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Aryan Kaushik
Aryan Kaushik

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My Key Takeaways From The Campus DevRel Show | Juan Pablo Flores E2

🎉Welcome to the 2nd Blog of The Campus DevRel Show
series where we focus on the lessons from the experience of the amazing guest DevRels.

As you can read from the title, today we gonna talk about the experience of Juan Pablo Flores who is a Senior Program Manager at GitHub and has also been leading the Campus Expert Program. I am sure most of the folks who are part of GitHub’s student community already know him. He is a celebrity in the Mexican student communities for the amazing work he has done and still does for uplifting the community culture in LATAM.

Before we dive more into his journey, If you are new here make sure you check out DevRel.Page and also do check out the blog on the Ist Episode of “The Campus DevRel Show” with Jon Gottfried.

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At the time when Juan started getting involved with tech communities, the ecosystem was very small. There were only a handful of people in the ecosystem who were “that influential”. Even a hackathon with 15–20 people was considered big, where everything was organized on a contribution basis. His journey into the tech community started in 2014 when he organized a hackathon known as “MX Hacks”. One of the biggest challenges he wanted to tackle was the interaction between the students. He focused on building a space where students could build whatever they had in their minds, work with folks they have never met before, and of course FREE FOOD!

Juan started attending community events and eventually attended a meetup for Google Developer Group for Dart, where he met a few folks and got the idea for organizing hackathons for student communities in Mexico. Juan met Jon, co-founder of Major League Hacking through a meetup. He mentions that the networks and connections he has made over the last 7 years have been the key to his and his community’s development.

Random people that you meet at random places at the right time lead to better opportunities.

When Juan started building MX hacks, he was also having conversations with Jon and Swift, the founders of Major League Hacking, about building the league in Mexico that they had in the US. He also wanted to see if the developer audience would like the idea of the hackathon in Mexico — experimenting with MX Hacks which turned out to be a success. At this point, they started organizing hackathons for governments, and corporates, having built a decent community built around it. That’s when Juan and other organizers felt they needed a bigger league for this and started the “La Liga Mexicana de Hackatones” (LMH). He also mentions that not only helped him make connections with the MLH team in the US but also with the DevRel folks in the UK.

The very first thing Juan mentioned was about finding the right people to partner with while you start an organization and then sharing the same vision with them. He also talks about the process of separation, where the team that he was part of separated to focus on very different aspects of the same idea. This involved a lot of friction, the experience of which helped him develop a different perception and approach at a very young age. Juan also derives the importance of opportunities presented to the student communities for their success and growth.

After working with MLH for almost 18 months, Juan had a lot of offers that he wanted to take but he couldn’t due to his delayed degree. Juan decided to go back to university to finish his degree at the same time when he was approached by his friend, who was working at an IT consultancy company, to start Inventive Hack. He went on working and managing his school at the same time, but after 2 years it was getting harder and harder for him to manage time. At that time, they were building apps for various companies and also made an app for Mexico City to solve their traffic problems. He recalls that within a week they were having conversations with the CEO of Uber Mexico and similar big startups. He and his team were just paving their way through this new journey being total beginners in their early ’20s. They ended up getting a lot of media coverage that made their firm explode leading to big partnerships. Juan also secured a summer internship at CMU, the US to work with “top-top-top” researchers in the field of human-computer interaction.

Juan recalls that learning how to react to incidents had been great learning, during his MLH days. He also recalls his biggest learning through his journey — “Importance of access to opportunities”. He felt the need to bring change to the community around him and then branch out to provide the same opportunities wherever possible, which lead him to join GitHub as a community manager. He also knew that he wanted it, but at the same time, he could contribute to the role and make the existing program even better.

Juan's journey into communities and his learnings
When GitHub was launching its first-ever batch of campus experts, Joe Nash from GitHub, approached him to talk about the program wanting to know if he was interested in joining in. Juan continued his community work alongside his other ventures all along. Juan joined the program and he never felt the need to sell GitHub or force himself to do so. He had already been talking about GitHub right from his college days and he was always fascinated to see students transition from learning about GitHub to their first PR merge. He also had a deeper involvement with GitHub as he became a campus expert and then a field expert. The training in the program was very hard but at the same time, he could also pinpoint the places where the program was struggling. He later also became responsible for reviewing the training of other campus experts. He wanted to be influential in this space to make more students from Latin America and the European region to be involved in the tech space.

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What advice would you give looking back at your journey, would you give to students exploring the DevRel field as a career option?

Work on your communication skills. - Juan

Communicating effectively, and correctly and making sure that you can express yourself will always pay off in some way or another in the future. DevRels, CMGRs, and PMs — are all expected to write & communicate a lot. If you aren’t the best at it, start early! Start writing blogs, there are lots of platforms out there.

Yes! Juan's journey into the tech community and the tech space is fascinating!

Do you think reading this made your pathway to #DevRel a little clear? Or Is it still a little blurry?

You can always check out to understand more about #DevRel.

Watch the Highlights on Youtube and Full Episode on Twitch

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