From Development to Developer Advocate
Well, for those who are wondering who’s a Developer Advocate like the same thought I had when tried for this new role, here’s a short answer: We help developers succeed by engaging with the community and providing them with the necessary resources and support to adopt SAP technologies. Engaging with the community involves actively participating in events, forums, and online communities to connect with developers, understand their needs, gather feedback and bring it back to SAP product development.
Having worked in product development and consulting for almost 2 decades, to me, what could be more exciting than a customer and partner facing role. I always had pride in the product that I was associated with and tried every bit of an opportunity to showcase it our customers. So, being a Developer Advocate was a best fit to try out the new challenge. This is a bit of my intro and now let’s get back to Developer Advocates.
Developer Advocate in India
As SAP community has a wide reach in APJ region, there was a need to have a Developer Advocate team in APJ region to cover the various engagements that we do with the community. A new team was set up in India that will initially focus on the topics of ABAP Cloud, SAP Build and SAP Cloud Application Programming. The task to set up this newbie team was given to our energetic and passionate Senior Developer Advocate Josh Bentley (you may have seen him, he’s the one with the blue beard)
We met the team in person for the first time when Josh arrived in SAP Labs India which coincidentally was also his birthday. We kickstarted the team intro, shared our work experience, set the expectation for the next few weeks of training, gave a tour of our lovely campus, and ended the day with a cake cutting. When we kickstarted the team set up, the entire team was not yet fully onboarded. Couple of them were still in transition from the previous team. One team member was relocating to India from Germany. We had combinations of internal transition and international relocation. Initial days was full of questions and Josh had to calmly tell every time that he will be covering the topic in coming weeks. The key to be a good mentor is to have patience and smile is what I learnt 😊
Team set up was for a period of 5 weeks and we had to get familiar with all the different engagements that our team will be responsible. To achieve this, Josh had a structured timeline of tasks for each week. Although, the time pressure was felt, it was necessary to break the ice.
Over the weeks we started to get familiar with the team objectives and various activities for the developer community. To name a few of the prominent events:
- CodeJams which is a developer community focused event, where you can check out specific SAP technology, platforms and tools through simple, end-to-end scenarios.
- SAP Developer News where we highlight the latest developments related to SAP technology.
- Code samples helps developers learn and upskill.
- Devtoberfest, an open celebration of coding and collaboration
- TechEd, a premier event for developers
Status progress over the weeks
Week 1: Introduction to social media – As a developer advocate, staying connected with the community and being up to date with SAP technology are essential aspects of the role. What better way than being active in social media to outreach the audience. Knowing certain social media etiquettes was an eye opener as we need to be more conscious on branding and marketing of the content. These platforms also provide resources shared by fellow developers in one place and is quite effective. Now, this has become a ritual to keep a constant check for our learning.
Week 2: The team spirit was boosted with the arrival of Thomas Jung, Head of Developer Advocacy who had finished few CodeJams in Australia and came to train us before heading back home. News of Thomas and Josh visit to our office was widespread and SAP Stammtisch Plus event was organized in SAP Labs India for a short meet up with community. This week’s task was to present a topic of our choice to make us comfortable as a speaker. Being a speaker is a key for Developer Advocate as many of our activities includes public speaking addressing the community. The new team was also introduced in the official Developer News.
Week 3: Task was to create a sample Developer News segment. Every week, Developer News brings you the important activities related to SAP technology. We had to learn the basics of video recording, editing, enhancing audio and finally producing it. These 1-2 minutes video segments covering the highlights of the week have turned out to be quite effective. Give a try and check it out at SAP Developer channel. It was so fun trying to record a news segment and produce it like an official news. We got many bloopers in the making 😉
Week 4: One of the key activities that we engage in all year is leading CodeJams. We had our first mock CodeJam on ABAP Cloud in our office only for SAP colleagues. This boosted the team spirit and the role that we get to play wherein we prepare to meet our customers and partners on regular basis, share the knowledge as SAP expert and bring back the feedback to our SAP product family. Not everyone has a privilege to engage with the community like the opportunity that we have. We were also asked by our colleagues on how we grabbed this new role.
Week 5: By now, the new team’s presence was well known in the community and had good visibility. Proof of this is the number of new connections on social media and networking with customers and partners that happened in the past few weeks. Before we knew it, a CodeJam in Kolkata hosted by IBM on SAP Build was scheduled. This event was so fulfilling, and I felt so proud to work for SAP. We met with many SAP enthusiasts from the community, good conversation on the client use cases which gives insight into real world scenarios, lots of networking and more request for CodeJams.
By the end of the first phase, we were transitioned from being a newbies to a more confident and comfortable persona. This wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance from Josh and Tom to start with. Our fellow developer advocates spread across the globe supported us and pitched in for any concerns that we had. This made easy to gel with the team and feel like we knew the team from a long time. We checked the previous works and events done by the team to gain inspiration and insights. It helped us to think and plan on how we should stand out as an individual and have our own voice. Confidence also comes from meeting various stakeholders from product management which helps us to become a subject matter expert.
This great team looks forward to work with you.
With this, I end the blog post with many more events and activities to come. Stay tuned!!