I absolutely love attending tech conferences. They're great opportunities to reach out to friends in the community, make new connections, and catch the leading edge of what's going on with the technology I use. Over the past several years, I've attended several conferences[ref]I average 3 events a year, but for a time was attending at least an event each month![/ref] and met hundreds of people. My favorites, though, are the tech representatives of sponsor communities who work directly with developers.
Developer evangelists are the representatives who come to the events, show off their companies' technology, and are usually the first person we reach out to when there's a problem. They're on Twitter, linger in the conference Slack channel months after the event, and are both the first and last person many of us think about when we reflect on the event.
At one of my first events, I discovered TwilioQuest. This is an interactive, game-based tool to teach the Twilio API to new developers. It's through this game that I've built chatbots, set up a forwarding service so I never have to list my real phone number on business cards, and first experimented programatically with WhatsApp. The Twilio API is great, and I love to use it as a solo developer.
As I continue to spread out through the enterprise space, though, I've started working with other APIs as well. Right now, I'm focused on better learning the RingCentral API as its product offering - particularly with machine learning integrations - is far more applicable to what I do these days. The RingCentral Game Changers program is a great way to learn the API - and earn prizes along the way! Like other organizations I've worked with, the developer evangelists from RingCentral are amazing. They've been at almost every conference I've seen over the past couple of years; they're super friendly, approachable, and more than willing to both answer questions and work alongside you while you learn your way through the system.
Any tech organization that seeks to work with developers needs to hire at least one (but preferably several) developer evangelists. Work with the community. Partner with them. Teach them your system. Build a tool like TwilioQuest or or Game Changers to teach people along the way. It makes a world of difference!