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Your path can be very different. You can be a CS grad or a college dropout, a physics PhD or a musician - but you need the experience of building software systems before trying to teach others how to do so. Whether it's for two years or twenty, legacy enterprise development or freelance open-source contributions, a developer advocate must have done the thing that they are hoping to teach others. Without the technical experience, how can you teach a bunch of techies? Angie Jones writes:
The Python fake data producer for Apache Kafka® is a complete demo app allowing you to quickly produce JSON fake streaming datasets and push it to an Apache Kafka topic.
Majority of companies layer DevRel on top of marketing as a sort of afterthought, and that’s usually a recipe for failure. All four co-founders at Aiven (the company where I work at) have been long-time open-source maintainers/contributors and highly value the work of DevRel. Similar examples can be seen at HashiCorp, where co-founder Armon Dadgar has been doing DevRel on the whiteboard since the early days of the company. Technical founders know the value of DevRel and know when to form a DevRel team. This is very different from bringing your first DevRel hire onboard and making them convince the leadership why the company needs DevRel in the first place. If your developer advocate needs to explain to the technical leadership the need for DevRel, that's a red flag for that individual and the company.
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