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Dumebi Okolo
Dumebi Okolo

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🥑Less dev, more advocate

I just came across something I wrote down last year in my trying to understand DevRel better and forming my own opinions about it.

take a look at this gif

Whilst I have come to see and understand a lot of things better, I still maintain some of the points I wrote here.

Anyways, let me know what you think. How far off was I, or how close to the mark was I?

check it out

Let me begin this article by saying that this is purely my opinion and is gotten from my core marketing background and my experience and knowledge as a developer. [2022]
Enjoy as you read. 😁❤️
For the longest time now, I have wanted to be a dev advocate, or DevRel engineer/personnel.
This is a very valid dream, one that keeps me up at night [see what I did there? 😏].
This is still a dream as I am yet to actualize it, although I got a step close by getting work as a marketing executive at a fast-growing FinTech company.
What I have been doing in the meantime though is following as many people as I can find that have “Developer advocate/Devrel/Dev evangelist” on their bio. it's giving obsessed 😭😭
The aim is to look at these people long enough till I become one of them.
In my consistent checking of the works of these profiles I follow, I have discovered something: most of them are more dev, less advocate; or more dev, less rel.
I found it crazy, as this wasn't what I thought DevRel to be.
Coming from a marketing point of view, I felt as though enough work wasn't being done for publicity or to get back returns/revenue, just professionals writing supporting code and docs (no disrespect, please 😭 I love what you do).
Don’t get me wrong, these supporting codes and docs are necessary, but is that really the core of marketing?
In my opinion, DevRel or Dev advocating is at the intersection of developing (developers) and marketing,
but because companies go ahead to hire people who were/are mostly developers, they entirely miss out on the marketing aspect of it.
I understand why companies do this though. It is because these advocates or relationship managers are also expected to write a lot of docs, and some “background” code. This makes sense. Who best to write the docs than someone who developed(or at least understands the development of) the product?
As an aside: some docs are so badly written, it is painful. This is because some of these advocates are, again, just developers without the knowledge of how to sell their products, or even explain what this product does.
I think I have talked enough through this article, and it is seeming like I am discrediting the work of these people that I so greatly admire. Far from it.
I admire and respect every single DevRel or Dev Advocate I have come across, and believe they do amazing and awesome work.
To conclude, my advice to companies hiring dev advocates or DevRel is to invest in a candidate that knows as much about development as they do about marketing.
This way, you get the value of two in one.
Also, consider someone who is able to reach people.
It is important to not just consider people who create content (by writing or video), but people whose content is easily understood. The people with this hard-to-understand content are those who in-turn write difficult-to-understand docs and keep driving your potential customers/users away.
Dear coys, the primary goal is to make a profit, and without a proper developer-marketing strategy, you cannot see the returns for all the investments you are making on your developers and your advocates.

I just read through the entire article, and I am laughing a lot.
My mind was very biased towards marketing, and subsequently making profit. I now know that developer relations is much much broader than that. Depending on the company you are working for, your expectations and goas might be entirely different from a Devrel in another company.
I also understand now that there are different roles and aspects of DevRel that caters to various aspects of developer marketing, onboarding and growth.

I posted this article here because it is good sometimes to look back on certain opinions you shared before, and see how much you have grown in them, and the new and better things you have learnt.
I will probably look back on this article five years from now and laugh a lot more, because I have learnt a lot more than I currently know.
That to me is the power of growth, and I am glad I am embracing it.

My favorite part of the entire article is the cover image, which I tagged,
A day in the life of a dev advocado. 🤣🤣

I'd love to hear your opinions though, especially what your expectations are for DevRel professionals.

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