Failed attempts to explain Developer Advocacy

Posted by Jen Tong on March 31, 2017

About 7 years ago I discovered an awesome twist on the traditional Software Engineering career: Developer Relations. Over the years and across organizations the titles have varied – from Developer Evangelist, to Developer Advocate, and even to Senior Staff Developer Programs Engineer. But, all the while, one thing has remained the same: it’s really hard to explain what the heck we do.

Today my teammates and I, inspired by #BadlyExplainingYourJob, discovered that failed attempts are actually a great way to explain our jobs. Here is a list of those failed attempts.

I go places and talk to people about products, but don’t care if you buy them.

~~ Terrence Ryan

Explain how a Developer Advocate is not the same thing as a Technical Evangelist, over and over.

~~ Paul Newson

I’m a professional translator. I translate between Real World Engineer and Google Engineer.

~~ Aja Hammerly

I help people cause trouble with code.

~~ Jen Tong

I travel the world, excited to learn about how our products are broken.

~~ Brian Dorsey

I read Hacker News and Reddit, and pretend I’m an expert on stage.

~~ Sandeep Dinesh

I collect t-shirts from conferences, and tech companies while travelling the world.

~~ Mark Mandel

I’m the one Developers yell at when the platform isn’t working how they want; And I’m the one the engineers yell at when the developers aren’t using it right

~~ Colt McAnlis

I practice abstract driven development.

~~ Myles Borins

I look for places I want to travel to, and then see if there are conferences there I can speak at

~~ Mark Mandel

I make explosion noises at my computer when demos fail and get paid for it.

~~ Aja Hammerly

And, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without…

I’m a people person. I take the code from the engineers and I bring it to the developers.

~~ Myles Borins

So yeah, hopefully that worked. You have a better idea of what it is we do, right? And it sounds great? Maybe you should come join us!