It’s a great time to start a new role as a Technical Evangelist even if you have never done it before. Many companies are looking to hire talented people to help them being successful within the developer community. Since I’ve been asked to share my experience on finding this type of role more than once, here are some of my tips.
As I mentioned in my article what is a developer advocate, this job title does not always have the same meaning from one place to another. So it’s important that you define what is exactly the role you are looking for.
What is the high-level mission you should take on? What day-to-day actions should you do to reach your potential goals? What is the kind of impact this new hire will have on the business? What do you need and how other parts of the company can support you? There are many questions you can ask during the interview process, but be prepared to know what kinds of answers you are looking for.
No matter what, be ready to toss away some interesting potential opportunities when you realize you don’t have the same vision about that job. Don’t be afraid to also let it go when the hiring process is shitty: quite often, HR is a great representation of everything that goes wrong inside a company…
In addition to the role itself, relocation and travelling are important points you don’t want to underestimate.
Depending on the company and where you live, there are a lot of chances that they want you where they are. At that point, it’s your choice, but they should deal with the relocation logistic and everything cost-wise. Still, it’s a big life change! Be ready as it will probably be one of the first questions they’ll ask you to help them filter candidates.
As for travelling, depending on the company’s vision, it will be between 20 and 80% of your time. There are many reasons for that. Your team is distributed and you will meet every quarter. Maybe you are remote and need to go to the mothership once in a while. You mentor hackathons, attend meetups or speak at conferences. No matter what, travel will be involved. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun, but it’s also demanding on different levels.
Life is all about perception, whether you like it or not, so take the ownership of your personal brand, because even if you didn’t know, you have one.
Even if I firmly believe that soft skills are more important than hard skills in that type of role, your future manager wants someone with the right fit. Research what is needed for the job you want and show the people in the hiring process that you get what they need.
My last piece of advice is to use LinkedIn as much as you can. Traditional resume is dead: I don’t have one since more than 8 years, so my LinkedIn profile is my weapon of choice. Be sure it’s updated! I also used LinkedIn for search and alerts to be sure I didn’t miss any opportunities. It’s the only tool I’ve used in addition to my network in my last searches. Quite often, time is the key.
The hiring process is usually long. No matter the size of the company, it will take a minimum of two months. Including often more than height interviews (I had eleven at Fitbit)! So the better you are prepared and the more you know what you want, and don’t want, the sooner you’ll land your dream job.
By coming prepared like that and being proactive on many fronts when I started to look for a new job, it saved me a lot of time and I can definitely say that after being at Fitbit for 5 months now that I’ve made the right choice… Since it’s all about passion and that we are spending so much time at work, you don’t want to end up somewhere where you won’t be happy, do you?