What exactly is an AI Developer Advocate role?

The ability to make human connections is the most vital aspect of an AI/ML Developer Advocate’s job
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An AI/ML developer advocate not only builds AI models but also explains about the process of building AI models. Owing to their in depth knowledge, organisations typically hire Developer Advocates to advocate for their products.

With the recent emergence of AI and ML, the role of an AI/ML Developer Advocate has also gained prominence. 

An Amazon job post for an AI/ML developers advocate read, “Do you love getting hands-on with technology and sharing your passion for AL and ML with the wider data science and AI/ML enthusiasts community?”

If we were to decipher the statement from Amazon, it’d seem to define the requirements of an AI/ML Developer Advocate role. To begin with, they must have a strong technical background and must be aware of the nuances of the AI/ML field. Further, they must also act as a bridge between the organisation and the AI/ML community and vice versa.

Don Goodman-Wilson, former Developer Advocate at GitHub said that the ability to make human connections is by far the most important aspect of an AI/ML Developer Advocate’s role.

Let’s delve deeper into what the profile of an AI/ML Developers Advocate entails.

Technical know-how 

One of the biggest misconceptions associated with the role of a Developer Advocate is that they are not developers themselves. However, in order to take up the role of an AI/ML Developer Advocate, the candidate must know every aspect of the field. 

In fact, most Developer Advocates have experience working on AI/ML projects. They engage in AI research, train AI models and create new systems of solving problems but that may not be the case for all organisations. Further, they also possess every skill set needed to be successful in the field of AI, such as know-how in programming languages, exploratory data analysis, and data engineering, among others.

Developer Advocates help teams break new barriers in the field of AI but that’s not the only aspect they deal with. 

Community engagement

Another important aspect of a developer advocate role is to connect their organisation to the larger AI/ML community and encourage routine engagement. 

Developer Advocates achieve that through platforms such as Discord, Stack Overflow and other forums such as Reddit. Some even upload videos on Youtube and run podcasts every now and then. 

Considering their knowledge in the particular field, they also take questions and address them accordingly. In addition, developer advocates host live sessions and educate the community on the recent developments in their field of work or about the organisation’s products and services.

They also speak at AI/ML conferences, where they can network with fellow developers. For instance, it is important for developer advocates to be aware of an AI/ML developer working for Google enlightening the larger community about the search giant’s recent breakthrough or its AI/ML-based products.

Bringing in product feedback 

Since Developer Advocates engage with the community on a larger level, they also bring in product feedback from the community and pass them on to the AI researchers and scientists working in the organisation. This, in turn, helps the organisation improve their product offering.

Engagements such as these by developer advocates eventually help nurture a community around the organisation’s product or platform. AI is still at a very nascent stage, and having a community around would mean a lot more in terms of input and innovation.

Content creation

Developer Advocates not only create a community around their organisation’s product, they also help create the content around such products that then goes out to the larger AI/ML community.

The content could be in the form of blog posts, compelling notebook tutorials, explainers or even demo videos to encourage and maintain engagement.

Open source

​​With many fast paced developments in the world of AI, there is a growing concern about AI being in the hands of large corporations. This has resulted in the open source movement for AI.

Developer Advocates lead the open source projects in many organisations and help them open source more AI models.  Several organisations are also open sourcing their AI projects and sharing their codes on platforms like Github.

It’s more than marketing

Promoting the company’s products and services is also a part of the job description of most AI/ML Developer Advocates. However, they are not merely marketers. Of course, marketing is an important avenue for any business. Statistically, a company spends between 5~12 per cent of their annual revenue on marketing. But the role of Developer Advocates varies from organisation to organisation and is not merely restricted to marketing. 

Some organisations tend to hire Developer Advocates to primarily undertake promotional work for their products and services while others consider that an aspect of their larger responsibilities. In its essence, an AI/ML Developer Advocate’s responsibility is to build relationships with the community and sustain these relationships with routine engagement—be it in the form of content, social media interactions, seminars or conferences.

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Pritam Bordoloi
I have a keen interest in creative writing and artificial intelligence. As a journalist, I deep dive into the world of technology and analyse how it’s restructuring business models and reshaping society.

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