What Does A Developer Advocate Do, Exactly? Interview With Mikeal Rogers, Yammer’s Developer Advocate

As Yammer has been growing explosively since its launch 2.5 years ago, our community has also grown. Our community consists not only of our users and partners, it’s also of third-party developers. Without third party developers, we wouldn’t have apps like YammerFox, the Firefox extension, among others. Our relationship with developers is so important that we hired a fulltime developer advocate Mikeal Rogers. I sat down with Mikeal to talk about his job and his upcoming goals in this Q&A-style interview:

Q: Hello Mikeal, can you please introduce yourself? What do you do at Yammer?

A: My name is Mikeal Rogers, and I’m the developer advocate here at Yammer. I act as a bridge between third party developers and Yammer. I’m an advocate for people who use our API. Check out this short video of Mikeal’s job in his own words:


Q: How did you find this job?

A: Yammer put a call out to hire for this position, and it was the perfect opportunity for me, as I’ve essentially been a developer advocate for years. In the past, I worked as an engineer for Mozilla; since it’s an open source project, there was a fair amount of advocacy that naturally came with the job. After Mozilla, I was an early employee at CouchOne. CouchOne was a product for developers, so essentially everyone there was an evangelist.

Q: What are some things that you’ve accomplished since you’ve been here?

A: So far (over the past couple of months), I’ve improved documentation and created a new developer landing page. I’ve been promoting the developer community and developing resources for them, such as a more comprehensive walkthrough of the OAuth flow.

Q: What are your strategic goals?

A: I want to help people using the API; currently the flow is a little difficult. I’m going to make it easier to use the API. Another objective is to proactively reach out to developers in other communities to use the Yammer platform.

Q: How do you find developers?

A: Online communities as well as conferences and events. On average, I travel 30% of my time going to various events. I’m also deeply involved with some conferences. For example, I’m on the programming committee for OSCON and the lead organizer for NodeConf. I’m currently helping out 3-4 other JavaScript related conferences.

Q: Do you find larger or smaller events more productive?

A: Smaller events all the way! Smaller events tend to be frequented by innovators, while larger conferences cater to more of a mainstream audience that’s trying to figure out how to fit tools into their workflow. I try to keep all events in which I’m involved in as small as we can.

Q: With so many communities and projects to look after, how do you prioritize?

A: Having come from the open source community, I have a strong workflow in place that I adopted years ago. As a general rule, I make a priority anyone who is blocked from doing their job. If you are trying to develop something and are stuck, I would help you first. If I’m not traveling and helping people get their jobs done, I’m working on my longer-term projects.

Q:  What do you think are the success characteristics for a solid developer advocate?

A: A good developer advocate needs to first and foremost be able to think of people outside their organization. When we work somewhere, we adopt an internal process and forget what it’s like for someone from the outside. “Also, you have to be a true advocate for your community, no matter what it takes – sometimes you may have to upset people inside your own company, and you can’t be afraid of that.”

And there you have it – our new developer advocate Mikeal Rogers is here to connect Yammer to its developer community. If you are interested in working with Yammer, please visit the developer documentation page and reach out to Mikeal. You can find him on Twitter and GitHub.