar Champions earlier this year, our program was in full swing!  We ran lectures every few weeks talking about building technical demos, public speaking, technical writing, and event planning and mentorship.  

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The Champions pushed out some awesome projects, like a Clarifai Ruby client, an app that got songs based on images, a Clarifai Chrome omnibox extension, and a bunch of great PRs to open source projects.

They also gave talks literally around the world, from the USA to the UK to Ukraine (and also other countries that don’t start with the letter U).  They submitted papers and abstracts to conferences, and also refined their own professional bios to use at events.  The events they threw were so fun to witness.  They educated their communities not only about Clarifai technology but also other cutting-edge technologies, ideas, and concepts.

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For the writing segment, their writing projects were fascinating and educational, from posts about building online communities to building applications with certain technologies to learning about specific algorithms.

image01As for me, I feel like I learned so much more than I taught with this program.  One of Clarifai’s core values is Community, and this program is proof of the power of that.  During our weekly office hours I got to know more about these wonderful people from around the country and the world; how they think, how they learn, and how they communicate.  Seeing them grow with each project, build relationships with each other, and seeing them educate and help each other has been probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my career thus far.  The people in this program have gone on to get jobs as developer evangelists, internships and full-time jobs in new companies, and have moved on to (even) higher education, and I’m so proud of each and every one of them.

We asked what the Champions thought of the program, and got some really fun feedback.

“THANK YOU. I couldn’t express my gratitude enough for the existence of this program. I’ve made new good friends, I’ve grown so much and am more confident in my skills. You are the best, thanks for the love.”

“I really loved the program and meeting others in the program. I liked how much support was provided to us and thought the feedback was super useful. For anyone wanting to be a Dev evangelist, this is a great opportunity to make connections and learn vital skills. I also appreciate the sharing of opportunities with us!”

“The skills that I learned from Champions Program is not only applicable to students aspiring to be a technical evangelist, but it also helps developers improve their online & offline presence tremendously. All the people involved in the program has been superstars in their own fields, and it was really neat to meet some of them in real life! It’s kinda hard to stop writing about how awesome this program was, but the most important takeaway for me was that the program helped me a head start on how to build your own brand after college, especially since it’s hard to imagine life after school when you’re student.”

So, what now?  Well, obviously, we’re going to do the Champions program again!  We’ll be putting out applications for the next batch of Champs in August.  Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss it!

And, without further ado, your Clarifai Champions class of 2016:

Want to be a part of the next batch of Champions?  We’ll put out a blog post announcing the new applications later this summer.  Subscribe to this blog to keep up to date!