Developer Relations Meet the Developer: Introducing Mahsa “Always Improving” Hassankashi
What about the developer?
Have you ever wondered about the developer experience of your advertising? If you are marketing to developers, you absolutely should. Our goal with the “Meet the Developer” series is to give you— the marketer—insight into individual developers. Meet the people behind the code and learn about how they experience the advertising and content you are throwing at them.
I had the great pleasure of speaking with Mahsa Hassankashi. Mahsa has earned a Master of Computer Science degree, but she is looking for a Ph.D. position. Throughout her career, she has relied on the developer community to accelerate her learning. That’s why she gives back and writes for developer-to-developer (D2D) communities like CodeProject. Here’s what Mahsa had to say about herself, D2D communities, and her experience with advertising and content directed at developers.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Mahsa. I began working as a developer 15 years ago. I suffered with MS DOS, but little by little, I became attracted to computer programming. When I started, I didn’t want to be a developer. I loved mathematics. But, over time, I learned I had some talent for programming. I finished my bachelor’s degree in computer science in Tehran, then emigrated to Norway for my master’s degree, and then I moved to Germany. I worked about two years in Berlin. Then, I looked for a Ph.D. position in Germany to leverage my knowledge in development to apply it to data science. I came back to Iran, and I am now searching for a Ph.D. position to study data science—so I am in Tehran now while I look for a position.
I am a web application developer, specializing in distributed applications. I’ve worked on a wide variety of applications, including Windows applications, web applications, and distributed applications.
Why do you write for developer communities?
I really love CodeProject. I like CodeProject content because it is so helpful to me, especially as a student. So now, I also contribute. I’ve written 20 to 25 articles, and I like that many people around the world like my simple articles. It is a pleasure to write them.
When I was young, I wasn’t much of a professional developer. Whenever I searched a term in Google, I saw CodeProject, and I saw that their articles could help me make good Gantt charts and other elements for my applications. Because CodeProject helped me, I promised myself that if I had a good idea about anything I do as a professional that I would give back to this community.
Beyond that, little by little, I found CodeProject gave me a good feeling, because other developers commented on my articles. Now I understand where my strong points are, and I can improve my weak points. Because of comments from the developer community, I can improve the quality of my articles.
What is the newest tech you are using, learning, excited about, curious about, and why?
What I am most curious about is the bridge between programming and engineering, and that is the Internet of Things (IoT). I want to learn more. I often write code in C# and C++, but I would really like to create a hybrid and combination of the languages for web applications, and what is needed for IoT.
I am also interested in machine learning and deep learning technologies.
Where do you go for info about developer tools?
I like CodeProject! I love new information about coding more simply and easily. If a third party has prepared a package that helps me develop more easily, I want to know about it!! I find what I need on CodeProject most of the time.
What ads for developer tools and services attract you?
Banner ads attract me. They should have a message that tells me that the product will make it easy to write code, or that the product has something that makes it easy to install, or that there are applications to make usable code. I want products that give me a more comfortable developing experience.
If you are interested in a product or service because of an ad, do you click on the ad or search the product/advertiser you see in the ad on a separate browser instance?
It depends on how compelling the advertisement is. If it has keywords I have been searching, or can simplify my developing workflow, then I click on it. Sometimes I search for ads when I’ve been involved in a subject, but when I see an advertisement with keywords that are on my mind, I click on it.
How do you feel when you visit content or another site you are interested in based on advertising, only to find that you have to give a phone number to get what is offered?
Usually the ads I click on just ask for my email. If the company is offering good tools, and I’ve had a good experience with them already, I don’t mind. If I don’t know the company, I don’t like to give my phone number. If I know and trust the company, it’s OK.
Same as above – except about when you are asked for a credit card?
Honestly speaking, if we’re talking about 30 or 40 days’ usage time, I don’t think it makes sense for me to share credit card information for a trial. I don’t have a good feeling about credit card requests in those cases.
What makes you bounce? Meaning—At what point do you navigate away when you visit content or a tool trial that you want, but you encounter a lot of requests for personal information? Email? Name? Phone number? Credit card? Other?
I’m really interested in simplicity. Just ask me for a name and mobile number and company, or a name and email. That’s enough. If they ask me for more, it’s just too complicated. I’m not afraid of sharing information—I just want simplicity. I don’t have time [to enter more information]. I don’t want to stay too long on a page, or wait for verification emails. If I’m not very familiar with a company, that takes [up] a lot of my time. When it’s complex, I’m not interested.
Once you’ve been asked for a lot of personal information in order to take advantage of an offer, how do you feel about that brand or product?
It really depends on the company. If they offer unique services, if I know the company already, and I have a recommendation for that company or product, I can take the time to give them information—No problem. If it helps me with my programming ecosystem, I can take extra time. If I’ve heard about the company or product and it has a good reputation, I can be patient. But if I don’t know about that brand, and I’ve just clicked on an advertisement and they ask for a lot of information, then [it’s a] no. Why do I have to share a lot of my personal information if it’s not necessary in my development life? I won’t really think about that brand or product again unless someone else recommends it to me—Then, I might go back.
Have you ever found a technology and purchased it based on an ad run in your developer community? Why or why not?
I haven’t purchased something advertised on CodeProject, because as a developer, I just use the trial. If it works well, then I recommend it to my boss, and my boss buys it. I am not directly responsible for purchases. Personally, I have purchased products directly from companies that have introduced me to tools at conferences.
When have you recommended something from a CP ad, and why did you do it?
First, because I saw that the product could decrease development time, make coding easier, and provide good visualization—and that makes the development environment more secure. Essentially, the product’s features influenced my recommendation.
The second reason is that the offer allowed me to try it. I prefer to test all products. I also read about the product. The content can convince me that it has good features and benefits, but before I recommend the product, I use it in a test project. It’s way more tangible for me. I want to have a good practical experience before I tell my boss, “Yes, you should buy this.”