🌱 Life at Draftbit - First 3 Months as a Developer Advocate
Published on May 25, 2021
6 min read
It has been 3 months since I joined Draftbit. It feels like I’ve been on a journey. I was initially hired as a tech writer but the role eventually evolved (within a month) into Developer Advocate 🥑.
On a personal level, the first thing I learned is that embrace your surroundings (new) without overthinking too much. It has been the highlight for me this year, so far.
But for the past few years, I have been writing blog posts and tutorials. Trying to document what I am learning in a way I could go back and read the stuff myself or refer to someone else when required. I do not have an extraordinary memory and like to take notes when I am learning. I enjoy the process. It doesn't feel like "work".
What is a Developer Advocate?🔗
In 2019, when I first got to know about Draftbit at App.js conf, I was excited to learn that there's a world beyond building mobile apps inside VSCode (insert your preferred editor here). At that time though I did not know what exactly a Dev Advocate is.
What I've gathered about Dev Advocacy or understand right now is that various organizations differ in responsibilities when it comes to the role. Though there are common responsibilities or activities that most people working in Dev Advocacy share. Content creating is one. Brand awareness. Creating and sharing resources through the medium of blogging or live streams publishing videos and speaking at remote or offline events. Building community is also one aspect of it. Creating demos using the product to solve specific use cases is another aspect.
Without spreading out my unorganized thoughts around the matter too much, here are some of the resources that helped me get the context on what Developer Advocacy is:
- Sam Julien's book on Getting Started in Developer Relations
A few weeks back I did share my thoughts in the newsletter. I do recommend this book if you are seeking your first role or are curious about getting to know more. This is the best introduction I've found so far. It made me realize that I have been doing some of the stuff in my free time that a Dev Advocate might do.
- Mary Thengvall's The Business Value of Developer Relations
It goes more in-depth and talks about the importance of nurturing a community, maintaining positive relations, building a team of DevRels, and much more. She has an amazing post on her blog sharing her own experience.
Working with Draftbit🔗
Since joining, a common question I get asked is how my day as a Developer Advocate looks like. I would say, depending on the day, that it depends. 🙃
It depends on some factors as to the kind of thing I am working on, in the following week. Usually, I spend a huge amount of time creating guides and tutorials for various use cases or some of the features that get released. At times, I am trying to help community members to resolve their issues.
Living in an Eastern time zone is one of the reasons that I had missed out on some of the exciting opportunities in past. But here, it is a welcoming aspect. I think it is good to have open mind about it in this ever connected world.
The experience has been a delightful one. I have huge gratitude to express for the entire team at Draftbit. They are friendly, have tons of experience, are willing to offer feedback and helpful suggestions, and allow me to express my own ideas (which I think is vital to be a part of something and be excited about it at the same time).
Some challenges and personal obstacles🔗
One challenge that I face at times is explaining the semantics of the product from a non-engineering point of view, in written words.
Draftbit is a visual tool to build a mobile app. It is uses React Native and Expo's ecosystem under the hood. The end-user does not have to know about that and there is no requirement for them to know React Native framework.
I've spent a lot of time in the first three months on a feature called Custom Code. It is an advanced feature where an individual can utilize open-source libraries available with Expo and React Native to achieve custom functionalities like integrating a Camera within their app or utilize Firebase Authentication.
This requires me to create demos and write guides in a way that an individual from non-technical background or having no React Native experience can understand with little effort. One way I am trying to tackle is to explain concepts without including too much technical jargon.
If I cannot avoid mentioning something that I think is too technical, I try to provide references or links to documentation wherever necessary to provide a better context (or try improve the internal documentation). Including GIFs of the flow of work or documenting steps to achieve the desired result is another thing that has become a part of my flow.
Making cameo appearances on Draftbit’s YouTube channel is one more thing I am getting comfortable with. I never thought I would engage in speaking in public (👋 hello, anxiety) but now I've done it a few times in a row. I won't say I am good at it. There is a lot of room to improve on a personal level but without doing it I wouldn't know that. Engaging in this activity has helped me realize that coming out of my shell is important.
Here is me talking about Custom Code during Draftbit office hours:
🙌 Shoutout to my colleague Nick for these timely opportunities.
Providing a value is vital and it is with this mindset I try to approach things. Working as a Developer Advocate, I get to do it more often and it is fun!
If you want to work with me, check out draftbit.com/jobs to see if there's a role that is exciting to you.
If you want to talk about Draftbit, have questions, or React Native, or DevRel, please DM me on Twitter.
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Software Developer and Technical Writer since 2017. Loves learning and writing about Node.js, React, React Native & Expo. Previously, worked as Developer Advocate, independent consultant, and technical writer with companies like Draftbit, Vercel and Crowdbotics.