10 GitHub Influencers worth following

date: 28 January 2020
reading time: 11 min

GitHub is an online platform that has been designed for software developers. The platform allows developers to host their programs and software on the GitHub cloud so that they can be sold on the marketplace.

However, there are plenty of additional features, including code review, project management, integrations, security, and more.

Worth over $7 million (2018), GitHub should not be ignored by companies throughout the world, especially those focusing on software development. Since its launch in 2008, developers have worked alongside multinational corporations, sharing their expertise and helping drive companies forward.

If you are a software development company and you haven’t engaged with some of the expert influencers on GitHub yet, now is the time. Influencers on GitHub specialise in a vast array of software languages including PHP, HTML, JavaScript and Ruby. This article is going to have a look at 10 of the most influential GitHub developers and once you read their mini-biography, you’ll definitely be interested in working with them on your next project.

1. Marco Pivetta, Germany

Marco Pivetta is the number one contributor on GitHub. Known online by his alias ‘Ocramius’, Marco is an expert software developer who is currently based in Frankfurt, Germany. He is currently working for Roave, a web development company that is made up of some of the best developers around the globe. In fact, Roave describes themselves as “a hand-picked team of some of the most talented developers in the PHP community.”

Marco is part of the Doctrine Team – the organisation behind the established Doctrine 2 Object Relational Mapper. He describes his responsibilities as being revolved around multiple open-source PHP ventures. Most commonly, his work involves being paid to focus on “backend PHP application architecture”.

If you get a chance, follow Ocramius on Twitter. Whilst a great way to understand the professional side of Marco, he also shares ideas, thoughts and in his own words, “silly things” that he comes across. You are sure to be entertained.

Ocramius is the number one contributor on GitHub so if you are interested in working with him, it is worth planning ahead as he is likely to be in very high demand!

2. Taylor Otwell, USA

Taylor Otwell is one of the biggest contributors on GitHub and he has a wonderful track record of software development. In 2011, Taylor founded Laravel, an online tool that is a free “PHP framework for web artisans” and it can help organisations build reliable and trustworthy web applications.

Remarkably, before getting involved in PHP software development, Taylor Otwell didn’t really have any interest in computers. In an interesting interview with him, Taylor says that “PHP (and a cheap laptop) changed” his life!

Since day one, Laravel has released multiple updates for its users. And, the source code of Laravel is on GitHub.

Despite not being updated for over a year, Taylor has a blog on Medium which has some interesting articles – both of a professional nature and a more laid-back summary of his working environment. Also, with an impressive follower count of over 83,000, you can follow Taylor on Twitter.

3. Graham Campbell, United Kingdom

Graham Campbell is a top 5 contributor on GitHub. Towards the beginning of his professional career, Graham has graduated from the University of York with a first-class degree (distinction) in Computer Science and Mathematics. He is currently undertaking a PHD at the University of Newcastle, studying Pure Mathematics – good luck Graham!

Graham is part of the Laravel Framework. However, he also has involvement with the ongoing maintenance of PHP and Laravel packages on GitHub. These include GrahamCampbell, vlucas, thephpleague, php-build, CachetHQ, StyleCI, ClassPreloader, laravel-auto-presenter, AltThree, and BitbucketAPI.

Amazingly, software developed by Graham (under the graham-campbell namespace) has been downloaded over 8 and a half million times on GitHub. On Graham’s official website, he also mentions that his “co-maintained vlucas/phpdotenv package has had over 75 million downloads so far!”

You can follow Graham on Twitter and join his 6,000 strong number of followers.

4. Sebastian McKenzie, United Kingdom

Sebastian McKenzie doesn’t appear to have his own official website. However, this hasn’t stopped us from finding out some really interesting facts about him. Not only does Sebastian now work for one of the largest companies in the world, he also created a really awesome tool when in higher education. We’ll explain all.

Now residing in London, England, Sebastian grew up in Australia where he learned about JavaScript and computer programming whilst in high school. Sebastian then went on to develop Babel – a well renown npm package that helps you compile next-generation JavaScript.

For the more computer programming minded people out there, “Babel is a toolchain that is mainly used to convert ECMAScript 2015+ code into a backwards compatible version of JavaScript in current and older browsers or environments.”

Since creating Babel, Sebastian worked at Cloudflare for three months. Now, he has now gone on to work for Facebook as a JavaScript expert. You can keep up to date with his professional thoughts by following him on Twitter.

5. Thibault Duplessis, France

Another software developer who is a top ten contributor on GitHub is Thibault Duplessis. Whilst it is difficult to find out what he is up to on a day to day basis because of an absence of a website, but he is the creator of a fantastic internet game. Behind this game is some astonishing programming.

Thibault is the developer of Lichness – a brilliant online chess platform that allows players around the world to play competitive chess. According to Chess Links, Lichness is the second most popular Chess program in the world and is only topped by the famous Chess.com.

Quite astonishingly, Lichness is programmed to use artificial inelegance to analyse a gamers performance – should you require this extra service. And since 2017, there have been regular championships where players can win impressive amounts of cash.

It is worth noting that Thibault has confirmed he always intends to make Lichness available for free and the business is not-for-profit. Despite not looking to make a load of cash, Lichness also offers extra features for visually impaired chess players – the first software of its kind to do so.

If you would like to follow the thoughts of Thibault Duplessis and the latest Lichness developments, you can find his Twitter profile here. Twitter is a good way to keep up to speed because Thibault does not clarify his current location, meaning he appears to have the travel bug and likes to move around.

