The Beginning of my Weeknotes
So, I'm currently sat on the train from Bristol to London to start my first day as a Developer Advocate for IBM. I thought I'd note down some of my initial thoughts before I have my first day, so that I can look back to see how things compare.
One of my goals will be to start writing weekly 'weeknotes' as I go along, as this is a job that I feel I can really expand my own personal development. I'm going to be making a weekly trip to London, so my plan is to use the train journey as a chance to reflect on each week and look at what went well and what didn't. What was frustrating, what did I learn, what excited me, etc.
I've been quite quiet on Coil in the past few weeks as I've been getting things ready to start this new role, but will be back to writing about neural networks and AI... and coffee... again soon, I promise! As in fact, this will kind of be my actual job now!
So, what is a “Developer Advocate”? It is a role which helps developers get the best out of a platform or tool. It is not a sales or marketing role, but an education role. Whilst ultimately the goal for my employers is to get more people using their products, it is about empowering developers to make informed choices and to get the best out of the tools and products they have available.
Also sometimes known as as “Developer Evangelist” and “Developer relations”, this is something I want to ask my new colleagues, do they see these terms as interchangeable, or do they see differences in them?
As some of you may know, I love doing talks, and writing about technologies. I have an innate desire to learn myself, and my main mantra is that if I can't explain how something works to someone else then I don't really understand it myself.
In the past, I have spoken at numerous conferences, workshops, meetups, etc. and organised several large developer conferences. Most recently I gave talks at PHPSW and SW Mobile on an Introduction to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Tomorrow I will be attending an IBM Code Bristol event on getting machine learning models ready for the cloud. I am also doing a remote lecture tomorrow for Computer Science students at Samford University. I've also been blogging about machine learning, and was doing a weekly talk on explaining cryptocurrencies. Next month I will be doing a talk on machine learning in Ljubljana at the DragonPy conference.
So this new job is right up my alley. I will be paid to educate people and play around with new technologies and services that IBM and the wider world create. This is kind of a role I've done in the past, but never in a paid capacity (so yes, cryptocurrency folk, I guess you can now call me a 'paid shill'). It has always been an incidental role. I ran a web development agency for 16 years and it was one of my main roles at the Technical Director, but it always seemed a hard role to justify in a small team. It is something that is very hard to quantify. I'll be interested to see how the IBM Developer Advocacy team measure their success, as I think they likely have a better means of tracking metrics.
I don't yet know exactly what my day to day role will involve exactly, but I think my first tasks will be to start scouting for events and conferences to attend and learning more specifically about some of IBM's offerings around machine learning, AI, containers, and the likes. I've met (virtually) a few of my new colleagues already, and super excited to be working with them, as seem like a very talented and enthusiastic bunch of people.