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We have a few positions open for Developer Advocacy at JetBrains, and for the past several months I’ve been going through CVs. I usually look for specific things that stand-out for the role and thought it might be worth sharing these.

Developer Experience

Developer Advocacy is first and foremost about Software Development. You are someone that will be helping developers. You are someone that will be helping the product teams make a better product. Both of these are hard to accomplish if you don’t have the experience and war-stories. Highlight your experience as a developer in your CV.

In the 12 years I’ve been involved in Advocacy, only on a couple of occasions did we hire someone with little real-world developer experience, but these were justified for other reasons.

Experience with JetBrains Tools

We want folks that join JetBrains to believe in what we’re doing, and enjoy using our products. If you don’t, then you probably won’t be happy at your job. If you use our products, make sure you point it out. You don’t need to be an expert, but believing in them and wanting to help improve them is important. We are strongly against hiring shills.

Communication Skills

Communicating is critical in the role. Whether it’s talking to a customer at a booth, or talking to developers inside the company, it must be something that you’re not only good at but enjoy doing. As such, highlighting communication skills is important when applying for the role.

Community Presence

As a Developer Advocate, having a community presence is important. Provide information about your community activities and/or online presence, whether it’s speaking, organising events, social media accounts, GitHub or other repository accounts.

Note however that while community presence is important, it’s not critical. You don’t have to be a micro-celebrity in your community to get a job as a Developer Advocate at JetBrains. We’re not particularly looking for big names. We’re looking for people that are aligned with the role and enjoy doing what they do.

When I joined JetBrains, I had somewhat of a presence in the .NET community (I’d spent many years in the Delphi community). I gradually worked on this. I then moved to Kotlin (after a brief stint with JavaScript) and built up my name in the Java community. Building your name is something that will be part of your job.

Teaching Skills

Highlight your teaching skills - whether it’s screencasts, public speaking, written-content. As a Developer Advocate you’ll be doing a lot of content in different formats. Knowing how to teach people is critical.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that much like Developers, QAs, and other roles, it’s not expected of you to be proficient in all of these areas (except development). It’s absolutely OK if you are better skilled in some areas, but less in others. You can work on building these up. This is something that we actively encourage on the Advocacy team at JetBrains.