Courtney Boyd Myers takes a good look at the life of a developer evangelist. Near the end of the article, Christian Heilmann, author of the modern day textbook of developer evangelism, gives good advice:
On Travel: “It is very important to be visible. This could be in-person, around the globe but it is also as important to be online with answers in the right discussion threads, screencasts, videos and the like.”
On Becoming a Developer Evangelist: “If you haven’t worked in delivery of products and felt the pain of developers out there, don’t try to become an evangelist. You need to come from the trenches or you’ll be ripped to shreds by a very knowledgable and cynical audience. Also be aware that your integrity is your main weapon. You need to be known as someone who cares and knows about technology, not as a spokesperson for a certain product.”
The Future of Developer Evangelism: “I can see evangelism… to become a more known part of companies and merge with or take over a lot of the traditional marketing and PR roles. More and more companies realise that developers are just another audience you need to care for as much as you do for end users.”
As someone who has previously spent two years as a Microsoft developer evangelist, I have to say that those two years were probably the most fulfilling two years of my career. I experienced more things, met more people and learnt more new stuff in those two years than any other phase of my working life. As a Microsoft developer evangelist, you are expected to be part developer, part marketer, part business development guy, part program manager, part presenter and all-around geek. A lot of tight deadlines to meet and impossible KPIs to reach, but a whole lot of fun as well.
I’m with Heilmann on this one. I wholeheartedly recommend developer evangelism as a career choice.