6. Konstantin Haase, Germany

Konstantin Haase is a well-established Open Source developer. Since 2005, Konstantin has adopted Ruby as his specialist programming language and you’ll struggle to find anyone with a greater knowledge and track record.

He currently has his finger in many pies and has an impressive portfolio. This includes major roles at software development and delivery companies. Right now, he is the Director of Engineering at scoutbee – an artificial intelligence suite that is designed to help big players in the business world find the very best programmers out there. scoutbee has recently made it into the New York Times because the business has secured $60 million from venture capital benefactors. Impressively, these backers include Next 47 (Siemens investment), Atomico and Lakestar.

Konstantin is also a co-founder of Travis CI – a leading delivery service for GitHub projects. In fact, Travis CI is a major player and is used by businesses such as Moz and Zendesk.

With an 8,000 strong following on Twitter, Konstantin is a frequent Tweeter and covers all things ‘Open Source and programming’. He is well worth a follow.

7. Hadley Wickham, USA

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Hadley Wickham is a very active member on GitHub and a very talented individual. He is currently based Houston, Texas and is the Chief Scientist at RStudio.

R is an “open source statistical language” that is used to “to make sense of data”. The organisation created open tools for R and finished products that are ready to universal businesses to “scale and share work”.

Hadley explains on his website that you can basically divide his work into three categories: data science tools (ggplot2, dplyr, tidyr, stringr, lubridate), tools for data importing (readr, readxl, haven, httr, rvest, xml2) and tools for software engineering (devtools, roxygen2, testthat, pkgdown).

As well as working at RStudio, Hadley Wickham is also a lecturer at Rice Universityin Texas where he is an Adjunct Professor of Statistics.

If you’re reading this, you probably have a hunger for programming and complex software. However, on Hadley’s personal website, he also shares his family recipes – something for you to sink your teeth into! He admits that he is an avid cook and maker of cocktails.

8. Samy Pesse, France

Samy Pesse is a GitHub influencer from Lyon, France. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at GitBook – a company that he co-founded in 2014. GitBook is based in his hometown – Lyon.

GitBook is an Open Source instrument that was created to assist developers with the production of documentation. Founded back in 2014, the business has grown rapidly and now boasts over 500,000 users, 150,000 spaces and 20 million monthly visitors. The GitBook team has now grown to 13 employees and the official website is well worth checking out for their quirky photographs. Samy can be spotted with a Nerf Gun – a fun addition to any workspace! They certainly look like a close-knit team and the environment looks really positive. 

Before GitBook, Samy co-founded Codebox, a cloud based Integrated Development Environment (IDE). In 2015, Codebox was purchased by Corvisa.

Judging by his Twitter, Samy is a proud Frenchman and a keen football fan!

9. Monica Dinculescu, USA

On GitHub, Monica describes herself as “your favourite developer’s favourite developer”. She is very active on the platform with over 5,000 followers and she has contributed over 700 times in the last year.

Monica Dinculescu works at Google where she specialises in emojis. Her job title is an Emojineer. What a fun job and as you would expect, her Twitter profile is not short of an emoji or two!

In her role, Monica works with Magenta – “an open source research project exploring the role of machine learning as a tool in the creative process.”

Previously, Monica worked with Polymer and was “a big advocate for Web Components.” The Polymer Project is a mission that is aimed to help software developers reach their potential when working with the web (and the Polymer Project consists of frontend Chrome Developers).

Monica is the proud creator of a really impressive and fun tool that translates text into emojis – the Emoji Bot (@to_emoji). Check it out and see for yourself!

10. Jose Valim, Poland

The final GitHub influencer and programming professional we are going to look at is Jose Valim. Based in Krakow, Poland, Jose is an expert in Elixir programming language. Actually, the word expert is an understatement because Jose Valim was the founder of the programming language!

To create Elixir, Jose used the best parts of Ruby, Erlang, and Clojure to create a programming language that was superior in his eyes. Honeypot made a documentary on Elixir in 2018 and it is worth a watch.

Currently, Jose is the Chief Adoption Officer (CAO) at Dashbit – a team of experts who are ready to work with organisations to achieve their software programming objectives. As part of the Dashbit experience, organisations can gain access to the brains of the founders to ensure their aims are met to the highest standards. This is reiterated on the Dashbit website: “At Dashbit, we help startups and enterprises adopt and run Elixir in production”.

Previous work saw Jose working at Plataformatec – a consultancy (software) firm working with Elixir and Ruby.

It goes without saying, if you are interested in working with Elixir experts – Dashbit should be the first people you contact. Why? Because of a proven track record and the fact that the founder of Elixir works there!

Conclusion

Above are some of the most influential developers and contributors on GitHub. As you will have learnt from reaching their mini-biographies, these professionals would be able to offer unrivalled support to software development companies around the globe and using their software could improve efficiency and performance within an establishment. Engaging with GitHub influencers could help organisations drive forward in their marketplace and develop new, innovative software that makes them stand out from the others.

Some of the programs that GitHub influencers have created are available to you now and free of charge. Maybe using such a tool could help kick start a project that is on the horizon? Whilst the programming specialities of GitHub users varies, this article proves that top contributors on GitHub have some unrivalled skills that can result in new and innovative software. It is worth engaging with the likes of the above if you represent a firm that is serious about software development.

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