Conjure an image of a developer into your mind’s eye — it might be a man, hunched over a laptop, half-empty bottles of Mountain Dew and half-eaten bags of Doritos on the desk. But, think again. Thankfully, developers these days could be anyone, from any background.
This Best of the Best list, presented by Finecast, part of GroupM Nexus, is designed to celebrate that diversity of background and talent. The advertising and marketing industries have never been more reliant on technology and it is only right that the people on this list are recognised for their work.
Though, there is a caveat. Pulling together this list was challenging. Many organisations outsource their development work to other locales across the APAC region where labour is cheaper — understandable from an accounting perspective but it means that Australia is somewhat lacking in the technical skills that we will need as a nation in the coming years.
Anyway, every week on B&T, we’re rounding up the best people in a range of disciplines across adland. Last week we had industry association chiefs (revisit that one HERE) and the week prior it was adland’s invaluable mentors (read that HERE). But, without further ado, here are the Best of the Best developers.
10. Craig Charlton, lead solutions architect, Magnite
Charlton has been with Magnite for almost four years, joining after the Rubicon Project and Telaria merger in February 2020. Now, he heads up the solutions architecture work across APAC for the sell-side exchange platform. Prior to this, he spent some seven years at Flashtalking and has been a key figure in Magnite’s growth over the years. Largely working behind the scenes, Charlton’s work and knowledge are absolutely essential to Magnite and its continued growth.
9. Shanaka Katugampala, senior full stack developer, Think HQ
Katugampala has been with Think HQ for nearly seven years and has become a n integral part of the team, creating engaging visual websites for clients including the Social Research Centre, Worksafe, Lumin and the Transport Accident Commission. He has also worked extensively with the Scanlon Foundation, developing both a purpose-built microsite to house the findings of its 2018 Mapping Social Cohesion report and creating an animated ebook to showcase its “All of Us” photography and video exhibition which was a celebration of our multicultural diversity.
8. Neil Anderson, solutions sales specialist APAC, DoubleVerify
Anderson joined DoubleVerify three years ago to bring his extensive adtech experience to the company. While his job title says sales, it belies his technical abilities. Anderson works with clients to manage discussions, testing and the troubleshooting of DoubleVerify’s solutions. With more than fifteen years of experience in the adtech landscape across the ANZ region having spent time with Google/DoubleClick, neo@Ogilvy, Lotame and Brandscreen, DoubleVerify has stood itself in very good stead with Anderson as part of the team.
7. Charles Pham, director of customer engineering APAC, impact.com
Pham was a nominee for the Technologist category in B&T‘s inaugural Best of the Best list in 2021. While he didn’t scoop the gong that year, we have it on very good authority that he has gone on to even bigger and better things in the past 24 months. Pham joined impact.com back in 2017 as an enterprise solutions architect. His rapid ascent through the ranks of the business, moving into an APAC role in November 2020, is a better marker than almost any other endorsement.
6. John Jee, head of digital technology, Paramount ANZ
Jee joined Paramount (when it was still called Network Ten) back in 2016 and has been responsible for driving technical strategy and execution across 10 Play. Jee led 10 Play’s unified platform development in 2020 and focused on creating premium, non-intrusive ad product integration for clients and viewers. Having spent more than a decade adtech, Jee has championed unique and engaging ad products to support sales and maximise 10 Play’s offering. Despite being one of the big bosses, however, he’s always ready to lend a hand or an ear to the rest of the company.
5. Ian Grant, head of technology delivery, oOh!media
Grant was recommended to us as “something of a tech superstar”. That’s a big recommendation but, considering that he has been the driving force behind oOh!’s content delivery initiatives, such as the real-time displaying of AFL Grand Final and Australian Open Scores across its network, it certainly fits. Without Grant and his leadership, oOh!’s transition to a programmatic-first Out-of-Home company would be nigh on impossible.
4. Puravin Sivaganam, head of engineering, Playground XYZ
Sivagnam took home the Developer gong at last year’s Best of the Best Awards. This year’s fourth-place finish does not mean that his work has worsened, just that the competition is tougher than ever. Last July, Sivaganam was promoted to become Playground XYZ’s head of engineering across the whole of the APAC region and the firm is certainly better for it. He leads a talented and dedicated engineering team at the firm who are helping to push the adtech and advertising sciences industry forward at a remarkable pace.
3. Cassie Jordan, head of delivery, Woolworths Group
Jordan scooped the Delivery gong at this year’s Women Leading Tech Awards bonanza and was a very deserving winner indeed. Working as the head of delivery at wiq, the advanced analytics collaboration between Woolworths Group & Quantium, Jordan has had a helluva job on her hands harmonising and integrating the two businesses. Responsible for the staffing and placements of more than 500 data professionals across disciplines such as data science, analytics, insights, engineering, machine learning, strategy, and product and design, Jordan’s task is unenviable but she carries it off with aplomb.
2. Adam Coates, managing director, data science & customer solutions engineering Asia Pacific, Google
Coates has spent nigh on 17 years at Google, starting out as a senior sales engineer way back in 2006. We’re sure he’ll appreciate us reminding you of that, as well. Since then, he’s rocketed up the ranks and took on his current role in November 2020. With his vast experience and leadership in adtech, online measurement, and analytics Google continues to go from strength to strength. His team work with some of the most important businesses within APAC and deliver brilliant products time after time.
1. Azadeh Khojandi, senior engineering manager, The Trade Desk
Khojandi took home the Tech category gong at this year’s B&T Women in Media Awards and deservedly so. She joined the company in 2021 and has been a pivotal factor in the business’ growth and was promoted into her current role in April. However, this belies her inspiring story. She fled her native Iran 13 years ago after facing systematic and systemic discrimination because she was a woman and even state-mandated violence during protests about women’s rights. During her work at The Trade Desk, she has spearheaded the creation of the “Women in TTD” internal network that helps its female employees develop the soft skills necessary to progress in their careers. She also leads GEEQ, the not-for-profit charity that helped almost 6,000 women develop their technical and soft skills to get promotions, pay raises and recognition for their work.
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