The DL on DAs: What is a developer advocate?

“Developer Advocate” is easily one of the hottest jobs recently. Curious what they do?

Typically, the work falls into three buckets:

1. Content

2. Community

3. Product

Let’s dive a little deeper into the three buckets.

Content

Developer advocates often lead content strategy for developer tools companies. They create documentation, quick start guides, how to guides, and other educational material for developers.

They can also manage social media strategy and user-created content. They might lead content creation on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram (rarely), and other platforms. But honestly, anything that touches the developer ecosystem is fair game for you to manage! This could extend to newsletters and even parts of the product landing page.

Community

Developer advocates also focus on the community surrounding the company’s product. This might include managing a community on Discord/Slack, creating and leading an ambassadors program, managing messaging to users, conference talks, IRL events, etc.

But you aren’t just ~ maintaining ~the community. You’re making the community a great place to be! You’re using the love that other users share to build trust and credibility with new users. You’re making users feel like they’re part of something bigger than just themselves. Yes, the product is cool, but they also feel a sense of energy and togetherness from being in a tight, exclusive, and valuable community.

Think about how it feels watching an NBA Finals game with 10k other fans in the arena. What if your Discord with 10k fans of your product could bring similar energy?

You’re also making the community a *valuable* place to be. By joining the community, users/developers (1) learn new things about the product or otherwise (2) get product questions answered (3) learn tips and tricks that make them better at using your product.

You’re executing on the question: Why should I, a random user, join the community for this product? What do I gain by joining the community?

Product

To clarify, this is not 1:1 individual support. Developer advocates can help coordinate feedback at a high level across developers. This can tie into content with FAQ’s, error guides, etc. It also includes setting up processes or collecting feedback and synthesizing takeaways for the product team.

The question you’ll answer: How do I create a scalable system for thousands of bits of feedback from different platforms, and condense it in a way to draw insights?

What makes a great developer advocate?

No pressure, but your voice is basically the voice of the company! The content, documentation, community messaging, etc. is all in your voice!

A great developer advocate has a unique voice that fits the vibe of the company. Whether your vibe is more fun, more technical or academic, small business oriented, energetic, cool — know it and own it!

Misconceptions

Misconception #1: You have to be an extrovert.

False! Some of the best developer advocates I know are introverts. You engage with the community a lot, but that definitely doesn’t mean that you have to be an extrovert.

Think about it like this: are all actors extroverts? Definitely not!

Misconception #2: You have to have been an engineer.

Also not true! You have to understand the product, how people can/should use it, and how to debug issues for them. This can require some technical knowledge, but you definitely don’t have to be an engineer.

Misconception #3: You have to take a pay cut.

This of course depends on the company, but usually is not true! Developer advocates and engineers are usually on similar (often equal) pay scales.

Misconception #4: You have to be great at all three buckets: Content, Community, and Product.

Almost no one is great at all three. 99.9% will specialize in one, and that’s totally OK!

Once again — Just know it and own it!

If this work resonates with you. Warp is hiring a developer advocate. Apply here: https://boards.greenhouse.io/warp/jobs/4360792004

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