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Do You Need a Developer Evangelist for Your Company?

Alekh Verma | February 7, 2023
Developer Evangelist

A developer evangelist is often known by many names such as technical evangelist or technology advocate, and more, but all these names garner the same emotion where people often look at this position as fictitious or irrelevant. There is a common misconception that people believe that a developer evangelist does not play an important role in the company and more often than not people do not fill this position. In reality, if the job is done right then a developer evangelist can play an important role in helping your company grow and reach greater heights.

The first known (successful) instance of a developer evangelist is when Guy Kawasaki was offered to be a developer evangelist in 1983 for a small company known as Apple. And we all know Apple does not need any introduction and neither do we need to tell you the success it achieved after the first Macintosh was released in 1984.

If done right, a developer evangelist will not only play an important role in making your office space more pleasant to work for all parties involved but will also impact your product that’s going to be launched. Developer evangelists act as a link between important stakeholders in the organization and internal technology professionals, including front-line staff and C-level executives. To do this, the development and IT teams must relay intricate but crucial information to higher management.

Let's examine everything you need to know about this developing IT position in this article and assist you in determining whether or not your company requires an evangelist.

Understanding Developer Evangelist

A developer evangelist, sometimes referred to as a technology evangelist or advocate, informs non-technical staff members and outside stakeholders about the benefits of initiatives. Additionally, they guarantee that all the technology and software required for the success of internal staff is available. A developer evangelist's job is mostly focused on communication. In addition to being effective communicators who can clearly explain the value to their community of audience members, evangelists are frequently competent programmers and web designers.

We often see that different factions within one organization do not see eye to eye and there’s a great chance of miscommunication. There’s no point in developing new technology if you cannot even convince your company members to give its approval or good luck convincing the C-level executives why the IT team needs new equipment. These are some tasks that should be left for the expert, you cannot develop a great product and at the same time communicate and get all approvals for your product. This is the job of a developer evangelist- to communicate the needs of all fractions in an organization, to understand what’s required and then deliver on it, to get all kinds of approvals sanctioned so the company can continue to run smoothly.

Think of introducing a new CRM. IT will be worried about the system's deployment and integration - how will it interact with current tools? What kind of infrastructure is needed for it? What about access, storage, and data security? All of these issues are important, yet neither non-technical workers nor C-level executives nor business partners prioritize them. Developer evangelists leverage the information provided by IT teams at that point to make strong arguments in favor of novel technological solutions. This entails emphasizing the benefits of customer service features including accessing previous customer care interactions, developing customer feedback forms, and integrating CRM features with various customer support tools in the event of a new CRM.

Job Description of an Evangelist

The first point of contact for both technical teams and outside stakeholders is the developer evangelist. They enhance IT services and guarantee that internal workers can function efficiently on a large scale.

The following are the duties and prerequisites for the position:

  • Keeping Current with Product Development

One of the requisites of being a developer evangelist is staying up to date with the advancements in your field. An evangelist is required to communicate with all different factions in an organization which makes it important that they are aware of every development to successfully communicate their point. Developer evangelists must be subject-matter experts in their own right to interact with stakeholders in a meaningful manner. Attending development meetings, interacting with programmers and product managers, and even working in and on the product, itself are all required to achieve this.

  • Getting Feedback and Interpreting It to Produce Persuasive Messaging

Evangelists for developers aren't salespeople. Although they are not in marketing or public relations, it is their responsibility to emphasize the importance of technological advancements. Because of their technical knowledge and communication skills, this makes their function distinctive. Developer evangelists make use of their expertise as the basis for effective communication. Developer evangelists are thereby writing the book on IT value rather than merely reading a sales script or a marketing speech.

In light of this, the developer evangelist must represent the internal team's interests when speaking with the C-Suite and the C-Suite when speaking with the internal team. They must build relationships with important stakeholders and gain support for this to happen.

  • Increasing Internal Stakeholder Communication with the C-Suite

Instead of trying to bridge complicated communication chasms brought on by age, culture, knowledge, and job function disparities, the development team's mission is to produce products. If the development team starts focusing on communicating their every idea or need to stakeholders or management, then there be little time and freedom left for them to show some creativity and produce something awe-inspiring. This is where evangelists come in.

Developer evangelists assist C-level personnel in making decisions that are advantageous to the organization by making IT's communications to higher management accessible. It is their responsibility to communicate the value of using software or following best practices in a way that non-technical staff members will comprehend and relate to.

  • Continuous Developmental Education

Developer evangelists must be adept in technology. There is no shortage of technical knowledge for developer evangelists to comprehend and implement in their daily work, from cloud computing to open-source code, mobile app development, and the Internet of Things.

Developer evangelists often have development experience, though the precise technical abilities required will vary depending on the enterprise. However, if you aren't practicing those talents often and staying up to date with industry changes, it's simple to let them deteriorate. You must adopt a philosophy of lifelong learning if you want to be a successful developer evangelist. Although you might not be using your technical knowledge for development, a developer evangelist must be up-to-date with technology to understand the developers and successfully communicate their message to other factions of the organization.

