My first role in Developer Relations turned out to be in Web3. Therefore, I can't compare being a Developer Advocate in Web2 to Web3. However, I can tell you about what I have experienced and provide some advice if you are interested in becoming a Developer Advocate at a Web3 company.
And, let me warn you, I am not sugarcoating this blog post at all.
I spend a LOT of time learning and I enjoy it
I don't have a degree or a fancy NFT certification from the University of Blockchain. Everything that I know I have learned from resources I find through YouTube, Google, etc. There's indeed a plethora of resources out there, but very few come from established or verified institutions.
Therefore, there's a lot of noise and fruitful articles coming out daily for clicks. It's imperative to double-check the information and knowledge I read or write. I often ask other developer advocates I know to double-check my sources or ask my co-workers.
It's okay to do this—everybody is still learning together.
If I don't know something, I feel comfortable admitting I don't know and will look into it. Knowledge gaps will happen a lot as new information comes out every day. No one in Web3 knows absolutely everything about everything, and you have to get used to that.
Use these knowledge gaps to your advantage and seek out the answers. This curiosity will help you learn and discover new topics to create content.
Fall in love with learning.
Be prepared for criticism
Not everybody is on board with the idea of Web3, cryptocurrency, or blockchain in general. Blockchain technology receives a lot of criticism. Recognize these criticisms, research them, take a stance on them, and at some point, you will have to address them. The general public is always curious and will look to you for guidance.
Unfortunately, the conversation about Web3 has become so polarized. People who don't know how to communicate will sometimes take their frustrations out on you instead of the technology or industry. Being an advocate in Web3 means you will be one of the more public-facing figures behind the industry.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your mental health is to distance your identity from these criticisms. Recognize that any frustrations are not meant for you. I take more frequent breaks from social media than I had before, which has helped my mental health.
On the flip side, I respect people who are criticizing the technology itself and the problems that it holds. There are many unanswered questions about social implications, scalability, and the ethos of decentralization. These criticisms ensure that we are building up Web3 the right way from the ground up, so pay special attention to these.
It helps to have an open-minded stance, as with all things in life.
Blockchain does not solve every problem. Blockchain is also not the root of all evil.
It's easy to burn out
Web3 is an exciting space right now, and some are in a race to become the latest prominent figure or company. I frequently see posts from "crypto influencers" on Web3 Twitter that will tell you if you want to get ahead in Web3 you need to work all day and night.
Please don't. You will burn out and instantly see diminishing returns.
As long as you are consistently showing up, eager to learn, and gaining small wins you will be successful in this space.
Small wins every day will have the most return. This advice applies to everyone, not just the Developer Advocates.
One of the specific problems with Developer Advocacy is that the role is not solidly defined and responsibilities may vary per company. Sometimes you will work on a per-needs basis in community management, marketing, documentation, or even spend a ton of hours coding and brainstorming with the engineers. The plethora of responsibilities requires a lot of context switching, and sometimes you may feel yourself taking on too much.
It's important to set boundaries with your team by defining your role and outlining your responsibilities. Otherwise, you may find yourself volunteering for every task and running low on bandwidth.
Working in Web3 is a marathon. Not a sprint.
Recruiters contact me every other week
Now, this one is positive. I apologize for the first few grim ones.
When I was searching for jobs before Web3 it was really difficult for me. I worked at local non-profits to gain experience. There were not many big opportunities for me in my local area and it was not in my immediate plans to move to a bigger city. Thanks to my network and Twitter, I was able to find this opportunity.
Being a Developer Advocate in Web3 has unlocked the gates for me. Not just as a Developer Advocate, but also as a content creator, a technical writer, and even a few marketing-related gigs and other side hustles.
There is a huge demand for developer advocates in the Web3 space, especially from prominent protocols and companies. Just be sure to thoroughly research each entity that reaches out to you and not let FOMO lead you into random projects where the team may take advantage of you.
Get involved in communities. It will help you grow.
This is the most I have grown in my career
I see some criticism that many early developers should not dive into Web3 because it is risky. I'd advocate the opposite for this reason.
Navigating the unknown as long as you can handle the risks will bring about the most returns.
The fast-paced environment will force you to take opportunities you hadn't envisioned. Thanks to Web3 and my social media presence, I get invited to podcasts, conferences, livestreams, and workshops at universities and other organizations. I have stepped out of my comfort zone when it comes to creating content and learned how to create a workflow for myself.
I am fortunate I am in a situation where I am able to take risks.
High risk. High reward.
If you can do the same, try it! If not, Web3 is not going anywhere.
The best part of my job is hanging out with the community
This one is going to sound really cheesy, but I actually mean it with my entire heart.
Through Web3, I have met so many amazing builders, founders, artists, and visionaries who are working towards a future they believe in. I have made so many friends and hung out in many communities which has genuinely made me so happy. Developer Advocacy allows me to meet new interesting people I can collaborate and build relationships with.
This is the part that keeps me going!