What is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft?


 

I get asked this question all of the time, so I thought it was appropriate to explain exactly what this job is about and why I enjoy it so much.

UPDATE:

My peer in Philadelphia, Amanda Lange (@Second_Truth) put together a video illustrating what her experience has been like. Take a look and you can get a great understanding of what the role is all about.


 


 

 

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One thought on “What is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft?

  1. Excellent points. Every single one of them.

    If I were to explain evangelism I would say it’s primarily made of two words: optimism and enthusiasm, both of which drive our goal of inspiration. We aspire to inspire developers to try something new, to raise their game, and to reconsider their approaches. We speak, specifically, for the sake of change.

    Optimism is core to evangelism because we are often the only voice of reason or knowledge. We step into a developer’s nightmare to show them 1) others have accomplished it, so they can push on and 2) others have accomplished it, and we’re going to share the secret sauce.

    Enthusiasm is core to evangelism because in the morass of development it’s easy to get jaded, designing lackluster architectures never that tap into new or even forthcoming services. Where others say, “this never works” we’re the ones that say, “let me show you how it works, you’re going to love it”.

    An evangelist opens Visual Studio before they open Outlook. An evangelist is the first to raise their hand. An evangelist is the one installing beta software and teaching/blogging the crazy work-arounds they’ve discovered in the process. An evangelist is a very public, hard-working developer.

    Conversely, an evangelist isn’t going to continue to convince you – either you’re onboard or we move on to the next audience. An evangelist isn’t going to spar with a hater – either the product sells itself or it’s dead in the water. An evangelist isn’t a shill, we’re honest while respectfully remembering who signs our check.

    Our lack of a sales quota doesn’t mean we don’t have agendas or measures. But to effect change, evangelists establish and garden influence. What we say needs to be real or our influence wanes. It’s because of this that well-established evangelists are a reliable source of industry direction.

    But like you said, the job is not for everyone. If you aren’t a good teacher, you aren’t a good fit. If you aren’t a good developer, you aren’t a good fit. And if you aren’t motivated to help other developers step up, you just aren’t a good fit. Good evangelists thrive, unexcited evangelists get weeded out naturally.

    Skills every evangelist needs:

    1. Development skills
    2. Teaching skills
    3. Speaking skills
    4. Writing skills
    5. Listening skills
    6. Smiling skills

    Great post, Dave. Love your blog.

    // Jerry

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