From SysAdmin to Developer Relations!

Career Jun 29, 2021

Over the past few years within the IT industry the rise of Developer Relations or Cloud Advocate roles has increased.  The Developer Relations teams act as a link between the products and the users.  One thing to note is that the term Developer Relations or DevRel they aren't exclusive to talking to the developer audience.  

I've made a career within the IT Pro/Sys Admin/Infrastructure side of things and I work within DevRel.  There are a lot of audiences within IT and they all need attention.  The industry isn't just made up of developers. 😉

If you are someone who wants to help build and develop relationships with users, and ensure their voice is heard then I'd like to share some practical advice that might help you make the transition into DevRel. 👍

Practice Public Speaking

Changes are your role as a Cloud Advocate will involve public speaking in some form or other.  So it's definitely something that you want to invest in and learn about.

For me practice is key here. Doing it gives you experience and learning opportunities each time.  Look for your local meetups and start there, they are usually very welcoming to new speakers and are usually very friendly communities.  The more you do it the more you will feel confident about the process.

Training and mentorship is something that can also help.  There are lots of training courses both virtual and in person that can help you learn more about public speaking.  Looking to someone who has done a lot of public speaking and asking them to help mentor you, and give you feedback and practical tips.  There are a lot of groups that can help identify a mentor, Speaking Mentors is one.

Contribute to the community

It's crucial to be a part of the community, there are a number of ways you can do this.

Being active on social media is one way.  Social Media has it's negative points but it does have it's advantages as well.  Find the hashtags that your community and audience use.  Join in conversations, get to know people. 😊

Create blogs and video content. You can build up your portfolio on both, or just one.  But starting to build up your portfolio of tips, tricks, technical solutions you've created/found will not only help you (they can act as your own wee knowledge base), but it can also help to raise your profile.  I recently did some panel discussions with some colleagues around the reasons we blog and also one on video creation.

Learn about Developer Relations

As well as interacting with your audience you also need to think about being a better professional, getting better at your role and being able help grow the Developer Relations org within your company.  So learning about it, speaking to your peers can be helpful.

I've subscribed to Developer Avocados Weekly and DevRel Weekly newsletters to get a broader insight into other things happening in the community.

The Big Picture

Ultimately Developer Relations.  Cloud Advocacy is all about education, community, awareness and feedback.  And if you focus on those four pillars you'll not go far wrong! 😉

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