Top 20 Developer Advocates to Follow in 2020

January 16, 2020 Patricia Johnson

There is one goal that unites all developers, regardless of what organization they work for or what country they live in: constant progress.

Great developers are intrinsically motivated to improve and build better code. Fortunately, this has led to the emergence of developer advocates, a breed of experts dedicated to helping their colleagues succeed. 

In pursuit of progress and collaboration, top developer advocates are eager to share their ideas and experiences — both online and onstage. Here are the 20 Top Developer Advocates to Follow in 2020. 

What is a Developer Advocate?

Let’s quickly define what we’re talking about. 

A dev advocate is someone who represents developers’ interests and helps them use their tools more productively. They engage with developer communities and establish reliable feedback loops with users to ensure programmers get the information they need to improve their work. 

They’re engineers themselves and pride themselves on constant learning

The best thing about developer advocates? They really care about helping other programmers succeed.

20 Developer Advocates Worth Following

#1 JJ Asghar, Developer Advocate, IBM | @jjasghar

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A self-proclaimed “beer and computer nerd,” JJ serves as a developer advocate for IBM Cloud. There, he focuses on the IBM Kubernetes Service, helping companies and users achieve successful onboarding to the Cloud Native ecosystem. His top specialties are Linux Administration and Puppet infrastructure/administration. JJ is a sought-after speaker and a master at taking a complex topic, such as Istio, and breaking it down into a digestible, 4-minute explainer video.

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#2 David Delabassée, Developer Relations, Java Platform Group, Oracle | @delabassee

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David’s expertise in the Java ecosystem extends back to the early days of this technology. He champions Java around the world as a conference presenter and played a major hand in Java EE 8 and its transition to the Eclipse Foundation as part of the Jakarta EE initiative. Previously, David served as a Developer Advocate for Oracle’s serverless team, where he focused on the open source Fn Project. David gifts his expertise to the internet via his blog, and authors technical articles for various online publications.

#3 Abel Wang, Principal Cloud Developer Advocate, DevOps Lead, Microsoft OEM | @AbelSquidHead
WhiteSource Renovate

Abel began his software career in the 1990s. By 2006, he had founded and sold his own company, which pivoted him into a new direction: ALM and software development processes. His background is in Azure and application development. At Microsoft, Abel specializes in DevOps, and is part of Donovan Brown’s League of Extraordinary Cloud DevOps Advocates. His website, aptly titled “Write Cool Code,” showcases his extensive knowledge through blogs, presentations, and videos.

#4 Eric Johnson, Senior Developer Advocate - Serverless, Amazon Web Services | @edjgeek

Eric is a serverless fanatic. He is devoted to helping programmers understand how serverless technologies are driving a major paradigm shift in large-scale application development and deployment. Prior to joining Amazon Web Services, Eric worked as a developer, public cloud evangelist, and senior software architect. He served for 18 years as President and CEO of ENJO Design and has been an active public speaker for the last 25 years.

#5 Joseph Furbee, Developer Advocate, SAS Institute | @joefurbee1

As a developer advocate at SAS, Joseph serves as a liaison between the developer community and SAS technologies. He oversees developer.sas.com, which provides resources for developers on SAS and open source, and writes blogs on programming and SAS administration tips. Joseph is passionate about chronicling his journey as he expands his own knowledgebase of SAS and open source integration. 

#6 Tyler Charlesworth, Senior Developer Advocate, Workday | @tylerchrlswrth

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Tyler has spent nearly the last decade at Workday, starting as an application developer. In his current role as Senior Developer Advocate, he specializes in facilitating the success of external developers on the Workday Cloud Platform. Tyler is highly experienced with VPS, React, Java, Javascript, REST/Postman, Python, Bash scripting, and DevOps. He is passionate about “creating web applications that people love and the frameworks that help them succeed.”

#7 Lee Boonstra, Developer Advocate | @ladysign

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Lee is a developer advocate and applied AI engineer at Google, Lee is currently focussed on Dialogflow, Contact Center AI, and Speech technology. She is also a published OReilly author. In her blog, Lee says that she sees her Developer Advocate role as acting as a bridge between the engineering team and developer community, providing feedback to both groups. Her favorite topics to write and talk about are Dialogflow, Chatbots, Customer Care, The Future of the Contact Center (CCAI), Machine Learning for Developers, Diversity, LGBTQ+, Women in Tech, and AI for Financials

#8 Matthew Auerbach, Developer Advocate, Twitch | @mauerbac
WhiteSource Renovate

Matthew is a developer, creator, and advocate at Twitch, a live interactive video streaming service for gaming, music, chatting, sports, and more. You can catch his insights on his Vlog. Previously, Matthew founded Confir, a digital marketing tool, and served as a developer evangelist and software engineer at Optimizely. There, he focused on enabling developers to provide better customer experiences with Optimizely’s developer products.

