Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Raymond Camden. I’m married with eight kids, three cats, and a dog that thinks it’s much smaller than it really is. I’m a developer evangelist for Adobe working on our Document Services APIs. (Basically any and every type of operation with PDFs.) I love Star Wars, cats, and dancing to bad pop music while playing “Just Dance” with my kids.
I started doing “dev rel like” stuff way before I officially got a role with that title. I’ve been blogging since 2003 and started giving presentations a few years before that. I figure in 10-20 more years I’ll actually know what I’m doing!
What do you feel is the most important part of your job?
Being able to channel our developers. I try my best to understand their needs, their pain points, what they need to be successful with our APIs. For a very long time, I’ve felt like I’m not terribly smart and I have to work really hard to understand something. I try to ensure that any difficulties I have with a product become ways for me to make it easier for others - either via blogging about it, presenting, improving docs, etc.
I feel like I’m best doing my job when I can be a conduit between engineering and our developers. I split my time between creating content, presentations, checking our various support forums and Stack Overflow. I attend meetings with engineering to keep up to date with what’s coming down the pipeline and provide feedback on issues and suggestions.
What is something you’re struggling with?
Everything! Ok, that may be a bit over the top, but I honestly feel like my entire development career has been one struggle to the next. I’ve done my best to turn those struggles into things that can help others.
To be a bit more serious - I’ve always done a mix of virtual and in-person presentations, but with COVID and the move to almost entirely virtual, I’ve been trying to adjust my style to work better in that format. I’m pretty shy in person, but feel a lot more confident on stage. I don’t have that same confidence when presenting virtually so I’m trying to find my rhythm/voice/etc in that format so I can be more effective.
What do you look for when building your team?
Diverse backgrounds - I want to work with people who have had a different experience than me and who I can learn from. I discovered early on in my career that I can learn quite a bit from people who come from non-traditional comp-sci backgrounds. It’s kinda like if you don’t know what you’re_ supposed_ to do and don’t know what you _should _do, sometimes you can come up with truly unique and useful solutions.
What’s one change you’d like to see in DevRel?
I think there’s been a good push for diversity in the field but I definitely think more needs to be done. Along with greater representation in terms of gender/race, I’d also like to see greater representation in terms of professional background (ie, more non-comp-sci majors :).