Outline your writing to ease the creative process

For most of my career I’ve been a software developer, but now I’m mostly a communicator. As a manager, I give the right level of detail to many different audiences, and I deliver that in words they can understand. As a Developer Advocate, I explain complex technical concepts in useful, memorable, and occasionally entertaining ways. However the best software developers are lazy and I’m still always looking for ways to get things done with less effort on my part! For writing, the best process I know feels like unnecessary overhead, but it’s always worth it in the end so today I’m sharing my secrets: create an outline before you start. Continue reading

Keeping your finger on the (digital) pulse

Whether you are building your own presence, or representing a brand or employer online, it’s useful to know what people are saying! Keeping up with all those possible places you should look for news or mentions can be pretty laborious and when things are busy, it’s difficult to keep up with this work unless you have some decent tooling in place. There are some great automation offerings around but here’s my very basic strategy.

TL;DR a bookmarks folder in my browser to open a bunch of saved searches all at once. Continue reading

Considering Developer Relations as a Career Move

I think that Developer Relations is a fabulous career, and I’m often asked how I got started, or how someone else could get started. There are a lot of people hiring for Developer Relations roles just now (including me!) so here are my tips.

There are so many different Developer Relations roles (called “DevRel”) that I am definitely going to fall short of covering them all in any sort of detail! My own background is in Software Engineering, and I’ve mostly worked as a Developer Advocate since making the move into DevRel, so that’s my context here. Continue reading

Best Things About Developer Advocacy

There are some excellent articles around about what a Developer Advocate does, but have you ever wondered WHY we do what we do? I tried to articulate this when chatting with another developer lately, and I’m still thinking about it! So I thought I’d write it down to share a little more widely why I love this strange, misshapen career as much as I do. Continue reading

Lab Book Meets Bullet Journal

I enjoy a productivity hack as much as the next person, and I’m often asked about my setup. My background is in engineering (I hold an MEng in Electronic Engineering from York) and recognise the legacy of the lab book in much of what I do. If you’re new to the lab book concept, check out this excellent article on how to maintain one properly. My practice breaks a LOT of the lab book rules and is also heavily influenced by the Bullet Journal trend (if you have time to spare, the instagram #bulletjournal hashtag gives a prettier introduction), which is a way to combine the benefits of productivity and processing information by writing it. Today’s post gives a quick tour of my process. Continue reading

Digital Developer Relations: Past and Future

I work in Developer Relations, or “DevRel”, and 2020 was a strange year with travel restrictions that meant that the entire industry did everything online, or digitally. I see this as a very positive progression of the way we work as DevRel professionals, and I understand that might be controversial, but I’d like to back up my position so hear me out (and then let me know what you think!). Continue reading

Support for Speakers

I’ve been a conference speaker for 10 years; I’ve given many talks, been to many events, organised a few events, and now have Opinions (TM) about conference speaking. This tweet showed up in my feed when someone tweeted at me to thank me for my support in their talks.

My approach to supporting other speakers is not really about the audience I would like (we’re all different!), but more about making two things happen:

  • someone being the best they can be
  • them getting credit for that

In fact I’ve been a speaker coach and mentor for a few years and have variously watched rehearsals, suggested where to stand and not stand, walked nervous speakers around outside before their talk, fetched water … all sorts of things. However this twitter thread (I got a bunch of tweets and the replies are also great) shows that _anyone_ can give great support to any speaker, whether you know them or not. Here are my favourite three things to do to support anyone giving a talk. Continue reading

What does a Developer Advocate do?

I’m a Developer Advocate (you might also hear job titles like Developer Relations, Developer Evangelist) and I’m constantly asked what that means. What do I do? The answer is different for every one of these jobs but there are some common themes. After 18 months of practice at answering this question, I think I’m ready to give it a go. Continue reading