November 18

Ep. 13 Trevor Grant – What does an AI Evangelist do?

Developer Advocate, Machine Learning, Natural Language Procesing, Software Engineering, Speaker, Tech Careers



Trevor Grant is a PMC on multiple Apache projects, and some sort of floating Engineer in Watson IoT at IBM.  He’s given a fair few talk about a number of different things. Trevor blogs, but spent Fall of 2018 running for Alderman in Chicago so if you check out it might look a little dead- that’s why.

Episode Summary

Trevor Grant is a software engineer, active open source contributor and an AI evangelist for IBM. In college, Trevor started his own food delivery business and ran it for 4 years. Next, he decided to enter the US Army and went on to serve in Afghanistan as a combat medic. Since then, he’s held a variety of roles, including ones as a data scientist and an instructor. Virtually nothing about Trevor’s career is ordinary and neither is his current role as an AI evangelist. What does an AI evangelist do? Listen to this episode and you’ll find out.

For other tech roles and descriptions click here.

Trevor also shares: 

  1. Why the Army made him a better computer programmer 
  2. How he used math as therapy after coming back from serving in Afghanistan
  3. How he keeps up with the evolving technology 
  4. The next wave, skills that up and coming data scientists need.

Key Milestones

[02:43] – Trevor’s backstory
[04:53] – Trevor speaks about starting a breakfast delivery business
[12:05] – What does an AI evangelist do?
[16:26] – How improv classes can make you a better public speaker
[20:28] – Trevor talks about keeping up with new technology
[24:08] – What Open Source did for Trevor’s career
[27:38] – The impact of military service on Trevor’s general outlook
[33:58] – Trevor’s advice for those interested in taking a similar path

Key Quotes

“When you need someone to wow a customer that has more depth of technical skills than a technical sales person but can move faster and more flexibly than an R&D person, I’m that connective tissue between those people.”

“I can airdrop in, I can build something better, a little bit more robust, a little bit more production grade, and I MacGyver it together until R&D come in with the heavy hitting solutions.” 

“We are moving into the day of the machine, the data engineer. If you can write the simplest of models but you can get it to production, that is more valuable.”

“People who want to be in data science should really focus on hardening their engineering skills.” 

“The most valuable skills I have isn’t that I can do this data engineering or that I can do this math, it’s that I can teach myself. I can identify new skills that are going to be important and then go teach myself.”

“Go to college for something you like and on the side be teaching yourself how to program.”

“The best way to learn a new skill is to have another thing that you need to do and procrastinate.” 

“Don’t play this game that you chase, learn how to learn the next big thing.”





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