Building a career in developer advocacy: Amanda's story
7 min read
Hey readers, welcome back! WeMakeDevs is back again with the following community highlight, as promised. Are you ready?
Introducing Amanda, a talented developer advocate who is passionate about helping others and promoting open-source. She currently works for Wix and is an EddieHub community ambassador. With a strong background in coding and a desire to work closely with people, Amanda has found her calling in developer advocacy. In this blog post, we will learn more about her journey to becoming a developer advocate and what it takes to succeed in this field.
So, shall we start?
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a developer advocate? How did you get started in this field, and what led you to pursue it as a career?
Throughout my career, I've always enjoyed helping others. Whether through training, documentation, or one on one debugging, help getting to be a part of others' success has always been a motivating factor. I worked as a developer for about six years before discovering Developer Advocacy was a career choice.
I had been exploring the possibility of evolving into some career path that allowed me to code while also working with people more closely. Most folks I worked with suggested I consider a management track. Still, it didn't quite feel like the right fit. Developer Advocacy was precisely what I was looking for, so I began applying to job openings and was eventually hired into the team at Wix.
How do you balance your responsibilities as a developer advocate & open-source development? What strategies do you use to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in both areas?
I constantly think about and strive for balance, as it is easy to get carried away. Developer Advocacy is not like working as a developer, where there are a certain number of tickets you may be expected to complete in a day. The work is expansive and doesn't always have clear beginnings and endings to define your day. I stay balanced by daily prioritization based on what is most important for the team and community I support.
Open source is not part of my job but rather something I do in my free time, so I dedicate a small amount of time each day to checking in on the repositories I help maintain or chatting a bit in the community. I do what I can in the fixed time each day and then move on so that I don't burn out by doing too much. If I want to work on a more extensive feature, I dedicate time on the weekends to do this and make sure not to take on more significant issues too often so that I can enjoy my time with my family.
I stay up to date in the tech world in various ways, including seeing what folks on Twitter are talking about, being involved in Discord communities, reading blogs and newsletters, and listening to podcasts. I'm not so much a video person unless I'm doing a specific tutorial. When I hear about a topic I would like to know more deeply, I make myself a note about it so I am reminded when I have more time that I am interested in learning more.
How do you measure the impact of your work as a developer advocate? What metrics do you use, and how do you use them to improve your performance?
My company's needs drive this question, so we currently measure impact through community engagement, community growth, conference leads and session attendance, and organic external conversations. These metrics are evaluated and evolve constantly. We assess every event internally to the community or externally to developers outside of our community and decide where to place our efforts.
When something is considered successful, we may continue or increase the effort. If something is considered less effective, we will evaluate if it is worth more effort to become successful or is an effort that should be abandoned. In developer advocacy, you have to be willing not to be attached to any particular idea, as what works or not can be a fast-moving target.
What were some of the obstacles you encountered while entering the tech industry? Can you share your experience of how you overcame them?
I was fortunate in that I was given the opportunity to join my first developer team within a company where I was working as a GIS Analyst. I was supported and mentored by senior engineers on the team. This was an incredible time of growth and burnout for me as I had much to learn in my free time during this process. I think the biggest obstacle in my path is that the job requirements have always driven my learning and, at times, have been unstructured, which can lead to knowledge gaps that I have to go back and fill in later once I see them.
Which tech stacks do you enjoy working with the most? What do you love about them?
How do you approach learning a new technology or stack? What is the first thing you like to do?
If I am learning for fun, I will look into some basic documentation and tutorials and then build something small. If I want to keep going, I will see if there are any open-source projects that I feel I can contribute to. If I am learning for work, I will talk to others on the team and explore the existing projects to see how they work while also completing some tutorials to gain the fundamentals.
In addition to technology, do you engage in any other activities that you enjoy participating in?
I have many hobbies outside of tech and enjoy reading, cycling, boxing, cooking, and spending time with my friends and family.
Can you share an example of a project or initiative that you worked on that you are particularly proud of? What did you learn from that experience?
Within the first few months of joining the team at Wix, my director started an initiative to launch the first-ever Wix DevCon. Our team led this effort, and we worked incredibly hard to pull this off while still supporting the developer community and other DevRel initiatives. This was a very challenging time as I had never been involved in planning an event of this scale, especially as a remote and distributed team. I learned a lot about balance and how to plan and execute a developer conference.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career as a developer advocate?
The fantastic thing about the tech industry is that you can start doing the work out in public that you want to pursue. In general, developer advocacy is about relationship building and developer education. Get involved with some communities, create some meaningful content, and put yourself out there.
Would you like to share any links?
If you would like to connect with me, here are my links.
Don't forget to follow Amanda here on Twitter.
So, here comes the end, folks.
In conclusion, Amanda's journey to becoming a developer advocate is a testament to the importance of finding a career path that aligns with one's passions and skills. Her commitment to helping others and promoting open source has made her a valuable asset to the developer community. As she continues to inspire and guide developers in her role as an advocate, we look forward to seeing how Amanda will continue to make a difference in the tech industry. Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your story with us!
Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting community highlights in the near future. Our next edition will feature the stories of individuals who are making a real impact in the tech world, so keep an eye out for it! In the meantime, keep learning, growing, and pursuing your passions. The possibilities are endless!
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