I am a self taught programmer who just started as a Developer Advocate , Ask Me Anything!

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Hi everyone!

I just finished up my second week in my new role as a Developer Advocate. I thought it would be fun to open myself up to questions from the community on my career journey so far.

Is there anything you want to know?

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Hai Dave! Hope you helps me....
I'm a CS student and Self Learner.....
What's your approach/way to learn a new programming language/technology?? What is the path/process you follow to learn new language??
and here comes final question
How to stay Focused and not being bored while learning a new programming language??

So,these are the questions which are unanswered and revolviinf=g in my mind since months!hope you hit them back with your answers and help me to succeed!!!


Hi Chintha!

Thanks for the question. The approach I take to learning anything new has changed recently. Lately I am trying to introduce myself to something new and then dive right into using it rather than using step by step tutorials. I don't want to be too dependent on needing the step by step instruction.
Typically I have been looking at the documentation for something and then getting into using it in some way to see how I can get it working. This feels a lot closer to something like in the real world where you might be asked to learn something quickly and to get right.
To stay focused I would suggest taking breaks from time to time. You don't always have to be working and learning. Getting into a routine will help you to learn the most if you ask me. This routine can include some break time to help keep you from getting mentally tired. Then you can continue the feeling of excitement to learn something new as you get back to it.
In the end, just find the process that works for you. Don't think that there is one way to learn and progress your skills and that you have to discover that. You'll waste too much time when you could use your time to do the things you want to do.


I'm happy to help! I wanted to add that I do still use tutorials, but I don't follow along with them exactly. Instead I go through them and then try to use docs and other support materials in my own projects. I go over these details in another post if you want to read more.


Hey Dave! Excited you are doing this!

I'd love to know what how you define your job as a developer advocate and what things you've found really helpful in that transition?

I'm really interested in the role and looking for ways to break in. Any tips there?


Hi Conlin! Thanks for the question!

For me the role of Developer Advocate is really defined in the title. It is about advocating for the developer experience with your product, both externally and internally. Previously at my company I was in Support helping solve issues for developer's. Now, I am taking the same customer centered mindset to make the developer experience better for those working with the Smartsheet API.
By working with the community I can find the pain points developers experience and bring that to the teams that can change that. I can also advise on best practices and create new materials for developers to learn what they need. Sometimes people experience issues working with an API because they aren't aware of a better way to do something and sometimes they have problems because of the way the API was built. I view my job as finding that out and doing what I can to help solve those problems.
As for resources, I would check out DevRel Weekly, Developer Avocados, and DevRel.net for more info. Also, this post with an interview with Mary Thengvall has some great stuff too.


Hello Dave, I have never written a line of code. But I want to learn programming so I can create great products. Where (or what language) would you advise me to begin?


Hi there! The language you learn for programming really depends on what you want to build. If you want to build desktop apps then I would research development of those kind of apps. If you want to build iOS apps for iPhones I would say learn Swift and Objective-C. If you want to build Android apps then it would be Java. If I were to suggest a language to start with for learning programming I would suggest Javascript. It is the language of the web. You can use it to build interactive sites and web apps. Plus, there is lots of tools to turn Javascript into something that can be put on other devices like mobile phones. For me, I see it as a language with the lowest barrier to getting started with it. There is lots of resources and it can all be done with a text editor and your web browser mostly. That helps a lot for getting started with writing code and seeing the results of what it does.
To learn Javascript I would look at FreeCodeCamp to start. It is a great free resource to learn Javascript and building for the web. There is also the You Don't Know Javascript books by Kyle Simpson that are a great set of free books on the language.
I would also suggest checking out the writing of Ali Spittel (@aspittel ) on here. They ahve lots of great articles about getting started like these:
A Complete Beginner's Guide to Programming
My Favorite Free Resources for New Programmers
25 Tips for New Developers: Advice from a (Mostly) Self-Taught Software Engineer


Thank you so much Dave. Really appreciate your taking time out to answer. Javascript it is for starters.


Did you decide to get into dev advocacy or did it just happen?


I had previously seen and heard some folks who were in dev advocacy, but hadn't thought much about it until my company hired its first people into Developer Advocate roles. I got the chance to talk with them about what they were doing and to get more info on how things were being done at Smartsheet for Developer Relations. This got me interested in going this direction and I began working towards moving into the role.

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dAVE Inden profile image
Developer Advocate at Smartsheet | Maker of things at Dancing Vikings | Drinker of coffee
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