Jon Meyers: Teaching in Public to Developer Advocacy

Jon Meyers: Teaching in Public to Developer Advocacy
Meg Cumby
Meg Cumby

Jon had been working as a software engineer for a few years when he became interested in doing developer advocacy. He enjoyed teaching others and had previous experience teaching programming as a tutor and bootcamp instructor, but had transitioned away because he wasn’t feeling challenged teaching the same basics over and over again.

With developer advocacy, I’d get to tackle new unsolved problems, but then I also get to create teaching resources for other people, which is I think the perfect middle ground for me between these two different career paths of working as a full-time software developer and as a teacher

As part of his journey to become a developer advocate, Jon started creating content to teach others including a YouTube course on building an e-commerce platform. He was particularly interested in becoming an egghead instructor as part of that journey, having seen the value of the resources we create in his own learning.

After participating and publishing a technical case study as a participant in one of our Portfolio Project Clubs, we extended an invite to Jon to be part of a Course Club to learn how to effectively plan a course informed by research and instructional design.

I think what I was really excited to get out of it was a way to spend more time on the actual design of the course,” says Jon. “That structure around why I was teaching the thing that I was teaching was something I lacked.

Learning to create a high-value course for learners

Through the course club, Jon learned about how to apply audience research and instructional design in course planning to create more valuable learning resources.

Over the course of six weeks, Jon and his fellow club participants went through the process of:

  • researching what pains people were experiencing on topics they were interested in teaching
  • defining a single goal for their course and backwards planning the milestones, skills, and knowledge the learner would need to acquire to meet that goal
  • building out a core example to teach against throughout the course
  • designing exercises that will help learners prove they understood what was taught
  • organizing everything together in a cohesive curriculum outline

Jon said going through the process helped him be more intentional around designing learning material.

Previously, I was just teaching what I knew how to do. Whereas stepping through that process with egghead, we were really focused on designing from the end — trying to work out what are the learner outcomes that we want for the student and how to design a course that addresses those outcomes?

Jon later applied the planning work he’d done in the club into recording what would become his second egghead course on how to build a SaaS product with Next.js, Supabase and Stripe. (Check out his first course on building static pages dynamically using Next.js and the Notion API, which he published in September 2021).

Throughout both designing and recording, Jon appreciated the support he received from the team, including the opportunity to get expert feedback on his work.

The best feedback I got throughout the whole process was making sure that everything that is in the course has a reason for being in the course, and it's directly linked to the learner outcomes,” says Jon. “I also got really helpful feedback around small improvements I could make while recording to keep my interface completely clutter free and reduce any distractions.

🎉 Successful course launches and applying what he learned as a full-time Developer Advocate

Both of Jon’s egghead courses were well-received — both receiving high ratings and reviews and seeing more than 100 people completing them within the first few months.

I think that because I created a valuable resource that people were already asking for in the community, it really helped to get a lot more engagement for the course because I was solving a real problem that was out there and creating real value. The marketing support egghead provides also helped a lot more people see this course than if I was putting it out by myself.

During our collaboration, Jon landed a job as a full-time Developer Advocate at Supabase. He says having a published case study and course on egghead, on top of the resources he published on his own, helped him better demonstrate and validate his ability to create valuable content. He’s also using what he learned from collaborating with egghead in his content creation work at Supabase.

There are endless things I could create content about for Supabase," says Jon. "I created a huge list of all the different articles and courses and things I could create if I had unlimited time. What I learned really helped me work out which resources and pieces of content would be better to invest time in creating — not just picking something off the backlog because it's there, but having a prioritized list of problems that people really need to solve. Plus, the way egghead taught me to present and edit screencasts is such an efficient workflow that it means I can create a lot more content in my job than if I hadn't learnt those skills.

We’re expanding our collaboration with Jon in his role as Developer Advocate, working to build out a coordinated, high-quality collection of Supabase resources on egghead.

We obviously share a lot of audience with egghead. Creating resources gives us exposure to a larger audience than we have on our own,” says Jon. “But more than that, I think working with egghead on a strategic long-term plan and putting the time into designing that whole program is going to allow us to create much higher quality resources that logically link to each other and present a clear structured pathway that you can step through.