Unpopular opinion: Developer Advocacy is bullshit

New / Eng

New Eng

Mar 11, 2019 9 Comments

Finding a way to combine development, sales and marketing into one role was no easy feat. But they did it.

Behold the Developer Advocate. The role in which you become a human ad for a company in exchange for a social media following. Salespeople couldn't sell to devs so instead they got devs to sell to other devs. Brilliant.

We're told that Developer Advocates are just as technical as software engineers. But are they really? Some people who got jobs in dev advocacy were previously content marketers, journalists and PR specialists.

All a developer advocate seems to do is go to meetups and conferences. Things like talking about "Why Google Cloud Platform is amazing" isn't really helping anyone is it? The better advocates I've seen are on YouTube keeping pace with a company's changes and explaining how to cope with that change through videos and tutorials.

All that travelling may be amazing for some, but in reality it's mentally and physically tiring. What's the point anyway? No one really pays attention at conferences. They are there for the free food. Plus a shill is a shill.

I'd be very careful accepting this role. If the aim is to get your foot in the door at a company then this is not the way. Developer Relations roles are not viewed as technically strong universally across companies.

Thought I'd say this as developer advocacy is on the rise and I smell bs.


Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 9 Comments
  • Microsoft 3750147
    Why so salty? People probably understand what this role is. Used to be called tech evangelist
    Mar 11, 2019 2
    • Travelport / Eng buttnpushr
      Salty cause someone gets paid at least 5 times as much as them just to run their mouth while they work the code mines like the plebian code monkey they are
      Mar 11, 2019
    • New / Eng

      New Eng

      buttnpushr has it completely correct lol
      Mar 11, 2019
  • New / Mgmt VSwf01
    It's not, anyone into kubernetes knows Kelsey Hightower. Sometimes it's very effective if you have a knowledge and charismatic person.
    Mar 11, 2019 0
  • Salesforce rcno01
    I don't see the problem here. GALF
    Mar 11, 2019 0
  • Indeed cyhy46
    Dev advocate is an important role, but if you tone the snark down I think you have some good points. They're not engineers, they're salespeople targetting engineers. Its a different culture, a different skillset, etc.
    Mar 11, 2019 1
    • LinkedIn / Product gassoup
      They are not salespeople AT ALL and I feel like you don't understand the role. If anything the closet profession to that would be product marketing.
      Mar 11, 2019
  • Google XABa65
    It is a mixed bag. The role lets people get away without contributing to their customer's success. And some people DO!. So there are stars like kelsey hightower who are worth their weight in gold while there are others who are simply Twitter celebrities. Oh and I mean this I beyond Google for sure! Go take a look at Twitter feed of one of AWS Dev advocates for containers and tell me how many of her posts are actually about developers and or technical!! And that person is a principal at AWS, the bullshit is strong with that one
    Apr 21, 2019 0
  • SpaceX / Eng plokjimnb
    Years ago I failed a Google onsite but was asked if I was interested in joining development relations in the same call. Felt like a consolation prize so I said no (I also avoid social media and just don't see myself as the right person for it.) Later I realized these guys have a decent career trajectory and wondered if I should have went for it. But yeah it seems like the technical bar is lower. (Well I crushed a DP graph problem and design problem, but did kinda crap on a front end specific question and I for some reason was convinced by the recruiter to apply as a FE specialist because I built a website once)
    Mar 11, 2019 0


    Real time salary information from verified employees