#9 Jessica Garson, Developer Advocate, Twitter | @jessicagarson

Jessica is a Python programmer, educator, and artist. In addition to her role at Twitter, she is an adjunct professor at NYU, where she teaches Python. Jessica shares her Python expertise with eager listeners by delivering presentations at conferences. She also coordinates meetups and events, including DC’s Tech Lady Hackathon and Hack&&Tell.

#10 Anmol Agrawal, Developer Advocate, Atlassian | @anmolDevAd

Anmol promotes progress in the developer community through the educational blogs, presentations, and tutorials he delivers. As a software engineer, he works primarily with Ruby and JavaScript. Previously, Anmol served as a Developer Evangelist at PubNub, where he wrote blog posts and organized workshops to help developers learn to use PubNub SDKs. He also created tutorial series focused on IoT with Ruby, IoT with NodeJS, and real-time charts.

#11 Richard Moot, Developer Advocate, Square | @wootmoot

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Richard has served as a Developer Advocate for Square since November 2017. Before that, he was a Developer Evangelist at Shippo. Aside from his employed work, Richard is a member of DEV, a community of software developers that promotes collaboration and networked learning. There, he posts articles on Square for developers. Richard is highly experienced in JavaScript.

#12 Raphael Londner, Principal Product Manage, Pure Storage | @rlondner

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Prior to joining Pure Storage, Raphael served as Principal Cloud Developer Advocate at MongoDB. In that role, he promoted MongoDB extensive developer tools at conferences and engaged with the MongoDB developer community online and offline. He’s published numerous developer-oriented blog posts focused on cloud technologies (including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Heroku), and MongoDB core database capabilities.

#13 David Neal, Senior Developer Advocate, Okta | @reverentgeek
WhiteSource Renovate

David has more than 20 years of IT and developer experience. Before joining Okta, he worked for five years at LeanKit, where he built high-performance, scalable social media applications and served as a dev advocate. He’s been dedicated to “helping folks be more awesome” since 2010, speaking and volunteering at various developer meet-ups, conferences, and events. He has a blog, podcast, is a member of DEV and is also a Microsoft MVP.

#14 Rodney Urquhart, Staff Software Engineer/Developer Advocate, Slack | @RodneyU215

Rodney has nearly five years of working at Slack under his belt. As a software engineer and developer advocate, he’s working on developer relations to improve Slack’s open source SDKs and tools and rebuilt the Slack Python SDK. In his prior role as a Developer Experience lead, his focus was on increasing developer productivity, building tools and automation frameworks, and QA’ing features.

#15 Aaron Aldrich, Developer Advocate, Elastic | @crayzeigh

As a Developer Advocate at Elastic, Aaron is tasked with building up the Elastic community everywhere. He is a host on The Elasticast, the company’s programming-oriented podcast. He has 10 years of experience in IT and programming, and specializes in DevOps, Linux, and Linux system administration. Aaron works hard to build up the DevOps community by organizing events, writing blogs, and delivering presentations.

#16 Don Goodman-Wilson, Founding Board Member, Maintainerati Foundation | @DEGoodmanWilson

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Don is a founding board member of the Maintaineratie Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of open source maintainers. The broader mission of the group is to increase open source sustainability. Previously, he held Developer Advocate roles at GitHub, Sqreen, and Slack. Don’s talks and blog articles span a wide range of topics, from open source to developer relations to security.

#17 Tommy Gaessler, Developer Advocate, Zoom | @tommygaessler

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As a Developer Advocate for Zoom, Tommy focuses on the API and Developer Relations side of Zoom’s App Marketplace. He has many laudable projects under his belt, and was named one of the top 15 innovators in Colorado under 25 in 2019. Tommy is the editor of the Zoom Developer Blog, and also authors many articles himself. He specializes in Node.js, Angular, and Amazon Web Services.

#18 Ken Alger, Developer Advocate, MongoDB | @kenwalger

WhiteSource Renovate

Ken has honed his programming experience over the last 35 years. In his current role, he is dedicated to educating and empowering developers who want to build applications on MongoDB. Ken serves as a technical ally and partner to developers through his talks and participation in community events. In 2018, he won the William Zola Award for Community Excellence. He updates a blog and provides technical advice in his series “Building With Patterns.”

#19 Mike Preston, Technical Marketing Engineer, Rubrik | @mwpreston

Mike has 20 years of IT and software engineering experience, specializing in VMware’s line of virtualization products. He was named a vExpert for the last seven years, and is also a co-leader in the Toronto VMUG. Mike’s blog spans a wide range of topics, including automation and scripting, systems administration, and numerous technical series.

#20 Nathan Peck, Senior Developer Advocate - Container Services, Amazon Web Services | @nathankpeck

Nathan is a developer advocate for Elastic Container Services at Amazon Web Services. In this role, he is responsible for educating current and potential customers about the suite of container services on AWS by writing blog posts, posting demos, and public speaking. He writes detailed technical articles that explore trends, answer questions, and guide readers through complex development work.

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