The fifteenth Developer Avocado 🥑 we interviewed for this year’s advent was Dwane Hemmings. Dwane recorded the interview in quite a creative fashion, and added a transcript to it, which we’ve added here as well. Enjoy the video, and we’ll see y’all tomorrow!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks to the Developer Avocados for letting me be a part of the 2020 Adventcado.
A little bit about me. Besides family, 2 of the most consistent things in my life have been HIPHOP and CODE.
Both have provided me opportunities to be able to see and do cool things and meet amazing like-minded people who I get to call friends.
Every once in a while when inspiration hits, I like to design things, mostly t-shirts, logos, etc.
I’ve been hosting a radio show called OUR show here in Orlando, Florida at a local college station for a little over 11 years now. We then take the show and turn it into a podcast so that people around the world can get a chance to listen to it later.
I also like to make random websites and web applications. Whenever I’m learning a new topic or technology, I like to build something using it so I can understand it better.
Plus it feeds my addiction to buying domain names.
Some may call it a problem. I call it a learning opportunity.
Hmmm… What else?
I live in a van called DOM!
It’s been about 3 or 4 months and I’m slowly building out the inside. I want to be able to live in it and see where the things I use fit best for me before finalizing a layout.
The plan was to be able to travel to different places around the country and be embedded in the local HIPHOP and tech scenes and meet and speak with folks.
But then there was COVID and that changed up the plans. It’s cool though because I still get to travel and work from different locations like parks which I enjoy.
How did you get into Developer Relations?
I’m pretty active in the local Orlando coding meetup community. I go to a lot of different events and take any opportunity to speak or give a lightning talk about something I’m learning and excited about and I get also to speak with other folks at a meetup.
I met a friend who is in Developer Relations and they said I would be pretty good at it. I asked them what was involved and found out that I could be making a living doing what I was doing for free already. Sign me up.
Now, have you ever bought a car and right after that, you start to see the same car everywhere you go? That’s how it was for me when I discovered the world of Developer Relations.
I kept seeing Dev Rel positions on different job boards. One day, I saw one for Nexmo (now, Vonage). I was like, “I know them!” I use their SMS API to be able to send notifications to listeners when the radio show is live. I remembered having a good experience setting it up.
I looked more into the company and saw they did WAY MORE!
What I also liked was that there was an email to send resumes to. Now, I’ve always been a hobby coder and a few years ago decided to see if I could turn that hobby into a profession and attended a coding bootcamp. All the jobs I got previously were due to meeting people and showing them what I was capable of. The automated upload screening process instantly rejects me because I don’t have certain predefined keywords.
So I sent an email that listed what the position was looking for and for each one, I had a description of how I felt I met the requirements and linked to whether it be a video of a talk, blog post, or a web application I did.
Got a response, did some interviews, built a demo application, and now I’m here.
What advice would you give people looking to join you?
Disclaimer: I’m horrible at giving general advice. I think it would be different depending on the situation someone is in. So I guess, reach out if you want something specific.
For me though, Dev Rel by definition involves dealing with people, so be welcoming, be cool, be patient, and be understanding.
Basically be a good human being.
How has your role changed in the past year?
Well, I’ve only been doing DevRel for about a year, so it’s all still new to me.
Before everything shut down, I was able to travel and speak with people from all over the world about what they are into. Now, it’s online which is different, it’s okay, but different.
Other than events, this year, I’ve been able to
- do some research into new technologies,
- write some blog posts,
- create demo applications,
- update documentation,
- take part in live streams,
- record tutorials,
- do some actual user testing, which was great,
- and some other things I’m probably forgetting.
If the Developer Avocados have me back next year, I guess we can compare then.
How do you see the future of DevRel?
Well, 2020 has pretty much thrown any predictions I have right out the window.
Like I said before, I believe DevRel is centered around developer interaction, so if the way we interact with developers changes, I believe DevRel will adapt.
So yeah, I think that’s everything.
Once again, thanks to the Developer Avocados for having me. Shouts to everyone participating in this year’s Adventcado.
If you want to reach out, my website is lifelong.dev.
Till I see you around. Be safe. Thanks.