Story of XR Enabler and Microsoft MVP Joost van Schaik
Published Feb 08 2024 12:00 AM 1,552 Views
Microsoft

Joost van Schaik, a Mixed Reality and Windows Development MVP from the Netherlands, has been selected as one of the 17 XR Enablers in the XR Bootcamp community's Top minds of XR award.

 

For the selection criteria and details about the actual solutions that led to this award, you can refer to this page. In this blog, we have Joost share his insights about his regular community activities and career and provide a message to community members. We present his story in his own words.

LOCAL JOOST image.jpg

 

Please provide a detailed summary of your involvement in community activities.

The bulk of my community activities are the articles I blog. For over 15 years I have been blogging about various technologies, the last 7 years mainly about Mixed Reality, but also supporting technologies like Azure functions, computer vision, etc. I usually solve some complex problem, then turn that into fully working sample project showing all the nuts and bolt and write an explanatory blog. My goal is to even enable beginners make use of advanced MR technologies, without necessarily having to dive deep into the nuts and bolts. I believe that raising the water floats all boats, and if we get more cool MR applications showing off capabilities, this will make the field shine even more and increase opportunities. As some of my articles having turned into de facto standards of solving particular problems, I think the blog serves its purpose in that way pretty nicely. Lately I have been getting a lot of questions from quite some developers from all over the word, who found me online using either LinkedIn, Discord, email or whatever - and I have been mentoring and helping said developers on an individual basis. Some are small business owners, some regular developers, but there are also a lot of PhD students. Help varies from answering simple questions and sending links with helpful information, to full-blown code reviews and even diving into repos, up to actually debugging code to see where people got wrong or stuck. It takes a lot of time, and sometimes I think I am a bit nuts, but I really love seeing those developers becoming very happy and going off into a new dawn of an MR career. I do hope they remember getting a small leg up, and that they will be doing the same to others when the time comes, they are the ones getting questions:smile: Lastly, I very occasionally do a talk, but that is pretty rare, actually.

 

Please share your journey about how you embarked on your career as a developer.

My career spans over 3 decades now. From the age of 14, I knew I wanted to be a ‘programmer’. After my first run-in with a computer at school, I scraped together all my newspaper round and pocket money and got my very first computer. A Commodore 64. In 1985. Yeah, I am not a Spring Chicken anymore:smile: From then on, I was laser focused. I graduated my CSC studies in 1992, I started out as a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) developer and worked in that field for 23 years at various companies. You can still see that legacy till today, as most of my showcase apps in various stores do or did something with maps or geographical data. In 2015 I went into mobile development, and – being a Microsoft MVP since 2011 – I got to visit the MVP Summit in Redmond – at the actual Microsoft HQ. At one of those Summits, in late 2016, I was told I would get half an hour quality time with a new device called “HoloLens”. I was hooked, started to pivot my career, and apparently became one of the 17 XR top enablers of the world. Well, and this is where I am now.

 

What were your initial reactions and feelings upon learning that you had been awarded this honor?

My initial feeling on receiving this honor was actual total amazement. I was like – who are all those people who nominated me? I recognized a few names, but I had no idea who they all were. Apparently, my relentless blogging struck a chord at a lot of people. I mean, I can see my blog is accessed by a fair number of people, and I knew it had some impact on the MR community – but not that big. I am still amazed, to be honest. And happy. But much more amazed.

MVP Joost van Schaik.jpg

 

Here is his message which is highly valuable not only to XR developers worldwide but also to everyone who loves technology. As a Microsoft MVP and one of the 17 XR Enablers, Joost highlights a wonderful community ecosystem where you not only learn something but also share that learning with others, and similarly, learn from the ideas of others, aiming for mutual growth and development.

 

“I really want to encourage people to follow my example. Please, please if you have found something out, and it’s not proprietary code: blog an example. Or just put out a GitHub repo. It helps your community as a whole. And don’t think “I am just a beginner” because a fresh perspective can give new ideas. I have been corrected by developers fresh out of college who learned something new, and I didn’t know that yet. In a way, I am a kind of teacher, and the way I see it - the biggest honor a students can bequest on a teacher is actually improving that what they were taught.

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