Tell us a bit about yourself.
My clients range from UK Government departments, UK banks, global fintechs and startups. I have had the opportunity to work with all disciplines in the tech industry; from developers, testers, UX/UI designers, technical writers, to product owners.
Having had the opportunity to learn from so many great colleagues, I have always believed in giving back to the tech community with particular focus on creating and supporting opportunities for those wanting to start a career in tech, through diversity and inclusion programmes. This started out by mentoring and delivering workshops in association with tech for good charities, to creating and building my own community, EddieHub.
What do you feel is the most important part of your job?
This could be summed up in two words: “communication” and “collaboration”.
I believe in this so much that I decided to make these two words into key components of EddieHub. We pride ourselves in being a community which promotes communication and our motto is “Collaboration First, Code Second”.
Knowing how to communicate is key at all levels and no matter how you are involved in a project. It is important to learn how to give feedback constructively and with the end result being adding value. I strongly believe that this is not just about the technical input of that feedback. You need to make sure that you feed back incorporating context, using an appropriate tone and in a respectful manner. Additionally, you also need to embrace receiving feedback and how to respond and adding this, where appropriate, into the work that you are doing.
As a DevRel, if you do not communicate effectively, this reduces your reach: not only in getting feedback from the product team and working with the community.
A big part of being a DevRel is collaboration. You need to make sure that you work well with people and are able to connect them with each other. However, introductions to collaborations are not enough. It is important to instill the sense of collaboration with your team, to achieve success.
What is something you’re struggling with?
Without a doubt … GitHub notifications!
Although I am lucky enough to have a super supportive community, who addresses many of the notifications I receive, I do still find it hard to keep on top of them. This comes down to the volume of notifications as a result of having so many active projects.
It is exciting to receive all these notifications, but at the same time daunting. No one likes to feel behind on their work, but most importantly I feel bad that great contributions might not have been addressed as I have not got to them yet.
What do you look for when building your team?
Overall I am looking for the “right attitude”. What I mean by this is, that I like to see a team that has a “can do” approach and most importantly asks well-thought-out questions with context.
A must is also an active GitHub profile that is not just about code but reflects change reviews and project management. This is a great way to see how someone collaborates, gives, and receives feedback - which is integral to working in a team. In addition, I look for progression in their GitHub profile. It might have started with correcting typos but progressed to reviewing documentation and then on to automated testing, for example. I look for someone who is keen to add value however they can and push themselves out of their comfort zone and learn new skills.
What’s one change you’d like to see in DevRel?
Recognising the importance of the DevRel role. This comes in two parts:
Often I have seen companies consider DevRel as an extra, with the approach that “if there is time and budget” then a DevRel will be brought in. For me, this role is key to the success of any product or platform, as it bridges the gap between the product itself and the end-user. Having a DevRel in the team means that the end-user feels there is someone who speaks their language and understands their requirements and challenges. This only promotes good communication which benefits the whole process. In fact, I would say that the DevRel role should be one of the first to be filled; to ensure familiarity with the product from the outset, as well as immediate user feedback.
There are fantastic DevRel experts out there, from whom we can learn so much from. However, I do think that to widely recognise the importance of the DevRel role, it is important that the barrier to entry for it is lowered. This will give the opportunity for new blood to break into the industry, which will also have an impact on the DevRel community growing, learning, and collaborating with each other.