Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Rizel Scarlett. I’m a Junior Developer Advocate at GitHub. I recently started my role in September 2021. I moonlight as the Director of Programs at G{Code} House, an organization aimed at teaching women of color and non-binary people of color to code. I believe in leveraging vulnerability, honesty, and kindness as means to educate early-career developers. I also have a podcast with my husband called That Chocolate Talk: I regularly blog about open source, GitHub, and career growth on my professional blog at and my personal blog:

When I’m not working, I’m probably tweeting @blackgirlbytes or binge-watching Netflix.

What do you feel is the most important part of your job?

The most important part of my job is making developers, regardless of their level, feel capable and informed on how to thrive in their role. I assume my answer to this question will evolve in the future, but that’s my goal for now.

What is something you’re struggling with?

I struggle most with knowing when to prioritize my job, health, happiness, family, and friends. Balancing my work and life has always been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. While sometimes the company can influence this, I also put those pressures on myself. Even when I worked at Planet Fitness, I would choose an extra shift over spending the holidays with my family. Because I immigrated here as a kid and I’ve dealt with being undocumented, having a job and money is not something I take for granted. I think it’s even harder now that I’m remote. I recognize that it’s definitely unhealthy, and I’ve been working with my therapist to create boundaries and prioritize self-care. One of the things my therapist taught me was to set an automated message for all of my emails that let the sender know I will respond within 24 hours. This gives me enough time to think if their request is something that I should actually commit to.

Tell us about a time you were inspired by someone or something in DevRel.

I first learned about Developer Relations through Brian Douglas (more fondly known as bougie) before he even knew of me. In 2019, I found a technical presentation by Brian called “Understanding GraphQL through the Lens of Hip Hop.” I thought it was so cool that someone in tech was combining pop culture topics with technical concepts. Because the talk was so engaging, I became curious about his job and how I could get into Developer Relations, so I could create relatable technical content.

Angie Jones is another DevRel leader whom I look up to. On social media, so many people expressed gratitude that instead of gatekeeping, Angie had opened the doors for them. I realized that even though I didn’t have as large of a platform as her, there was nothing stopping me from helping others get into tech, and I’ve dedicated my career to creating space and empowering people to join the tech industry.

What’s one change you’d like to see in DevRel?

There’s such a strong emphasis on hiring very experienced Software Engineers as Developer Advocates, and I definitely understand why they’re needed. But, I do think junior developer advocates are equally important to companies. Of course, I’m biased, but as I’ve continued to work at GitHub, I’ve seen the necessity of my role. Note: Junior Developer Advocates shouldn’t be the first or only Advocates on the team. They should be paired with and mentored by someone who is more experienced.