Blog Post

Six months as Technical Evangelist at Couchbase

Tugdual Grall of Couchbase Published

[This blog was syndicated from http://blog.grallandco.com]

Already 6 months! Already 6 months that I have joined Couchbase as Technical Evangelist. This is a good opportunity to take some time to look back.

 

So first of all what is a Developer/Technical Evangelist?

Hmm it depends of each company/product, but let me tell you what it is for me, inside Couchbase. This is one of the most exciting job I ever had. And I think it is the best job you can have when you are passionate about technology, and you like to share this passion with others. So my role as Technical Evangelist is to help the developers to adopt NoSQL technologies in general, and as you can guess Couchbase in particular.

Let's now see in more details what I have done during these past six months and why I am so happy about it. I have organized the different activities in three types:

  • Outbound activities : meet the developers
  • Online activities : reach even more developers
  • Inbound Activities : make the product better !

Outbound activities : meet the developers !

A large part of my activities for this first semester was made of conferences and meetups. All these events are great opportunities for me to talk about NoSQL and get more people to use Couchbase Server 2.0, here a short list of what I have done:

  • Participated to many Couchbase Developer Days in various cities (Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Munich, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, ...), these are one day workshops where I am helping developers to get their hands dirty on Couchbase
  • Participated to Couchconf Berlin and Couchbase [UK] our main European events where I met many Customer and key members of the community
  • Submitted talks to conferences and adapt them to the conference, then spoken in various conferences about NoSQL and Couchbase (33Degree Warsaw,  NoSQL & Big Data Israel, Devoxx France, NoSQL Matters, and many others).
  • Met many developers during user groups and meetups. I have to say that I have been very active there, and quite happy to see that NoSQL is a very hot topic for developers, and this in all languages.
  • delivered BrowBagLunches to various technical teams in companies 

Yes! Be a Technical Evangelist means, at least for me, be on the road. It is very nice to meet developers from various countries, different cultures, languages, and… this also means tasting many different types of food!

Another interesting thing when you work on a database/infrastructure layer is the fact that it is technology agnostic; you can access Couchbase with multiple programming languages: Java, .Net,Javascript/Node, Ruby, PHP, Python, C, … and even Go. So with this job I met developers with different backgrounds and views about application development. So yes when I am at a conference or meetup, I am suppose to "teach" something to people, but I have also learned a lot of things, and still doing it.

Online activities : reach even more developers!

Meeting developers during conferences is great but it, it is also very important to produce content to reach even more people, so I have :

  • Written blog post about Couchbase usage, most of them based on feedback/questions from the community
  • Created sample code to show how it works
  • Monitored and answered questions on various sites and mailing lists, from Couchbase discussion forums, mailing lists, Stack Overflow, Quora and others...

This task is quite interesting because it is the moment where you can reach many developers and also get feedback from users, and understand how they are using the product. I have to say that I was not as productive as I was expected, mainly because I was traveling a lot during this period.

Another important thing about online activities, is the "Couchbase Community" itself, many users of Couchbase are creating content : blog posts, samples, new applications, or features - for example I am talking with a person that is developing a Dart Client for Couchbase, so as Technical Evangelist I am also working closely with the most active contributor.

Inbound Activities : make the product better !

So the ultimate goal of a Technical Evangelist at Couchbase is to "convert" developers to NoSQL/Couchbase and get them to talk about Couchbase. Meeting them online or during events is a way of achieving this; but it is also great to do it directly with the product. This means participating to the "development" of the product or its ecosystem. Here some of the things that I have done on this topic:

  • Talked a lot with the development team, core developers, product managers, architects, … Quite exciting to work with so much smart people and have access to them. During this discussions I was able to comment the roadmap, influence features, but also it is all the time an opportunity to learn new things about Couchbase - and many other things around architecture, programming languages, take a look for example to this nice post from Damien Katz .
  • Contributed some code, yes remember Couchbase is an open source project and it is quite easy to participate to the development. Obviously based on my skills I have only help a little bit with the Java and the Javascript SDK. So if like me you are interested to contribute to the project, take a look to this page: "Contributing Changes"
  • But the biggest contributions to the products are such like doc reviews, testing and writing bug reports, and this is very important and interesting, since once again it helps a lot with the product adoption by the developers.

So what?

As you can see the Technical Evangelist job is a quite exciting job, and one of the reason I really love it, it is simply because it allows me to do many different things, that are all related to the technology. Six months is still a very short period, I still have many things to learn and to with the team to be successful, such as be more present online (blog, sample code, technical article, screencast, ..), be accepted in more conferences, and code a little more (I have to finish for example the Couchbase Data Provider for Hibernate OGM, and many other ideas around application development experience) 

Finally, Couchbase needs you ! This is a good opportunity to say that Couchbase is always looking for talents, especially in the Technical/Developer Evangelist team, so do not hesitate to look at the different job openings and join the team !