  • Process optimization and operational management

One of your main goals as a developer evangelist is to reduce the conflict and pain points that the organization's IT and development teams experience. You must be able to relate to people on an emotional level and be able to solve issues by establishing new procedures and systems that benefit every member of the organization. This calls for in-depth familiarity with the business's current procedures as well as the organizational abilities to strengthen and develop them.

Now that we are clear about the evangelist function in an organization, let's examine some of the abilities required to be successful in it.

Skills Required of Developer Evangelists

Here are some skills that you must possess if you’re thinking about becoming a developer evangelist or if you’re an organization that’s looking to hire an evangelist then make sure the potential candidate has all the skills mentioned below-

1. Coding Expertise

It is a no-brainer that one of the most important skills that an evangelist must possess is coding expertise. Although they might not be required to write a code themselves but possessing the knowledge will most definitely help them in understanding what the developers are creating, and moving forward they can communicate with other factions of the organization on the developer’s behalf. If the evangelist does not have coding knowledge, then there’s little to no use for their existence in the company.

Thus, evangelists require technical knowledge to interact with developers on their terms. They ought to be able to write code, test and alter their programs, and offer development teams advice on how to boost their functionality. Having technical knowledge makes evangelists irreplaceable for an organization because they can suggest enhancements to the development team or boost the effectiveness of services. They continue to grow, but they do so based more on tutorials, training materials, and examples than on actual products.

You can improve in a number of areas to become a developer advocate such as creating coding tutorials, and blogs, speaking in public, making a stream or podcast, or supporting the developer community by engaging in a variety of other activities.

2. Communication Skills

To make sure that apps fit business needs and IT criteria, developer evangelists also need "soft skills" like moderation and communication. Evangelists must communicate with all parties involved and translate technical expertise into useful commercial insight. This entails translating business requests or concerns into precise IT advice.

An evangelist works as a bridge between different fields in an organization and they must possess the people skills and ability to communicate with each one of these fields. If they cannot communicate to the higher level what a developer or IT team might need then there are a lot of things that will get lost in translation and might end up affecting the growth of the organization.

3. Empathy and Patience

One of the traits of a developer evangelist that helps him succeed in his work is empathy. Sensitivity varies on the individual and is especially beneficial to those who have the necessary experience to mentor and direct others as they progress toward their jobs. Although they might not have the greatest experience on the team, they are the most understanding and approachable to the concerns of other team members.

Developer evangelists spend a lot of time describing their position and responding to inquiries, frequently regarding their level of technical knowledge and experience. This makes their capacity for patience crucial. Evangelists have to respond to a lot of repetitive inquiries about their work while also highlighting the advantages of fresh initiatives and applications. Since they also work with many teams that include individuals with various personalities and degrees of expertise or experience, patience is undoubtedly a quality that every development evangelist should possess.

4. Networking Ability

Networking with PR teams, development groups, business contacts, and media agencies are necessary for evangelists to assist firms in attracting fresh talent and improving enterprise reputation at scale. To accomplish this, it is necessary to network within both the social and professional spheres and to make sure that contacts are always in the know regarding goods and services.

A good evangelist should be aware of the potential for growing their network of friends and associates. Even though developer evangelists aren't involved in sales or marketing, they nevertheless need to be knowledgeable about the entire procedure. Their ability to link and influence all teams with authority, underlining the importance of development, coding, and presentation to management, is a key team attribute. They must also have significant business knowledge and understanding of the complete process.

5. Organization Skills

Organizational abilities are essential for delivering information on time and as needed when managing many tasks. Many evangelists frequently travel while still responding to inquiries about service specifics or technical guidance. A schedule and excellent time management are essential for success in this position. With the amount of workload that evangelists handle and the different factions they communicate to, they must possess the organizational skills to juggle different tasks seamlessly.

The next question that comes to everyone's mind once we've thoroughly covered who a developer evangelist is, what their work entails, and the qualifications they must possess is: Do you need one for your business? If a new employee won't benefit your company, there's no reason for recruiting them. So, let’s move forward and see if your organization needs an evangelist.

Do You Need a Developer Evangelist for Your Company?

Large established firms that have several teams and levels must maintain a particular degree of quality that will seem enticing enough to quality developers to join and stay there, even while tiny companies aim for quality when employing developers.

Developer evangelists are the ones who arbitrate communication between various teams, keep developers in the spotlight by planning various events and a hackathon, and emphasize the significance of the goods that customers purchase. The developer advocate acts as a liaison between senior executives who want to make money and achieve results and the desires of development teams. Although the job is neither straightforward nor easy, someone is available to complete it.

Teams on various sides of the process see more and more opportunities to work as the IT industry expands. On one side, whether it's a website or an application, developers are receiving an increasing number of requests for product development. On the other hand, customer service and marketing teams get feedback on any problems that might be the root of the problems. Developer evangelists walk the tightrope between both parties. They must be able to identify the application's flaws and fix them, as well as highlight the choices that could be profitable for the company. They must also always be alert to customer concerns and willing to address them.

Large organizations, therefore, employ development advocates to remain desirable to developers and to make use of all networking possibilities. The article demonstrates why it is a smart idea to hire coders. But it's up to you to make the final choice.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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