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re: Developer Advocates: How Did You Get There? VIEW POST

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I've been involved in Developer Relations and technical community management for 10+ years but have never held a full-time Developer/SWE job. I've also never held a Developer Advocate title, but there's more to Developer Relations (DevRel) than just the Dev Advocate job :)

I have a journalism background and wound up in Public Relations at O'Reilly Media, working on press releases for new books. I wanted to know more about how the topics fit into the larger technology landscape, and so began researching each topic. What programming languages worked best for each new tool? Which frameworks were used by which audiences? What was the new hot topic in the larger tech community?

As I asked these questions, I also realized that we needed to be talking to our audience more. How did we know what the tech community was looking for? What topics they were interested in? Whether we were actually meeting their needs?

I left PR behind and joined the ranks of "Community Managers" -- a new term to me, and to many others. I asked lots of questions and listened far more than I talked. I sat down with influencers, authors, conference speakers -- people who were full-time developers and who understood the topics at hand far better than I ever would -- and simply asked them what they were struggling with over coffee, lunch, breakfast, or drinks.

And as I learned more about their pain points and the resources that would be helpful to them, I took that information back to my company, explaining where the true needs were and making introductions where I could -- to our editors and conference chairs as well as our marketing team, who were working on webinars -- so that the feedback could influence the content we were releasing.

As I fumbled my way through learning about community management, the DevRel industry started to emerge -- community management for technical communities. These teams are now made up of Developer Advocates, who tend to be on the more technical side, giving demos and digging into code with community members, Community Managers, who tend to handle the online community as well as help facilitate the feedback loop to Engineering, Product, and Marketing, and other roles like Technical Evangelist, DevRel Operations Manager, Technical Writer, and more.

 

Love seeing someone who used to do PR working in tech now! I used to be a publicist and am now an engineer. My goal is to one day be a developer advocate since it combines my PR skills with my engineering ones!

 

I think that's a fantastic idea! There are so many of us in DevRel from interesting backgrounds (theater, journalism, science, etc.) and I think it just adds to our ability to tackle all of the various ins and outs of DevRel.

 

Ahh, hello Music City Lady! I lived there for two years, but moved a few years ago. I also worked in the music industry for a long time (still kind of do) - it's nice to see another!

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