Technical Evangelism, a fairly young discipline, may contain fewer than a thousand people today. A few folks may be doing it part time and others who think that they are doing it when they are really not. Overall, it’s a really fun job: you get to meet smart people, learn new technologies, create fun demos and travel to various conferences.
I was having lunch with a friend of mine, a software engineer, and we got to talking about the different emphasis of our jobs. I came through the development ranks so it was easy for me to compare what I used to do with what I am doing right now. If you are a developer looking for a more outward facing role, this article is for you.
Number one thing you have to remember: as a technical evangelist your job is to market. The metrics are about how many developers outside of your company adopt your API. Most of the technical evangelism organizations I have interacted with have one or more objective metrics. Those metrics are a combination of the following:
- Applications that integrate with your API.
- Developer sandboxes requested.
- The size of the registered developers in your community.
- Satisfaction of the people that attend your events.
Some people add intermediate goals to this such as the number of blog posts, or samples or various activities, but I think at the end of it all the four categories above directly impact the revenue and help sales. The general activity of a technical evangelist consists of:
- Working with the customers and partners.
- Writing about your technology.
- Presenting at conferences.
- Hosting webinars.
- Creating demos.
Having a background in software development absolutely helps because developers are a tough crowd, but you will need to extend yourself beyond the code. The developers who I have seen fail at this job might have been great engineers, but could never cross the social chasm to start connecting with others to educate them about the value of the technology they were evangelizing. If you can do it, it’s well worth the trip you will probably be blazing on the trail of our joint technological future.