Members of the Great Expectations community have started seeing a new face around: Josh Zheng, GX’s new director of developer relations. Josh’s vision for the GX community stems from experience in open source, data engineering, and developer engagement.
“Open source in general has been one of the most powerful sources for innovation in software over the past decades,” Josh said. “What I love about it is the collaborative aspects. The ethos of open source, around community and collaboration, that’s always really resonated with me.”
Josh is looking forward to building on the foundation of GX’s open source community, one of its biggest strengths.
“I love that we already have a lot of passionate users in the community,” he said. “I’m looking forward to building more meaningful relationships with them, improving their experience within the community, and investing more in various ways to help the community grow.”
While the active community was a huge plus, Josh was also drawn to GX because of its position in the industry and the culture it promotes.
“Data engineering as a discipline is fast-growing, and there’s still a lot of opportunity to define it as an industry and a discipline,” he said. “GX itself is at the fast-growing startup stage, which is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of. And then I really enjoyed talking to the leadership team and everyone during the interview process. This is the exact kind of people with the kinds of values that I want to work with.”
Values were particularly important to Josh because of his overall vision for the role data and ML will play in society.
“I believe that the real goal with data and ML is to benefit humanity, but in the past few years we’ve seen multiple examples of ML models that turned out to be biased,” he said. “What we mean by high-quality data needs to be more than just whether rows and columns are filled out; it has to include values like fairness and inclusion. GX as a company can directly make an impact on that.”
Josh has been engaged with open source from his very first days coding, he said, when open source libraries, languages, and lessons helped him get started.
That relationship continued into his professional career: while at IBM, Josh built strategies to integrate IBM products with open source technologies including KubeFlow, Jupyter, and Trustworthy AI. He also implemented programs that helped internal teams at IBM adopt open source technologies in their own work and encouraged IBM team members to contribute to open source.
“Open source and developer relations have a lot of overlap,” Josh said. “There’s a lot of community-building and engaging the developer audience. We identified open source projects that were foundational to our offerings and how we could contribute to those projects. We’d then work with the community alongside organizations like the Linux Foundation and the Linux AI Foundation.”
Josh has worked extensively with AI; his six years at IBM were in largely AI-oriented roles, including work with IBM Watson. That experience is how Josh became aware of data quality’s potential and its priority.
“Having been in ML for a number of years, I noticed that the biggest hurdle to developing good machine learning products was data quality,” Josh said. “ML products often struggle to get enough high-quality data to train the models. What we’re doing at GX is directly contributing to solving that problem.”
Josh lives in San Francisco. When not working, he stays active by playing basketball and soccer; he can also often be found attending live music. His growing passion for scuba diving recently took him on a thirteen-day dive trip to Indonesia, where he saw a huge array of exciting marine life, including oceanic manta rays and walking sharks.
If you’ve ever used GX or participated in the GX community, Josh wants to talk about your experience! Send him a message in the GX Slack: @Josh Zheng.