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Meet the Expert: Developer Experience Engineer Robin Moffatt

Developer Experience Engineer, Robin Moffatt, shares his career journey and his powerful belief that has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as a professional.  

Landscape photographer James Rushforth shares his journey as a professional photographer and how BenQ's lighting products have helped with his work.

Robin Moffatt, a British developer with a bachelor’s degree in music, has been working with data for over twenty years. He mainly works in the field of developer relations (also known as DevRel, which covers different teams whose responsibility is to create and foster communities of developers). As part of this role creates YouTube videosspeaking at conferences, writing, and publishing blog articles. Now, he is a Principal Developer Experience Engineer at Treeverse.


Robin has been speaking at conferences since 2009 and has been awarded as the best speaker in several conferences including Kafka Summit 2020, Big Data Technology Warsaw Summit 2019 and UKOUG 2018. He previously worked with Oracle developers and was recognized as an Oracle ACE Director and “Super Elite” contributor to Oracle Technology Network Forums. 


Continue reading as Robin goes in depth of his career journey, work-life balance, and his life philosophy. 

Robin with Confluent


A Look at the Life of a DevRel Professional


What is a Developer Experience Engineer? What does a typical day look like?

A Developer Experience Engineer works with software developers to improve their experience with the product based on their perspective, whilst a Developer Advocate is often traveling around and speaking on stage, they both belong to DevRel, but have different working content. As a DevEx engineer, I work with a product called LakeFS to make sure it tutorials, examples, and documentation are easy for developers to understand and use. In addition, I cover some of the technical aspects of the product as well.


How did you end up working in this field?

After studying Music at university, I joined an IT graduate scheme and over the course of a few years learned more about data warehousing. Later I became a consultant and one of my responsibility was to write and deliver training courses. I really enjoyed writing and was interested in speaking at conferences. After joining Confluent, I moved to a role as a Developer Advocate in his DevX team. At this role, I learned all bout DevRel, like building stuff and giving talks, and am enthusiastic about helping people.


Which part of the job do you like the most?

One of the greatest things being a developer under DevRel is you can do so many different things all within a role. We’ll be busy in different phases if we’re doing different stuff. If you're doing lots of conferences, you'll be preparing talks or researching them. If you're blogging, you’ll probably spend weeks building up what the project talks about, and you’ll spend a lot of time online helping people in different forums, like StackOverflow, Twitter and Reddit.

“It is so much good to do so many different things all within this.”

Integrity, the Key of Building Trust

Robin giving talks in conferences


What do you think makes an outstanding Developer Advocate or Developer Experience Engineer?

Being genuine and honest in a conversation with developers. It’s not just about convincing or telling lies about your product. A good DevRel will dive deep into developer’s needs and problems, and provide them with the most honest advice possible. Talking negatively about the competitor is easy to convince others, however it’s a negative approach that has a short-term gain but long-term negative impact on your product. If your product is really good, people will actually discover it, use it and share it.


What challenges have you faced as a Developer Advocate/Developer Experience Engineer? How did you overcome it?

Navigating how to do right by your job and family. As a Developer Advocate, you travel around far from home, just as I did away from my family earlier in the year, that was the biggest challenge. During the pandemic, things changed. We couldn’t travel, so I stayed at home and sat in front of the monitor making videos, providing online support, blogging, and building demos. This provided a way to balance work and family. You can still help developers without having to choose between work and family. Now I work as a DX engineer, where I could help developers at work, help them online during the rest of the time, the most importantly I could stay with my family.


Which details would you never compromise during your work?

I think the key thing is the integrity. It’s the easiest thing to do to build up trust in developers instead of just sharing a product like saying this is the best thing and you should use this. You will lose that integrity all at once and then it’s all over. Trust is hard to gain and that’s easy to lose.

“Don’t compromise your integrity. Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose.”

Stay Focused and Improve Productivity

Robin’s speaking in conferences


As a person who works in the field of developer relations, do you have any tips about not getting nervous in public speaking?

To me, it’s being familiar with what you’re saying. I used to get nervous when giving a speech, so I tried to stand in front of a camera and record it to see if there was anything I could improve. It also makes yourself more familiar with your content.


How have you managed to increase your working efficiency? For example, during the time in front of the monitor doing engineering or video editing.

Because of the pandemic, we need to sit in front of the computer for a long time, which can easily lead to back discomfort and distraction from work, thereby reducing work efficiency. Fortunately, I have a standing desk, and I can occasionally use the computer while standing, so I successfully avoided any eye strain or back problems.

ScreenBar Halo: A Must-Have Gadget for Heavy Screen User

Robin’s work-from-home setup with BenQ ScreenBar Halo


What do you think about our ScreenBar Halo?

I spend lots of time looking at the screen but I actually don’t have any lighting products on my desk. In the UK, it gets dark quite early, making it hard to see the screen during that time. After using the ScreenBar Halo, I didn’t think I want not to have it anymore as it makes it much more comfortable to look at the screen when it’s dark outside. I like its wireless controller. I can just switch it on and I don’t have to do any configuration or setting up as the auto-dimming function will adjust itself automatically.

“That is when I really know the benefit of the ScreenBar Halo.”

Live in the Present and Look to the Future

Robin visits Whitby Abbey


On a scale of 1 to 100, how would you rate your life so far?

I think it's 100. I’m lucky to have a wonderful family, staying with my wife and two children, I have a job that I enjoy, and I can stay in my favorite part of England.


What is your motto and future goals?

Don't compromise your integrity and have them be faith for others. It is also the belief that I have come along with. I hope that in the future I can keep doing what I enjoy, keep learning new things and keep helping all developers with this belief. That’s kind of the general path that I follow.


Do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to work in the field of developer relations? (e.g., personality or professional competencies)

People go into DevRel from a variety of routes. One of the things that I'm glad I did was to build up multiple years of experience as a developer first. I feel that this makes it easier for me to empathise directly with developers and the problems and challenges they'll encounter.

Me speaking at Kafka Summit London 2022

Robin speaking at Kafka

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