Why Ask a Developer?
It’s fun getting to know each developer! But we know individual stories can have unmerited weight. That’s why we also use data like that collected by Evans Data Corporation, SlashData, and our own surveys. However, running an idea, question or assumption by a member of the audience (MOA) can still add value. In this case, our MOAs are your audience, too — developers and other IT professionals.
Sure, there are as many answers as there are developers. Nonetheless, often interesting trends as well as hard-to-find nuances emerge. Unsurprisingly, stories told at a human scale often appear as overarching themes or trends at a population scale. That’s why we asked celebrity developer and Twitch Live Coder Jeffrey Fritz to ask fellow developers some of the questions technical content marketers most want answered.
Meet Caroline Kerns
Fritz talked to Caroline Kerns, the Community Manager for the Live Coders team. She goes by the screen name ”LilyHazel” and you’ll hear Fritz refer to her as “Lily.” She is a new developer using technical content to satisfy her curiosity as she immerses herself in programming.
What makes technical content a good learning tool for you?
English is Kerns’ second language. So, for her to learn from technical content in English, the language has to be straightforward and easy to read. In fact, Kerns says, “If it’s something that I’m struggling just reading through, before I’m even trying to do it, that’s going to be a problem. So I really get attracted to these tech contents that are written for somebody that may not have all the technology terms down just yet.”Kerns says, “If it's something that I'm struggling just reading through, before I'm even trying to do it, that's going to be a problem. So I really get attracted to these tech contents that are written for somebody that may not have… Click To Tweet
Kerns prefers blogs like those found on the developer community site Dev.to. Blogs that link terms back to explanations are the most useful for her. This includes content where the terms or technologies linked to explanations are not the focus. Content written with the assumption that the reader may not be familiar with the jargon is the most educationally valuable, because a less experienced developer can go click on links and learn the basics, while a more experienced developer can keep reading.
Do you prefer content written by the developer in the field to that written by the developer in the company providing the tools you are using?
Kerns likes a mixture of both types of technical content authors. But when she’s starting out, she wants content from developers using a tool, not developing the tool for the company. However, once she’s ready for more details, she appreciates vendor-authored content.
Do you see a lot of value from content contributed by developers from outside of that vendor?
Kerns sees a lot of value from content contributed by developers in the field, as long as it is vetted for quality and accuracy. Regarding content from contributors outside a tool vendor, Kerns notes, “…if it’s vetted by somebody with relationships to the vendor, that really understands what the vendor wants to put forth, I absolutely love it.” Kerns goes on to explain in more detail. She says, “Because you get different types of speaking, and different style [sic] of writing in there. And that can really help bring a point home.”
What are your favorite places to go and learn from right now?
Kerns is obsessively using dev.to. She also looks online for resources as much as possible. For example, GitHub, particularly their Learning Lab, is a favorite.
Kerns explains, “I’m starting with GitHub, for example. I really went to their website and it’s like, “Oh my God, they have a lab. Oh my God, they teach you everything.” And so, really diving more into that, and to the vendor-provided learning materials.”
Let’s dig into GitHub’s [Learning] Lab a little bit.
As Fritz notes, the ability to get hands-on with a tool in the browser, without installing anything and taking those first steps, is hugely popular with the developers we’ve heard from in this series.Fritz notes, the ability to get hands-on with a tool in the browser, without installing anything and taking those first steps, is hugely popular with the developers we’ve heard from in this series. Click To Tweet
Kerns explains why she likes it, saying, “It’s really engaging. And it also, it makes me less fearful of trying something new. If I’m trying something new based off a blog that somebody wrote, it makes me nervous. It’s like, “Do I really understand what he’s doing? Do I really understand what the outcome of this is?” But if it’s something that’s vendor-driven, that’s in the browser, it makes me feel a little bit more secure trying it and jumping into it.”