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Home » What Is a Developer Advocate and What Does the Job Look Like?

What Is a Developer Advocate and What Does the Job Look Like?

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A long programming career offers many perks, one of which is alternative career paths. You can leverage programming knowledge in many fields like Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), enterprise software solutions, applications development, and more.

One such emerging and sought-after career option is Developer Advocacy. This article explains what this is in more depth.


Who or What Is a Developer Advocate?

Developer Advocates are subject-matter experts who drive the adoption of a product or service amongst other programmers and developers, customers, clients, and the general public in some cases. They are also at the cutting edge of innovation in their field of expertise.

A Developer Advocate is an experienced programmer who trains other developers and evangelizes a software product or service via various communication channels like vlogs, blogs, speaking engagements, and so on. The primary responsibility of a Developer Advocate is to make their field of expertise more accessible to their target audience.

For example: Suppose you have been working as a Kubernetes Engineer for a long time and understand the ins and outs of the system better than most other people. In that case, you can move on to Kubernetes evangelism as a Developer Advocate.

You’ll use your superior knowledge and communication skills to train other upcoming programmers to use this technology more effectively. You’ll also be responsible for the wider adoption of Kubernetes for a range of applications, sharing your learnings and insights with your target audience, and establishing your expert status via corporate training, videos, blogs, socio-technical interactions, and so on.

Qualifications Required to Become a Developer Advocate

Developer Advocate is an experience-based profile. You need extensive work experience in one or more software technologies, software products, enterprise software, applications development, operating systems, programming languages, automation systems, or the like. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are also necessary to convey your learnings effectively.

Exposure to the user experience (UX) field is a bonus but not usually required.

A lack of the required degree or level of education is usually overlooked if you’re passionate about a particular technology and have established your credentials as an expert. You can use sites like GitHub and StackOverflow to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Companies and brands hiring for these positions make an exception if your profile speaks for itself.

What Does a Developer Advocate Do?

Although you need programming experience to become a Developer Advocate, the actual job requires very little of it. Here’s a look at the kind of responsibilities you’ll shoulder as a Developer Advocate:

  • Marketing and Communication: Evangelizing your product or service is your top priority. Whether you’re training other programmers in a programming language like Python or driving end-user adoption of a software product like Google Cloud, you’re at the forefront of the marketing and communication initiatives. You might also need to fulfill public speaking assignments.
  • Developer Relations: A major part of your role requires liaison between developers and marketers, clients and developers, developers and organizations, and developers and end users. You’re the bridge that connects the technical experts and the non-technical stakeholders. You interpret management directives and project goals into programmable components.
  • Content Creation: You’ll be required to create content like training videos, certification courses, vlogs, blogs, presentations, tests, and more to train your target audience, share your knowledge, and interact with end users. You’ll also be documenting processes, best practices, and so on.
  • Programming: Although not a regular feature, when your target audience is other programmers, you’ll constantly need to stay on top of the latest technological developments, write pieces of code to maintain your position, demonstrate expertise, and lead change adoption.


Developer Advocate Profiles in Various Tech Fields

Software development and IT are the two major fields that employ Developer Advocates. Other major industry verticals, like automotive, construction, and healthcare, also leverage programming expertise to drive innovation and adoption of products and services in their fields. Here’s a look at the various technical areas you can work in as a Developer Advocate:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) employs experienced programmers to drive innovation, and it’s one way of starting a career in AI. You’ll be researching better ways of creating and optimizing machine learning models, training models, designing experiments, and documenting the process and learnings to improve existing AI models.

Sigopt, Determined AI, Amazon, and Neptune AI are the kind of companies you should explore to get a Developer Advocate position in the AI sector.

Internet of Things

Developer Advocates in the field of IoT work with developers and evangelize tools, techniques, and processes to expedite product delivery. They’re involved in developing products from the conceptual phase up to the launch and beyond. They evaluate the technical feasibility of products at various developmental stages. They also work on improving upon products post-launch and incorporating feedback in subsequent builds.

Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and other companies with cloud platforms hire for the position in this vertical.

Enterprise Software

You can pursue Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Developer Advocacy roles if you have experience working on enterprise software technology by tech giants like Oracle, SalesForce, and SAP. You’ll focus on driving the wider adoption of enterprise software packages and applications across various industry sectors like manufacturing, construction, medical equipment, and so on.

You have a distinct advantage if your experience involves working with industry-specific ERP software like AutoCAD, ViewPoint, and EliNext. These niche fields have less competition than many others.

Application Programming Interface (APIs)

API platforms hire Developer Advocates to interact with the programming community and evangelize their platform for designing, testing, automation, and more. For example, you might be training programmers on how to build APIs in Python. You are also responsible for driving end-user application adoption.

Symplicity, Skyflow, and Google Maps are a few example platforms that hire for this position.

Working as a Developer Advocate

Developer Advocate is a tag you earn through hard work, long experience, passion for technology, dedication to learning and sharing, using your platform effectively to promote your product or service, and making technology easier and accessible to your audience. It also involves constant learning and upskilling to maintain your expert position.

It’s an interesting alternative career path to choose after a long stint as a software developer.

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