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I'm Zan, a developer evangelist at Pusher, and one of the people behind the #pushercontest, Ask Me Anything!

zmarkan profile image Zan Markan ・2 min read

Hi everyone! πŸ‘‹

I'm Zan, and I do Developer Relations work at Pusher.
Recently I helped bring to life the #pushercontest we're running with the DEV team this month - btw you should check it out and go and build something amazing!

I've been building software for about 10 years. Most of this time I've spent doing mobile development, Android to be precise. I've been building apps and talking about it since 2010, when I got my first device and fell in love with the little green robot πŸ€–.
I've done that first at a startup I co-founded with friends from university, and then at a BigCorp.
When I joined Pusher I moved from building apps to building tools πŸ›  - crafting SDKs and APIs, and discovered a passion for great developer experience.

For the last 6 months or so I've been working as a Developer Evangelist, and being a more public facing person in the company, by either producing things valuable for the community, giving talks, and generally being helpful.

One of my first projects has been the State of Kotlin survey. It's a language that I like a lot, and a lot of developers share that feeling!
We ran a survey to learn what Kotlin developers like most about it, what they are building, how they are learning Kotlin, and what features they find most useful.

We're currently in the final stage, and building the report. Nice graphics and lots of emoji included, so watch this space! πŸŽ‰

In real life I can be found speaking at conferences and events in London and around the World 🌍.

Come chat to me, I usually wear a Pusher branded hoodie and hand out some sweet swag! πŸ¦„

I try to document my learnings and adventures in the world of Developer Relations on my Medium blog at devrel.life.

I'm also an indiscriminate beer aficionado, always on the lookout for new and interesting styles and brands - bitter, sour, dark, light, you name it! I also co-own a brewery! 🍻

Feel free to ask me anything - about Pusher - the company, or anything about our products - Channels, Chatkit, Beams, Android, Kotlin, programming in general, the #pushercontest, travel, public speaking, and more :)

Discussion (8)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I just discovered textsync. I'd definitely consider rolling this in as a DEV feature as long as the beta timeline makes sense. Any info on where this product is in terms of quality/stability right now?

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Zan Markan Ask Me Anything

Excellent question Ben! :)

TextSync is currently in preview mode, and in a "stable beta" state in terms of usability.

We released it to see how people use it, and to get some feedback.
We hope to take it further later in the year when Chatkit is more established.

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Spiro Floropoulos

Hi Zan!

So I've seen "Developer Evangelist" come up in some job postings and it feels like it's something relatively new to me. Is that accurate? What does your day to day look like?

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Zan Markan Ask Me Anything

Hi Spiro,

Developer Evangelism (and developer relations which is a broader term) is a relatively new field - it started picking up about 10 years ago (give or take).

It tends to vary a lot from company to company - depending on the market, audience, etc... It usually boils down to helping out developers, sharing knowledge, and supporting developer communities.

There is not really a typical day to day (which I really enjoy!).

At Pusher I'm currently working on some community work, such as the DEV contest we're running, the state of Kotlin survey and the corresponding report, as well as working with influencers and content creators to get people building tutorials and video courses with Channels. I might also write some blogs or create some open source project.

I also advise the rest of our marketing team on how to best support developers, and about once or twice a month or so I give talks at conferences or meetups.

I can also go more specific on a particular topic if you're interested? :)

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Spiro Floropoulos

That's very cool! So, in terms of pay range, is it still comparable to being just a full time developer or is this far enough removed that the pay scale is different?

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Zan Markan Ask Me Anything

It generally is comparable - many if not most DevRel people I know went from being senior engineers (even engineering managers) in their fields.

You're still doing engineering work, just focusing your efforts on external communities, rather than working on product internally.

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Andy Zhao (he/him)

Hey Zan! What was it like starting your own startup with your friends, and any takeaways or reflections you'd like to share about the overall experience?

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Zan Markan Ask Me Anything

Hi Andy! Good question :)

You definitely learn a LOT doing something like that.

To give you a bit of context - the company was developing an accessible software package for Android, back in the time when Android was lacking in regards to accessibility (especially vs iOS).
We started it out of university by 4 CS graduates who had no sense of business. The product didn't sell so we sold the IP for it.
The company itself is still around but operating as a digital agency with 1 of the original founding team running it.

Here's a (rather lacking) and completely unordered list of of my experiences with it:

  • we should definitely have someone on board from the business/marketing/design sense. We were way too engineering heavy.
  • sales is hard (maybe especially in the accessibility sector)
  • besides development and sales, you also need to worry about things like marketing, accounting, business deals, user testing.
  • on the plus side, you learn all about these things because you have to
  • speaking of user testing, it's invaluable. Everyone should do it (and do more of it)
  • it can be meagre existence, but any wins are the best things ever :)
  • emotional amplitudes are waaay more than anywhere else - highs are way higher, and lows are waaaay lower too
  • given that I had 1 startup (that failed miserably) I'm probably not the best person to give any advice πŸ˜‚ I really liked the book The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - he explains it way better than I can and he's got tons more experience :)

Hope this made sense ^