Best Things About Developer Advocacy

There are some excellent articles around about what a Developer Advocate does, but have you ever wondered WHY we do what we do? I tried to articulate this when chatting with another developer lately, and I’m still thinking about it! So I thought I’d write it down to share a little more widely why I love this strange, misshapen career as much as I do.

It’s Alarmingly Varied

Honestly? I love it. I cannot at all imagine going back to doing a fairly steady engineering job and reliably delivering applications. Even when I last did that sort of role, I was part-time and doing advocacy/consulting/training for the rest of the time — mostly because I enjoy the variety! Being able to handle interruptions and handle the context-switching are both very key skills for a job like this. Deep work does require blocks of time and I still write and code fairly in-depth things, but it’s all in maximum 90 minute blocks! I will always be convinced that the years of doing open source projects with whatever time I had was the best possible training for this working style.

It’s Surprisingly Technical

Just like tech support, the DevRel roles put you on the spot with any of your employer’s products, combined with any tech stack the user might have picked, at more or less any time. This should be horrifying but in fact I find it fascinating and refreshing. The different tech communities have different approaches to so many different things, and finding the familiar reference points for someone to understand your explanation is challenging. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to help many different people with their questions and feel like you’re making a positive impact.

It’s a Helping Profession

It’s Deeply Creative

Creating content is all about educating and informing, and helping your audience to take away something of value from the time they spent with you and/or your content. As a day job, this can be slightly stressful “Quick! Be inspiring!” but having the freedom to think about how to present the idea or demonstrate the feature is something that I’ll always value.

It’s Not Forever

Doing a role or two in DevRel makes well-rounded technical employees and it’s more approachable than people realise. On a very personal level, this has been the career that found me and made me realise I could be good at something, and I don’t think we share the joys widely enough! What do you love about your job? Tell me :)

Originally published at LornaJane.

Polyglot programmer, technology addict, open source fanatic and incurable blogger (see http://lornajane.net)

Polyglot programmer, technology addict, open source fanatic and incurable blogger (see http://lornajane.net)