I started off 2019 with my 2018 summary where I announced that I had left Readify and joined Microsoft.
Well, today is 6 months since I started and I wanted to take some time to reflect on my first 6 months at Microsoft and the first 6 months in a Developer Relations role, aka DevRel.
So, like, what do you do for a job?
This is probably the most common question I get asked, well, I’ve always been asked it just now it’s been a bit harder to define. It’s especially tricky when talking to someone outside of the tech industry because “DevRel” doesn’t make sense to people who aren’t in tech and even then it’s no guarantee! 🤣
6 months ago I really didn’t have a clue what my job would entail and part of that is because everyone’s approach to the job is different, some people travel the world presenting at conferences, some people live stream on twitch, some people do podcasts, some people write. So, what do I do?
I produce content.
This is how I look at my job; my job is to produce content. Now, this takes different forms for different people but for me, I do a lot of my content production in the form of blogs. But blogging isn’t the finality of content production, once I’ve written a blog I might extract a talk out of it to submit to some events, turn it into official documentation, propose it to user groups, present it internally or appear on a pod/vod-cast.
Because of this, I spent a lot more time writing code than I have for a very long time, the bulk of my days are spent writing code. After all, if I didn’t write code then I’d have nothing to produce content on! In fact, I’ve created 30 posts already this year which is the most blogging I’ve done since 2013 (34 posts) but still shy of my busiest year of 2010 (with 80 posts, but I’m not sure if they are date-tagged correctly from the many years of rebuilding my site).
I really enjoy writing, I’ve been blogging for over a decade now and the fact that it’s my job to do it makes me happy. I don’t do much in the way of conferences, I don’t really subscribe to that style of DevRel. Sure, I do conferences, but spending every other week on an aircraft is exhausting, so I’m more select on the travel I do.
Learning new things
As I’m always looking for new ideas for content and to engage with different audiences I’ve been able to spend a lot of time picking up new technologies. I did my first bit of Golang, learnt WebAssembly and built an IoT project in F# (which I still have more content to come!).
Being at Microsoft
Microsoft is a facinating organisation to work for as there’s simply nothing else on the same scale to compare it to. Having come from a large Microsoft partner I had some thoughts on what it’d be like to work with Microsoft tools, but in reality, it’s nothing like that (I’ve joked that Readify is more Microsoft than Microsoft).
And being in a completely distributed team is very much a change for me. I’m still quite in the mindset of “I go to the office to work” but in since my office is my home office so I get up of a morning and my main task for the day is done! Quite often I’ll head into the Microsoft Reactor to work rather than working at home, partially because when my kids aren’t in daycare it’s a bit distracting being home with them and partially to get me out of the house.
But because we’re distributed we do everything online; we chat through Slack for pretty much everything, we organise video calls at a random time to inconvenience different groups of people each time (there’s no single time that works for everyone!) and ever so occasionally an email is sent. This is a double-edged sword though as I found myself early on checking Slack on Saturday’s (overlap with the US Friday) for example. This isn’t the best, you need to disconnect from work a bit, and over the last few months, I’ve got better at the weekend being non-work time (my laptop rarely gets touched between Friday evening and Monday morning).
Honestly, I’m having so much fun, probably the most fun I’ve had at work for a while now. I don’t say that intending to throw shade at Readify or anything, but I’d forgotten what it was like to be writing code all the time, building experiments, that sort of stuff.
Here’s to another 6 months.
Oh, and most importantly… I survived my first reorg! 🤣