What is DevEd?

October 4, 2021 · 7 minute read

Nathaniel Tjandra

Growth

TLDR

DevEd is a new branch of technical content creation for product developers, focused on giving back to the community by creating quality content.

Outline

  • Introduction

  • What do developer educators do?

  • What DevEd is not

  • What qualifies as DevEd

  • What inspired DevEd

  • Future of DevEd

Introduction

Developer Education or “DevEd” for short, is an emerging field or categorization of technical writers. DevEd emphasizes the education and content portion of Developer Relations (DevRel), and moves the focus from customers to developers (i.e. people that want to build). Generally, technical writers will have a background in engineering and will take on a growth role by performing outreach to developer communities and by writing helpful guides on technology. DevEd takes this one step further by examining how we learn, what topics we choose, and when to publish them.

What do developer educators do?

Practitioners of DevEd or Developer Educators (DEs), are product developers that curate content focusing on new skills or sharing their technical expertise. Their main goal is to create original and organic content that is educational yet entertaining for product developers.

Content that teaches new skills (i.e. Minecraft, Tetris, and The Oregon Trail)

What DevEd is not

Before we get deeper into how DevEd works, let’s take a moment to think about what DevEd is not. By being an educator that aims to supplement the growth of developers, DevEd has a couple main distinctions but is often confused with:

DevEd is not part of sales. Simply put, they do not try to “sell” their company product. Likewise, the intention is not to be monetized for personal greed. It’s all about paying it forward. DevEd is meant to be a reflection of a company's values and its love for the product developer community of programmers, engineers, and unicorns.

Product developer community

DevEd is not tech support. Just because DEs have technical knowledge doesn’t mean they are tech support. Instead, they leverage their knowledge to focus on more broad questions asked by a community rather than a specific individual’s issues on a product.

DevEd is not your debugging tool (Source Twitter)

What qualifies as DevEd?

We know what doesn’t qualify as DevEd; now let’s take a look at how content can qualify.

Earlier, we mentioned that DevEd is all about original organic content. That’s because we know our audience, as we are also product developers and have a diverse group of developers vet it. As a common practice, DEs research how people learn and incorporate memorable imagery and gifs, in order to relate relevant media for the subject.

Additionally, we know all too well the pain points of reading lengthy documentation so we like to keep it simple, short, and concise. A personal favorite memorization technique of mine is to tell a story. DevEd values creativity and thinking outside the box.

Craft magical experiences (Source: TheInstitute)

Finally, creators limit monetization where possible. It’s quite contrary to content creators or influencers that need money to survive. Normally, creators try to strike deals with third party sponsors or publish content on sites that have paid advertisements, but DevEd is different. Instead of going to the consumer for sustenance, they live off their company salary. It’s a hired full-time position. You’re a creator with a permanent sponsor and without the product placement. This ensures that a consumer’s experience will be the best that it can possibly be.

Can’t demonetize us if you don’t pay us!

What inspired DevEd?

DevEd is inspired by a need for better documentation, not in terms of relevance, but comparatively how much information overload and burnout a developer will get from learning spikes when reading through.

We’ve all been there browsing for answers to our questions at work. Whether it’s on the latest framework, syntax issues, or an installation setup, search engines are our best friend when trying to make something from nothing.

Something from nothing,

Magic Trick

But over time, we realized that not all search results are made equal. Most high quality content is either paywalled or has advertisements everywhere. You could read the documentation for free, but it's easy to fall deep into the rabbit hole and spend hours before you find what’s needed. 

The never ending cycle continues (Source: Giphy)

I noticed that whenever there were new hires, we would reinvent the wheel. When training or onboarding it was extremely beneficial to have the steps outlined in order to make the process smoother. Learning new technologies is done best when an expert spends dedicated hours documenting the process so a rookie could follow along. 

Follow the detailed steps to build a lego castle (Source: Lego)

Other times you’re the “expert” and you must become the expert.

https://miro.medium.com/max/1284/0*EllKnlrzypD3qlrs

It’s not enough to document the code with comments. Developers are often asked to be able to teach and explain it to fellow teammates or new hires.

Finally, one of the core aspects of why DevEd became needed is because robots are getting better at programming. Just take a look at 

OpenAI Codex

.

It’s incredible how if a task is described properly Codex will generate the code.

As a product developer, now’s the time to look at improving design skills rather than typing speed and put an emphasis on creativity versus productivity. It’s all about writing down the steps to build a product rather than the release of a product. 

Should have documented the process, not just the code (Source: Twitter)

Future of DevEd

DevEd is a new branch of technical content creation for product developers, focused on giving back to the community by creating quality content. Currently, our DevEd only consists of articles and written work. In conjunction with our main goal to educate and entertain, we plan to expand our content to cover other forms of learning such as through podcasts or videos. As DevEd is a relatively new field, we’re always open to suggestions to know what you’d like to learn about.

Intermediate guides

  • Shipping a machine learning model from start to finish

  • Specializing a machine learning model for updating a feed

Crash course on beginner topics

  • Logic behind JOINs and the various types

  • “Playing with Time(series)”

Niche topics from prior articles

  • Guide on RegEx

  • What goes in to creating DevEd

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