Internal Developer Advocacy
In the past week I had an interesting discussion about a Developer Advocates internal role inside a company. Most people think of this positon as mostly outside work. Sales people or employer branding in the tech community. While this is not wrong, it is a huge understatement to the role of Developer Advocates inside an organization.
They are tasked with establishing a cross-functional relationship with engineering, marketing, and other functions within the business to collaborate on products and projects which greatly helps to eliminate silos and "knowledge islands". A knowledge island exists when specific domain or technological knowledge is bundled in one person/team/location instead of distributed making one or more part of the business completely dependend on them.
By working on these hardly measurable but highly important topics, they also connect with a lot of engineers and developers across the company which gives them a great and broad overview about the health, mood and current pains of different product teams. Developers approach Developer Advocates to discuss everything from tech to organizational structures. Because of that, they and/or their managers are (hopefully) regularly consulted by senior technical management to advice them while they nurture and grow the companies product and engineering teams.
Their technical knowledge, network and most importantly their communications skills make them perfect to serve as the voice of your technical staff
From what I see in our company but also hear from many others is that Developer Advocates represent developer interests inside the company just as much as they are representatives of the company to the outside tech community. And they should be. Their technical knowledge, network and most importantly their communications skills make them perfect to serve as the voice of your technical staff - outside as well as inside.
If you're a developer, reach out to Developer Advocates! They have the ears of decision makers and your input helps to shape the picture these decision are based on.