Everyone hates writing about themselves. Why? It’s hard to know what to say — and what not to say. Do you come off as a braggart or look like a n00b? Either way, it can be a frustrating experience.
After writing about 50 speaker bios for WordPress developers over the last few years, I’ll tell you that they’re easier than you’d think.
First, let’s talk about what your developer bio isn’t.
So, here’s the situation. You’re going to a conference and will be hosting a panel. They want you to submit a bio. What do you say?
Your developer bio really doesn’t need to list all of your skills. And in the tech stack of today, there aren’t enough containers for some of y’all’s qualifications—not to Bash on you too hard.
So don’t list all of your qualifications. I mean if you have a Ph.D. in cybersecurity, that’s pretty rad. But to write a killer developer bio, you need to understand the purpose. It’s the same as engineering software. What problem is this meant to solve?
The purpose of a developer bio is to give folks a bit of a flavor of who you are so that they will want to:
It’s so weird to talk about yourself in the third person. But this bio is speaking about you, so avoid “I.” “Bridget Willard is a speaker…” It seems so odd to write that way, but it's a very common format and helps those who are publishing your bio alongside your content or contributions.
A mental trick is to think of yourself as an emcee at a show introducing you. And then, if you’d like to repurpose your bio on your own website, create a second version. Because I think the first-person format is friendlier, I have both versions on my website. When a website, conference, or podcast needs that info, they can copy/paste it. Done.
Once your bio is written, use it everywhere: LinkedIn, your website, Gravatar, GitHub, etc.
You don’t want to be too much of a mystery, especially when it comes to DevRel. It’s important to facilitate connection. Along with having a profile photo that looks like you, one of the vital pieces of a stellar developer bio is correct contact information.
Where do you want people to find you? I recommend including your Twitter handle and website, but not everyone wants to list a website. That’s okay, too. Choose one form of contact. Consider including your GitHub username as well. Then be ready for people to actually follow and message you.
You can write a friendly and fun developer bio for speaking, outreach, or articles in about 20 minutes. To make this easier, I created a Mad Lib format just for you that includes a spot for all of these tips. It’s based on my workshop at WCUS in 2019.
This post was originally authored by Bridget Williard for Devocate, which joined the Common Room family in August 2022. For more developer relations insights and resources, check out the Common Room blog. Learn more about Common Room’s solution for DevRel teams if you're looking for an intelligent community growth platform to educate, empower, and enable your community.