What it takes to be a developer advocate

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You’ve probably heard of the term Developer Advocate scrolling on Twitter or Linkedin. This term has become very popular in recent years thanks to companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Twilio, and more. But do you know what it means?

A developer advocate is an experienced programmer whose main objective is to act as a bridge between a company and a community or communities of developers. It’s a role commonly seen in tech companies whose target market is developers. 

These are just some of the tasks that developer advocates are involved in:

  • Participate in events: meetups, conferences, hackathons, open spaces, and more
  • Create and deliver technical content: blog posts, articles, studies
  • Collaborate with development teams to provide them with technologies that can be used to streamline processes. 
  • Help to improve products or services
  • Participate in internal studies
  • Write and improve technical documentation
  • …and more!

Of course, not all engineers have a profile that fits this role. To be a developer advocate, you need to have a technical background, extensive work experience, and some other qualities to succeed. Want to know what those qualities are? Keep reading!

4 qualities a developer advocate must have:

Communication skills

The ability to communicate effectively with other developers or communities is an essential part of the role. A great developer advocate enjoys writing and talking about technology, whether it’s to solve technical problems, give free advice about specific frameworks, or share solutions. But above all, a developer advocate must make sure that the platforms or tools he or she advocates provide the greatest developer experience, and the best way to ensure that is by communicating with other developers on a regular basis.

Passion for learning

A developer advocate must be passionate about learning new technologies, languages, frameworks, and more. Great advocates are open-minded and curious about what’s going on around them, not only to increase their knowledge but also to share thoughts and experiences with their communities. 

Attending tech events, participating in workshops and meetups, reading books and technical articles, engaging in conversations, etc. are just some of the things advocates can do to stay up-to-date and connect with others. They never stop learning!

Empathy

Empathy is another quality that companies look for when searching for a developer advocate. An advocate should be an attentive person whose focus is to genuinely help others grow professionally and personally in order to build strong relationships with users or members of a community. 

The better their ability to relate to communities, the better their understanding of their needs. This is extremely valuable, as understanding users’ needs is what matters most to tech companies in order to improve or develop their products or services.

Team player

Developer advocates do not work alone. On the contrary, they are often part of a DevRelations team, whose joint objective is to design strategies to foster relationships with developers and empower them to achieve more. It varies depending on the company, but this team is usually made up of other developers and sometimes even community managers. So, they should be able to work in teams towards a common goal to succeed in their role.

Without a doubt, being a developer advocate requires a lot of commitment to satisfy both the company and the developers, but it is rewarding to have the opportunity to share your knowledge, help the community, and spend time learning and growing. 

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