Becoming a Developer Advocate
A friend reached out to me on Facebook a few days ago and asked me how he could become a Developer Advocate.
Here goes my response. Maybe I start with a story to bring some points home.
Who is a Developer Advocate?
In my view, a Developer Advocate is someone who “preaches” or enables the “preaching” of technology in one way or another.
I first had official contact with Microsoft in 2012 when my team registered for the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition and we had the Microsoft Open Conference in my school – the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
I met Shina – who would then become my first boss and mentor. My first impression of him – I want to be like this man. Because I loved the way he “preached” Microsoft Dev Tech. He was the Developer Platforms Evangelism (DPE) Lead for Nigeria and WECA at that time. I followed Microsoft Tech like a faithful disciple from then – installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview and bugging Shina many nights when I had questions and issues with the OS. He would kindly answer all my questions and give me tips. I then ensured I would help others with any issues.
I remember Eva – my internship partner whose role wasn’t as technical as mine, he would ensure that all my speaking engagements were set, plan the events and execute – I would come in to give the tech talks and demos. We both reported directly to Kendra who was a mix of both before we joined Microsoft. Shina was a mix of us all – he clears the pathway, ensures we have the budget needed to execute, guides and “protect”.
My 2 Cents
To be honest, I’m not sure there are hard and fast rules or guides to becoming a Developer Advocate or Technology Evangelist. So, I’ll give a few pointers I can muster (while taking some points from those who are way ahead of me in this line of impact).
- Be ready to help someone: take time out of your day to think of how you can improve someone’s technical experience
- Don’t be a dick about what you know: I understand you may know a lot, do not make others who don’t know as much as you or do not meet your expectation to feel bad for now knowing things.
- Show Up (Credits: Scott Hanselman): if you’re supposed to be on a weekly stream, show up and stream, people are waiting to listen.
- There are more out there who are ready to listen than you know, so speak:
- Be consistent: if you do your advocacy at specific intervals like podcasts, video lessons, streams, etc, try as much as possible not to break the flow. I understand it’s not easy when you have your day job calling.
How to Start?
What’s that idea you have of helping other developers?
- Just start it
- Get feedback
- Connect with others
Are there times you would feel you’re making no impact? Yes. But as my friend Sam would say – we move. We don’t stop. If it’s just one life we’re able to make better, it’s worth it.
Got anything to chip in, kindly add them in the comments section. Thanks for reading.