My onboarding as a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid was brief because I had been with the company for a year before I joined full-time. I started as an intern on the Ops team and when the summer ended, worked part-time remotely while finishing up my computer science degree at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
The first thing I did when I started full-time was schedule 1-to-1 chats with everyone on my new team, Developer Relations, along with a few friends I’ve made in similar roles, without letting them know what we’d be talking about.
At the start of the chat, I asked everyone the same question, “What are your best tips and tricks, ins and outs, dos and don’ts about developer evangelism?” Having no time to prepare forced everyone to answer with whatever came to mind first. The best part is, no one really said the same thing as anyone else!
I got so much great feedback from people, that I’ve decided to break this into two posts. In this first post, I pulled the advice I got from the people who work outside of SendGrid, but in similar roles as mine. Let me know what you think or what you’d add!
Rob Spectre – Director of Developer Relations at Twilio
- Be nice to everyone you meet.
- Code everyday. Make time for it. It has to be intentional and deliberate.
- Reach status on your chosen airline. It really matters for when things go wrong, like a flight delay or cancellation.
Amit Jotwani – Developer Advocate at Mashery
- Sleep on the first night of a longer hackathon. Developers will need your help more the next day and you want to be sharp.
- Always be learning something new.
- Always have all the right cables and adapters.
- A good backpack is absolutely essential.
- Don’t go anywhere without a portable battery.
Jonathan Gottfried – former Twilio Evangelist and Co-Founder of Major League Hacking
- Put yourself in new situations. It’s worth it to take risks.
- Be productive on the scale of weeks. Find goals and meet them with your own hours. This job isn’t a 9-5 and things come up.
- When at a conference, remember that most people do this once or twice a year, not once or twice a month. You are really there for them, not yourself.
- Bringing a small surge protector can make you new friends!
Mike Swift – former SendGrid Evangelist and Founder of Major League Hacking
- The best evangelists are the ones who pick a certain thing and work on it. Some people really enjoy coding and creating content, while others may enjoy speaking or meeting with developers/clients.
- Be able to identify your teams’ strengths and count on them when you need them. Be aware of their weaknesses also.
- Maintain personal relationships. Have a list of people to see when you’re home.
- Watch what everyone else does and imitate what you like.
- Spend time on your slides. They are a very important presentation tool.
One of the best things about talking to these guys is getting a perspective about being a Developer Evangelist from outside of SendGrid. In my next post, I’ll talk with some of the other people of the Developer Relations team about what they think.