Learn about our approach to developer advocacy, from choosing Developer Advocates to represent and engage our community, to how we approach the work.
HashiCorp started with developer advocacy at its core. Our founders were Developer Advocates early on, sharing their ideas with the community and engaging directly with them for feedback. As the company has grown, Developer Relations has become its own team and within it, the Developer Advocates are working at the core of how we engage the community.
At HashiCorp, we see Developer Advocates as representatives of our community as a whole from both a level of experience perspective as well as a passion for our tools. As such, we try to hire people with an engineering mindset who can identify and solve infrastructure automation workflows with HashiCorp tools. We also look for people who are in general agreement with the Tao of HashiCorp to be authentic representatives of the company.
In order to understand the challenges our practitioners face every day and relay those challenges back to our Product and Engineering teams, we need to empathize with them. As hard as we work to make our tools easy to use and accessible to various levels of experience, that process is a journey for us as well as our users.
Our principles play a big role in this understanding of the journey. Developer Advocates address their responsibilities with integrity, pragmatism, and humility.
Integrity is important, especially because Developer Advocates publicly represent both their professional and company brand. Sometimes, our tools don’t fit in a specific environment, and they always have room to improve. We encourage our Developer Advocates to publicly identify these gaps, and on occasion when needed, have difficult conversations outlining the problem and brainstorming solutions.
Integrity also means putting the user and their needs first. That involves having honest conversations with users as well as engineers inside the company.
Your system might not always need a HashiCorp product. If your current solution works well for you, keep building and maintaining it. Pragmatism is key in proposing solutions that work in today’s business environment. Greenfield deployments are rare, there are always challenges between the proposed ideal environment and implementation. We take the approach of proposing the best solution for the conditions, instead of what might be a perfect but impractical solution.
Humility is core to who we are, as we are always learning more about the technology we support and how we can help our users. We encourage our Developer Advocates to recognize when they’re not familiar with the answer to a question and seek more information. What you encounter when you meet a Developer Advocate at an event is the culmination of a great deal of work, struggle, and input.
One of our goals is to show some of this work and lessons learned along the way to make the role more accessible. For example, Developer Advocates often share their own struggles and mistakes by live coding on our HashiCorp Live Twitch channel. We’re all learning.
Many of our Developer Advocates do not come from a prior developer relations role. They often have engineering experience working with one or more HashiCorp tools as well as some writing or speaking experience. New HashiCorp Developer Advocates start by focusing on one tool to learn its implementation, nuances, and community. We also encourage them to try and creatively experiment with different content types.
Developer Advocates spend a fair bit of time consulting with practitioners, reading about experiences of our practitioners online and gathering feedback, working with engineers to better understand feature implementations, improving documentation, consulting on talks, writing CFPs and more.
Many of our HashiCorp Developer Advocates work to build global communication channels, such as speaking at conferences, directly chatting with engineers in hallway tracks, holding virtual office hours, collaborating with an industry working group, or writing blog posts, articles, and tutorials. Working on their own projects and with community members also can reveal previously unidentified issues and possible solutions, and as a result, Developer Advocates will sometimes contribute tutorials or documentation changes. They also help to inform the roadmap of our tools by consolidating this feedback from the community and prioritizing it for impact with the help of our Technical Community Managers.
In some cases, Developer Advocates will also contribute code to existing projects, or create new ones. Recent examples include working on the CNCF service mesh interface along with conceiving and developing the Terraform Cloud Operator for Kubernetes.
While the day-to-day work of our Developer Advocates varies widely, we have clear goals and measurements as a Developer Relations team. We challenge each of them to create content in a variety of forms because people learn in different ways. Most importantly, they pursue topics that excite them and help all of us in the community.
HashiCorp Developer Advocates aim to help you achieve that “aha!” moment, whether it involves implementing a workflow, debugging a configuration, learning a tool, or building a new integration. As experienced engineers and continuous learners, our Developer Advocates care about sharing what they learn with other practitioners. With integrity, pragmatism, and humility in mind, they have an ongoing dialogue with our community to improve and expand each HashiCorp tool.
If you want to learn from our Developer Advocates, check out some of their talks featured on our conference and community playlist on YouTube. You can also find them interviewing engaging guests and producing podcast episodes on HashiCasts. Interact with them in real-time during Community Office Hours on YouTube and HashiCorpLive on Twitch.
If you’re interested in developer advocacy as a career, check out our HashiCorp Learn tracks for workflows that interest you, reach out to me on Twitter, and keep an eye on our job board.
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