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Developer Relations at Directus: The First Month

By Kevin Lewis on December 23, 2022

Hello! My name is Kevin, and I am the new Developer Relations Lead at Directus, based in Berlin. I'll explain that shortly, but let's get acquainted first.

The Origin Story

I knew I wanted to become a developer when I attended my first hackathon. At the time, I had no experience with coding, but my friend convinced me to join a team and try it. Even though I couldn't contribute much, all my team members were kind and encouraging. I spent the rest of that summer teaching myself how to build websites, which kickstarted my developer career almost 12 years ago.

About three years in, I became a Developer Advocate, which means I get to help developers discover new technologies, learn how to use them, and successfully build their projects. It means creating educational materials, building and being a member of supportive community spaces, and building tooling to improve developers' lives.

The underlying theme in my career has been my passion for helping early-career developers learn technical and fundamental skills essential for a fulfilling and healthy work-life but are not typically taught. When I'm not assisting developers using Directus' Open Data Platform, I organize events focusing on these core skills with You Got This!

The Opportunity Ahead

Directus is freaking cool. While it has many uses, its core as a database and asset storage abstraction is something I wish I had when I first learned to work with databases. With it, developers can save time doing menial scaffolding and building internal data management platforms, and instead spend that time on what makes their applications unique. Most companies I've worked at as a product that acts as a tool in a developer's toolkit, and Directus is no different; while being so malleable, it has a place in almost any project.

And I must take a moment to also highlight some of the really-powerful features on top of just inserting and retrieving data - media transformations, automations, translations, insights, and granular access control are all things that you might have had to spend time to build in the past, but not anymore.

I've never worked at a company whose whole product is open source. I'm excited to embark on this challenge in my developer relations practice while supporting our existing community and bringing new people into the fold.

I also love the ethos behind being there to support developers while remaining unopinionated and then allowing the removal of Directus with no alterations to your data. Your data - your choice. Hopefully, you will bring us along on your journey for a long time, but if not - no hard feelings.

Heading to Prague for DevRelCon

I also had the honor of giving my first in-person talk in 3 years at DevRelCon - a conference dedicated to the practice of Developer Relations. It was about creating the best possible foundation for technical learning by building smaller, less-ambitious demos that are easier to understand.

Kevin stands on stage in a forest jumpsuit. His slide reads "Complex Demos Go Beyond Code"Yes, that's me, a real professional, a fully grown adult, looking like the mascot for Rainforest Cafe.

While the recording is still being edited, here's a written outline if you're interested, and you'll start seeing some of this approach over here at Directus.

The event was excellent, and it was fantastic to hear from my friends and colleagues about what they're doing to support developers in their organizations. As much as I could write summaries of what was presented by others, Floor Drees did so in great detail on her blog. Thanks to the team from Hoopy, led by Matthew Revell, for putting it together.

Community Is Our Past, Present, and Future

I've never worked in a place where the practice of Developer Relations is so ingrained in every single person we have - a genuine drive to help developers solve their problems through tooling, education, and community. Many of our staff started as excited community members who we managed to convince to come and work for us.

Directus is deeply a labor of love with and for the community. We work in the open, welcome contributions of many kinds, and are excited to see how many cool things are built with and for the project.

I'm joining at a pivotal point where we start to work toward the sustainability that allows us to continue building high-quality open-source software with and for you while ensuring the community is always at the core of what we do.

We may get some things wrong, but we'll do it in the open and go on this journey of discovery together with you.

The first month for me has focused on learning more about Directus as a project and a company, and we have lots more exciting stuff to bring you next year.

Time to follow the white rabbit.

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