Evangelist in a Software Company
I never miss a chance to attend tech discussions and meetings, lucky I got a couple of such opportunities in Bangalore. One day, in the middle of a discussion, I pointed some common team practices, that developers especially evangelists follows. All of the sudden people went silent and keep looking at me. One fellow asked about the role of evangelist in an IT company. When I said I am an evangelist too, they started murmuring in between. The fact is, they are not aware of that job position in a company. I explained them with a few examples, shared my experience and convinced them the importance of such a person in an IT organization. In this blog, I would like to share some information about this role and how I turn into a ‘developer evangelist’ in my organization.
A few years back, along with my regular development job, I got an opportunity to train fresher’s in my company. Teaching always needs patience, especially when you try to explain a virtual world of programming. Everything here in this programming world is an illusion, but you need to make the customer feel the effect. I will explain more. For every other job, like a mason, carpenter or a mechanic, they have something solid things to show to their customer. The customer can view, touch and feel the product. But here in our case, we need to use all our creative skill that blend with intelligence to make something virtual and pretend like that exists. Nobody can touch, feel or hold, a software product, in fact, all they can see is an interactive interface, that we call it as front-end, through which they satisfy their desired need digitally.
As the development was that tough, fresher’s training, on the other hand, need more time and effort. I keep on checking the programming syntaxes and the latest technologies back and forth, along with that I prepared tutorial materials for chapter wise, diagrams, PPT presentations, sample projects and some video clips. I realized the passion of teaching within me. One fine day, a very experienced sales manager joined as a VP in our company, who had a wide experience in global sales and marketing and once worked with Cisco Systems, USA. He made a key role in structuring the entire team, coping to global standards. My additional job as a trainer had been lifted to the role of Developer Evangelist and I strongly believe that from that moment, my perspective of a career as a developer started to change.
The term evangelist refers, a person who can train/convert people to a new practice/process with strong supportive materials and ideas. Following are the most common type of evangelist role in an organization.
- Developer evangelist
- Sales evangelist
- Technology evangelist
- Chief evangelist
For becoming an evangelist, one should possess the strong notions of authority, trust, and communication and should be very passionate about the ‘product’ they were evangelizing. For a Developer Evangelist, the product will be a latest framework/platform and his audience will be the developer community. He will be the key person to convert/adapt people to a different technology. The process of evangelization consists of seven core steps.
- Create the content
- Create action plan
- Present the content
- Interact with the audience
- Engage the audience
- Collect & provide feedback
- Refine the content
Despite the department he is working, an evangelist need to work with the marketing team to supervise the campaigns and strategies, ensuring that the team acquired all the knowledge about the software product clearly and will be able to respond to the customer technical queries and make sections with the technical team to have them better technical insight. In a simpler definition, evangelists are: very passionate, creates excitement around new things, helping people, communicating, listening, strategizing, writing, story tellers and researching new ideas and trends in their field. I wonder why this role is still a new one for the marketplace and the organizations have not yet seen the importance of this position.