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Alvaro Navarro
Alvaro Navarro

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Tips for speaking to college students about DevRel

I was invited to deliver a 30 minutes talk to last-year-students at a University on Wednesday this week. The talk was held on "Career Opportunities Day" so, considering the amount of consulting firms present at the event, I decided to talk about something totally different and new for most students: DevRel as professional career.

Around 25 students showed up to attend the talk. Unfortunately my talk was scheduled right before the end of the agenda so many people had left already.

Tip #1: talking about "exotic" topics at these kinds of events can be challenging, so try to schedule your talk early in the morning when your audience is fresh.

As you can imagine, I started the presentation with the obvious question: "Does anyone know what is DevRel about?". Nobody answered but that was kind of expected, right? :-)

The content of the talk pretty much covered the usual DevRel 101 stuff: what DevRel is and is not, how we help developers to succeed, the beauty of working with communities or why DevRel is important for companies. I gave an example of “A Day in the Life of a Developer Advocate at a Hackathon representing Amadeus for Developers", which they liked very much.

Tip #2: Next time I deliver this presentation to a similar audience, I will base the whole presentation on examples and personal stories, as they seem to work better.

Okay, time for some metrics and personal observations:

  • All of them were surprised to see a professional career option related to software development that didn't imply a full-time coding position.
  • Only 2 students raised their hands to the question "Has anyone ever contributed to an Open Source project?"
  • Almost everyone raised their hands to the question "Do you have a public code repository (GitHub, GitLab...)?"
  • No one had participated in a Hackathon before.
  • They loved the idea of traveling to attend events.
  • I saw some "No thanks" faces when I talked about public speaking skills.
  • I realized that 20% of the students were taking notes. The other 80% just listened.

Tip #3: There is an interesting opportunity in proposing internal Hackathons at universities.

As usual, I have the feeling that I forgot many ideas and examples, but all in all, I'm happy with the results.

The slides I used as reference during the talk can be found on my speakerdeck.

Looking forward to the next talk!

Top comments (1)

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Maria Encinar

This is an interesting talk to give, especially working with communities that involve students.

Thanks for sharing the slides and the inspiration! ;)