Bruno Terkaly, Developer Evangelist
My name is Bruno Terkaly and I am a Developer Evangelist in Northern California.
Over the past few months I have been presenting a wide variety of demos and
slides highlighting the wealth of new features in Visual Studio 2008.
You can take a look at my résumé here.
No better way to learn - Writing the Code
My commitment to my audience is that they can do what I do when I am on stage at
a launch event. Well, let me be more clear – I don’t expect my audience to demo
the software, but I do expect them to be able to repeat everything I do and
understand it. That’s why I’ve worked hard to create videos of everything I
demo. In some ways, videos are better than books or even live lectures. The
reason videos are such great learning tools are that you see exactly what the
presenter did, step by step, never missing a beat. Humans are visually oriented
so videos make a lot of sense. Plus, videos can be paused, rewound, and played
over and over until the steps can be followed by the student.
Bruno Terkaly, Developer Evangelist, Former PFE
I am a former “Rapid Response Engineer.” The new term is “Premier Field Engineer
(PFE).” Whatever you call it, you are customer facing and you are very deep
technically. PFEs are deployed to customer sites across the EMEA region when
there is a critical situation. You are expected to have excellent
troubleshooting skills and the ability to manage the customer during an
extremely critical time. PFE's will work closely with other engineers to ensure
the customer’s environment is brought back to a stable state quickly. Within the
space of field engineering there are several sub-disciplines:
I was a Developer Field Engineer. Developer Field Engineers
typically do the following:
What do you like most about your work / being a developer?
Being a developer allows me to solve problems and save money for companies of any
size. It is exciting to look at something inefficient and then turn it around
with some well engineered software solutions. Serious business.
Not just about being geeky
Most people don’t realize that software is just not an excuse for geeks to write
code. I have been involved with medical applications that are involved in life
and death decisions – like an application that tracks organ donors and potential
recipients. I’ve been involved in debugging financial applications where tens of
millions of dollars are being electronically traded.
My job allows me to directly help MicrosofMy job allows me to directly help
Microsoft end users. I find that very rewarding. I get emails from attendees
stating that they really enjoyed my presentations, asking for my slides and my
code. I’ve been a developer and trainer for a long time. It really excites me
when someone attends my presentations and writes me to tell me that it was a
valuable use of their time.
What's been your toughest / most interesting challenge to date?
As stated previously, prior to becoming an evangelist, I worked in Premier Field
engineering. That means I got called in to assist with the tough jobs, when
in-house staff could not solve the problem. I felt like James Bond on a secret
mission, flying in during the dark of night, driving to some destination,
possibly some data center, perhaps on Wall Street or some obscure facility in
the middle of Ohio or Jersey, guided by GPS devices. Ok, maybe I'm not James
Bond saving the world from evil, but I do feel I provided great value as a
problem solver, instructor, advisor.
Managing Emotional Situations
Field engineering requires a strong character as you face customers in dire
situations, when emotions are high and careers and money are on the line. I’ve
been involved in applications with brokerages where downtime meant lawsuits and
millions of lost dollars.
Exciting Travel Experiences
I’ve flown to numerous countries in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Canada. I’ve
taught in Nuclear Power Plants. I’ve pulled all nighters installing more memory
in computes in remote locations in Costa Rica. I’ve been squeezed into a
Japanese commuter trains. I’ve been in 20 below zero temperatures in Calgary
Canada, where your teeth hurt when you breath. I’ve been 118 degree weather in
Phoenix. I’ve had a Korean taxi driver challenge a Korean bus driver to fight in
the middle of the street. I’ve eaten insects in Mexico, kimchi for breakfast in
Korea. I’ve eaten alongside sumo wrestlers in Japan.
Alternate Dream Career
Fixing problems in high pressure situations is exciting. It feels good to help a
person or company solve issues. One profession I really respect is emergency
room medicine. The challenge of using your knowledge and reasoning skills to
save lives is remarkable. It would take a pretty extreme scenario in computing
where you make life and death decisions. Emergency room doctors do it often and
it takes a special person to do that.
I think Anders Hejlsberg impresses me quite a bit. Anders is a technical fellow
at Microsoft and he and his team desinged and built the C# language.
Amazing Technologist / Great Communicator
I find it fascinating that you can be a highly distinguished engineer and still
be very conversant and thoughtful, that you can invent programming languages and
compilers that millions of developers use. Anders is quite unique in that he can
communicate at the appropriate level of his audience, giving honest answers with
a sense of humor.
What traits / quirks / personal passions do you bring to your role as an
I bring a great deal of problem solving and development experience to my
presentations. My goal is to educate and motivate while still having fun. I am a
huge fan of standup comedy and attempt to make my audiences laugh but give them
real value during presentations.
Real World Experience
I bring real world life experience from field engineering, where it is important
to think about performance and diagnostics. I’ve worked at the Microsoft labs
where large companies come to test their applications and see how they perform
under heavy load. I’ve taught advanced .net debugging, where we try to determine
why applications crash, run slowly, or use too much memory. I’ve conducted
architectural reviews, helping customers design their software better.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
For the most part, I am self taught. I actually have a finance and accounting
degree from UC Berkeley and worked in finance for quite some time as a money
manager. My interest in computing originated from the days of developing
financial models to construct high return, low risk portfolios of stocks and
Books, Books, and More Books
But I have a massive collection of Computer Science books. I have studied
algorithms, compiler and language design, and various other classic computer
I am an avid thrill seeker, riding motocross in the Sierra foothills, Harleys to
Hoover Dam, streetbikes in wine country. I have skied in blizzards at Squaw
Valley, boogie boarded in huge surf in Hawaii, rock climbed in Yosemite. I am
older and wiser now so now it is about taking calculated risks.