In this interview, we talk to Knut Melvær, Head of Developer Relations & Support at Sanity.io. Follow Knut on Twitter (@kmelve).
How did you get into developer relations?
I actually didn't know that “developer relations” was a profession before I was hired as one at Sanity. Granted, I was hired because I had been advocating for developer experience and created content to make technology more easily available for people. Technology as something empowering and –if made accessible– something that can level the playing field has always interested me.
What do you do day-to-day?
As a manager of a small devrel-team I do a lot of planning, coaching, and I try to be generally helpful. We're improving documentation, creating tutorials, we do talks, hang out with the developer community, promote the awesome work that people are doing with Sanity. We're also the community’s representatives in product development and bring back insights and feedback that we get from people who build with the product.
What skills should developer advocates focus on building before getting the job?
Get to a place where you can create approachable and useful content about technology in a consistent and structured manner, whatever your medium is. Get comfortable with learning in public. If you manage to figure out what problems developers actually have and manage to create content for that, you have an advantage.
What developer advocates should people follow online?
I'm guessing that people will find the developer advocates with the huge followings anyway. Personally, I learn a lot from following people like:
Any tips you would give to someone just getting started in the field?
As with probably any profession: Find people who can coach and give you real feedback on your work. Places like dev.to are wonderful to get into the practice of writing. Don't be afraid to pitch your work to online magazines and publications like CSS Tricks, Smashing Magazine, Scotch.io, and so on. There are also guest authorship programs out there (Sanity has one too) where you can get guidance, experience, and get compensation for your work. The same goes for having talks at conferences and meetups. Having published work on your CV is definitively an advantage when you're applying for devrel roles.