From Photographer to Developer w/Ashley McNamara – Ep 90

ashleymcnamaraThis week we’re joined by another Developer Advocate in the wild. Ashley McNamara, community unicorn herder at ObjectRocket, leads us downs the path toward her title. Her and Matt caught up at Velocity Conf and exchanged the secret handshake that they can’t tell you about.

Ashley is an incredible photographer and did it full-time for a while. She now spends her day in a completely different way. We discuss:

  • Career transition
  • The economics of photography
  • Going from “sort of” in technology to Developer Advocate
  • Being a business owner (90% business, 10% skill)
  • Building our future robotic overlords
  • The career pivot
  • Learn Python the Hard Way by Zed Shaw
  • Meetups, Meetups, Meetups
  • Reaching out to a mentor
  • Girls Who Code
  • How everyone sucks at something (and how to admit it)
  • Will Wheaton on why it’s amazing to be a geek

We also mention quite a lot of learning to code resources.  For computer science knowledge (which is NOT a pre-req to coding):

For hands-on experience with coding:

Ashley found that old school was the most helpful for her and she recommended these books, both children’s and intro:


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  1. […] Developer Advocate – another new, exciting hybrid role. Your job is heavily dependent on what organization you fall under. If you roll up to marketing, expect your performance to be measured in community size, audience acquisition and content creation like blogs, podcasts and the such. If you fall into engineering, you’re likely in the Google model, which pairs DAs with strategic partners to build proof of concepts. No matter the organization, its key to want to be part of the technical community. You’ll constantly balance hands-on, on the road and the big picture reports, but it’s a hell of a role – I can tell you from experience. Also, learn more from Ashley McNamara’s episode of Geek Whisperers. […]

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