Leveling Up Your Developer Career with Ambassadors Programs

First Published: October 19, 2020

I'm actively developing this article and my list of ambassadors programs. If you've got a program you'd like me to add to this list, feel free to send me a PR for review.

Whether you're looking to grow your developer career through writing and speaking or trying to become a developer advocate, ambassadors programs can be fantastic tools. Ambassadors programs are "extended dev rel teams" for SaaS companies. Basically, in exchange for creating educational content such as articles or talks on a SaaS product, the company will offer some perks and benefits. These programs are an amazing way for you to start doing dev rel right away and build your body of work as I describe in Getting Started in Developer Relations.

The Perks 🎉

Ambassadors programs vary in their perks and benefits, but here are some examples:

  • Travel support to events where you are speaking about the product or a related topic
  • A free account or upgrade or credits for the product
  • Discounts or free accounts for related tools
  • Swag for yourself and to give away at events
  • Training in both technical and dev rel topics
  • A platform for content that is likely bigger than your own
  • Early access to new features
  • Direct access to engineers and developer advocates at the team

These programs can also be a hiring funnel (though as you might imagine the supply is much smaller than the demand). So, if there's a company that is your "dream job," see if they have one of these programs!

Pro Tips from a Program Runner ✅

  • You’ll want to have some level of familiarity with the product before applying. Don’t apply if you haven’t at least used the product in a few sample applications. That said, you’re definitely not expected to be an expert, so if one of these tools resonates with you, go for it! Enthusiasm is a huge factor here!
  • You'll probably also want to have some amount of experience speaking or writing when you apply to these programs. You don't need to be an internationally acclaimed conference speaker or anything, but try to get a few meetups or articles under your belt.
  • Most of these programs understand that conference talks can't be giant commercials for their product, so usually they'll count anything related to the product. For example, a program focused on a SaaS database product will usually count a general talk about why you should consider a cloud provider for a database.
  • Several (but not all) of these programs provide travel support to conferences as a perk. Right now, nearly everyone is grounded due to COVID, so now is the perfect time to get your foot in the door while demand is low. As soon as in person events resume, I expect to see a big spike in applications.
  • These programs vary in their competitiveness and their application process. Some require an interview or sample project. Some of these programs may also have limits based on region. You won't know unless you try though, so give it a shot!

A Round-Up of Ambassadors Programs 🎠

Here's a current list of ambassadors programs and a little bit about each company:

  • Ably Experts Network - Ably is a pub/sub messaging platform with a suite of integrated services to deliver complete realtime functionality directly to end-users. This program is slightly different than the others because it is more of a paid freelancer program than an ambassadors program.
  • Auth0 Ambassadors - Auth0 is an identity and security platform. Spoilers: this is the program my team and I run as part of my day job.
  • AWS Community Builders - This is Amazon's program for people tuned into all of their web services.
  • Cloudinary Media Developer Experts - Cloudinary is a media processing and storage service.
  • Cypress Ambassadors - Cypress is an amazing e2e testing tool.
  • Google Developer Experts - The GDE program is the prototype for most ambassadors programs, though today it is so large and competitive that it has become more of a reward program.
  • Hashnode Ambassadors - I mentioned the content platform Hashnode in one of my newsletters. This is more like a referral program than an ambassadors program but it still sounds beneficial.
  • Progress Ninjas - Progress makes the UI library Kendo UI.
  • Twilio Champions - Twilio started as "that SMS provider" but has become a massive company all about communication.
  • Vonage Voyagers - Vonage is a voice and messaging company.

Coming Soon ⏰

I heard through the grapevine that the following companies are in the process of building their own ambassadors program, so keep your eyes peeled:

  • NuxtJS - NuxtJS is a very powerful and popular framework for Vue.
  • Snyk - Snyk is a security company for applications, containers, and infrastructure as code.
  • FaunaDB - FaunaDB is a "database as a service" provider.

Honorable Mention: Student Programs 👩‍🎓

If you're a student or know any students, these programs are a similar concept but aimed at students:

Where to Go Next

Ambassadors programs are great way to simultaneously grow your career, serve the community, and start building a dev rel body of work. Let me know if you found this helpful and if you've joined any programs as a result.

If you're trying to level up your developer career through writing and speaking or hoping to become a developer advocate, hop on my email newsletter below and check out my book Getting Started in Developer Relations.

See you next soon!

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Sam Julien © 2020