The Role of a Developer Advocate

Introduction

Developer advocates are crucial in marketing to developers or technical users. They act as a liaison between developers and the company, ensuring its products and services meet developers’ needs and expectations. 

They do more than just marketing, and this article will discuss the role of developer advocacy, its importance, and some skills that can help you excel in this field. 

Let’s learn! 

Who are Developer Advocates?

Developer Advocate Image

Developer advocates are technical folks who act as bridges between companies and their technical users. They advocate for the needs and interests of developers while promoting the company’s products. 

Contrary to popular belief, their role extends beyond marketing to developers. They serve as trusted mentors or friends to the developer community. 

One of their primary responsibilities is listening to the developers and ensuring their feedback is used to improve the company’s products. They are the voice of the community within the company and play a role in shaping its developer relations strategy.

They’re the ones you can always count on—dependable, honest, and always willing to lend a helping hand and sometimes bring a touch of humor and fun to even the most complex technical discussions.

Why do companies need developer advocates? Just as the name goes, they advocate for technical users, so let’s discuss how they help companies. 

Helping Developers

Developer advocates are needed to assist developers in understanding a product. They address developers’ challenges and pain points, making them valuable. They offer a significant advantage by providing guidance, resources, and support, thus fostering a positive developer experience and driving product adoption.

They become reliable in their domains by building relationships with developers. They contribute to the growth of the developer ecosystem by sharing knowledge, fostering innovation, and promoting best practices. Through their efforts, developer advocates help companies attract, retain, and motivate developers, ultimately driving the success of the products.

Gathering Feedbacks

Feedback is very important to ensure a product fits its audience or users; it is also helpful to provide new features that the existing users need. Developer advocates act as the bridge between the company and the developer or developer community, gathering feedback about the product and the developer’s experience and using it to build better products. 

Also, they can encourage the community to beta test products and gather real-time feedback for the product team. 

Being the middleman

As mentioned earlier, the developer advocates act as the middle person between companies and the developers. They represent the developer community within the team and are the spokesman for the company within the community. 

They can also answer queries about the product and host webinars, Twitter spaces, and live streams that resonate with the community. 

Creating useful content

Developer advocates are responsible for creating content – videos, articles, or blogs- relating to the company’s products or content that addresses pain points, interests, or motivates the community. 

They create content that resonates with the developer community. This content includes in-depth technical articles, tutorials, how-to guides, and engaging videos. The goal is to educate, inform, and inspire developers to leverage the company’s products better or encourage them to learn more about their tech journey.

They also actively participate in community forums, conferences, and meetups. They engage in discussions, answer questions, and provide technical support to developers. This allows them to understand the challenges of the community firsthand. 

Skills Needed as Developer Advocates

skills of a developer advocate

Developer advocates are like the superheroes of the tech world, combining technical knowledge, amazing communication skills, and a deep-seated desire to see developers thrive, so what are some key skills developer advocates need?

Communication Skills

Firstly, they should have excellent communication skills as they engage with developer communities and foster meaningful interactions. Their communication ability is much needed to foster a sense of trust and rapport with developers.

Whether it’s addressing a large audience during livestreams, webinars, or meetups or having one-on-one conversations, developer advocates need to be able to tailor their communication style to different contexts while maintaining an authentic voice.

Technical skills

Now, many people believe that developer advocates should not be technical because they are “marketers.” that’s just wrong because this role needs technical knowledge; how can they sell to developers if they do not speak the language developers?

Although compared to developers, developer advocates do not need in-depth technical knowledge because they may not code as often as developers. Having basic technical knowledge is required for this role.

Empathy

Empathy is understanding another person’s feelings, which can help build relationships with people. Do developer advocates need to have empathy? Yes, they do. Every human needs empathy. 

They need empathy to put themselves in the shoes of developers when building relationships and creating content for a developer community. It improves their communication skills, helps them make a space community, advocate better, and resolve conflicts and disagreements better. 

Community Management

In this role, community management is another crucial responsibility. You must have a deep understanding of how communities work. Developer advocates are responsible for managing and building communities. Their roles include moderating the community, encouraging conversations, resolving conflicts, and motivating participation.

It is also important to ensure that the communities are safe, inclusive, and engaging environments for everyone. This involves setting clear guidelines, enforcing them fairly, and responding to community members’ needs and concerns.

Conclusion

To sum it up, every developer-first or developer-plus company needs a developer advocate to build communities around their product, reach their target technical users, get feedback to improve the products and understand their user’s needs and pain points to build better, useful products. 

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