Developer Advocacy is a field that is becoming increasingly popular within the tech industry. One of the best ways to learn about becoming a Developer Advocate is to hear from the experts themselves. So in this blog post, we will be asking Ale Thomas to share her experience of working as a Developer Advocate at Testcube, the Kubernetes-native testing framework for testers and developers. Ale is also increasingly popular on social media channels, so you can hear more about her day-to-day on TikTok and Twitter.
How did you first hear about the Developer Advocate concept?
I initially heard of it when I started learning in public and using social media to share my experience as a Software Engineer. I discovered there were people working on what I did for fun! I did a ton of research, watched videos, read blog posts from other Developer Advocates, and immediately had the dream to become one. I had a background in marketing, community management, and software engineering, so I felt it was my calling. I didn't think my transition would happen so soon!
In your own words, what is a Developer Advocate?
A Developer Advocate is someone that empowers developers to use certain technologies. Adopting new tools can be a tedious and long process - but you don't have to do it alone. Developer Advocates are there to walk you through this and listen to your wants and needs, advocating for you to the Production and Engineering teams.
How did you get your first role as a Developer Advocate at Testcube?
I was reached out to by an awesome recruiter: Julian. He took the time to listen to what I was looking for and found the most perfect fit for me. I was initially hesitant to interview since they were asking for seniority in a field I was a junior at best. But my now manager, and everyone I met when interviewing, were very supportive of the fact that I'd be learning and growing with them.
You are a Kubernetes Developer Advocate. What are your main daily tasks?
My role specifically is very aligned with Product and Community. I plan (and produce some) content in all shapes and forms (videos, webinars, blog posts, social media posts), monitor communications with our users (through Discord, GitHub, newsletters), reach out to other DevRels in the space to collaborate, and try out our product to monitor issues or needs.
DevRel field is often idealized because of the traveling, attending conferences, and socializing aspects. How much of it do you usually get to do?
Hopefully a bit more this year! I'm fairly new to public speaking so I'm trying to ease my way into it through online events in the first half of 2023, to hopefully be ready to do in-person presentations later in the year. I'd say this part takes up 20% of my time only. Overall, presenting and advocating for your product is not only the Developer Advocate's job. We're mostly here to coordinate and organize, and luckily, in my organization, we have extremely talented engineers and product leaders that can also chime in with the traveling, meetups, and conferences. It's a team effort.
In your opinion, what are the main skills you should have to be successful as a Developer Advocate?
Effective communication, technical skills, an ability to break down concepts both to engineers and stakeholders, empathy, and most importantly: the ability to switch focus! DevRel encompasses so many different tasks that are sometimes entirely opposite to each other.
Is a big social following important in order to become a Developer Advocate?
Definitely not. It can be a way to show that you have experience growing a community, but it's not necessarily related to it. I think the skills I previously mentioned are the most important things you need to become a Developer Advocate.
What's the biggest myth about being a Developer Advocate?
The most common things I've heard are that Developer Advocacy is either marketing or not a real job. I highly disagree with both assumptions!
If you would like to pursue a career in Developer Advocacy, don't forget to activate your job alerts to get the latest opportunities to your inbox, and don't hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter and TikTok!