CompanyAugust 13, 2018

From Evangelist to Developer Advocates

Jeffrey Carpenter
Jeffrey CarpenterSoftware Engineer - Stargate
From Evangelist to Developer Advocates

We've recently renamed our Technical Evangelist team at DataStax. Read this post to find out why and what it means for you.

Renaming our Technical Evangelist team to Developer Advocates is a change we’ve been talking about for a while, and we thought we’d explain why we chose to do this now. First, let me give you a quick overview of why we exist, who we are, and what we do.

Why we exist

The mission of the Developer Advocate team is to:

Make developers awesome, by educating and exciting them about when and how to use Apache Cassandra and DataStax products, and amplifying their voice inside DataStax.

Since you’re reading this on DataStax Academy - that “them” is you - our developers. 

Who we are

Here is our amazing team of advocates. You can also find more about us on the contributors page.


There is a great breadth of skills and experience on this team - application development, architecture, analytics, open source contributions, operations, community development - if you name a software role, one of us has probably done it.

What we do

We accomplish our mission through a variety of activities, including things like:

  • Engaging developers in 1:1 and group settings
  • Creating helpful content like the Distributed Data Show and other materials on this site
  • Providing reference applications like KillrVideo to light the way to success
  • Giving talks at conferences, Developer Days, and community meetups
  • Being a part of the broader software industry conversation on social media
  • Trying new mediums to connect with you, like live coding on Twitch

Dev Advocates In Action

As you may have noticed, that’s a lot of activity focused toward you, and rightly so. But all of this also enables a lot of inward-focused activity that is a major part of our role as well:

  • Being the 0th customer - as some of the first to try out new features and products, we kick the tires pretty hard and help our engineering team file down rough edges before release 
  • Providing product feedback - we deliver the feedback we hear from you, whether it’s by filing a Jira, requesting a documentation update, or passing along praise to the team 
  • Influencing product direction - we also take a “big picture” approach in thinking about your feedback  to ensure your priorities are voiced in our product planning and roadmapping efforts

And now to the name change

The term “evangelist” has been a great description of an important role for the first years of DataStax history, when we were helping both to establish Apache Cassandra as a viable technology for large scale cloud applications and to grow the Cassandra community. The term evangelist strongly conveys the sense of traveling far and wide to raise the awareness and excitement about the technology that was necessary in those early stages. 

However, as Cassandra has matured and DataStax has focused increasingly on the enterprise market, this is a great time for us to revisit that “evangelist” title. 

Many software companies have begun using the term “developer advocate”, and we feel this best captures our primary goal of making you - our developers - successful with DataStax technology and Apache Cassandra. While the term “evangelist” implies a one-way communication, “developer advocate” emphasizes two-way interactions, both externally and internally. 

This is not a change of mission, but it is a change of emphasis. Our role continues to include elements such as raising awareness and excitement about the technology (the evangelism part), but we’re putting our highest priority on helping you use the technology successfully, and representing your viewpoint to the rest of the organization (the advocacy part).

We’re on your side for success

As advocates, we love to hear from you about your experience with Cassandra and DataStax - both the hard parts and the success stories. If there are topics you’d like to see us cover on the Distributed Data Show or a Twitch stream or a blog post, let us know!



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