Getting the most out of MasterClass as a developer advocate

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Published on 21 July 2022 by Andrew Owen (4 minutes)

First off, the obligatory disclaimer. I was gifted an annual subscription to MasterClass by my employer, and I’m not getting paid to write this. There are a vast array of online learning resources. I’m not endorsing this one over any of the others. But if you’re a developer advocate, and you already have a MasterClass subscription, these are the courses that I’ve found the most relevant to the job.

Kris Jenner on Personal Branding

I’ve been a private individual for most of my life. Even in my days as a news reporter, I’d duck out of the office whenever the photographers were around, so they couldn’t put a picture of me above my byline. So the biggest challenge I had to overcome in becoming a developer advocate was accepting that a part of me would forever more be in the public domain.

When you become a public figure, like it or not, you have a brand. You can leave it to your audience to determine what that brand is, or you can actively try to shape it. Love or loathe Keeping Up With The Kardashians, it’s undeniable that Kris Jenner knows a thing or two about personal branding.

LeVar Burton on Storytelling

Having started my career in newspapers, I’m an advocate for the power of storytelling. I believe that, as humans, it’s one of the two most powerful learning tools we have, the other being play. I also believe that when explaining something of which your audience has no experience, you should do so as if you were talking to a child.

LeVar Burton is an award-winning actor who hosted Reading Rainbow on PBS Kids for over 23 years. His course includes topics such as active listening, body language, and how to speak. The lessons can be applied to creating blogs, podcasts, videos and other content.

Nancy Cartwright on Voice Acting

When I was just 19 years old, I did a mini-internship on WBAI news in New York during spring break. In the space of one week, I interviewed the biggest names I’d ever encounter in my entire career as a reporter. Two tips from my producer stick with me. Never swear: that’s the take that will find its way onto the air. You can loop about three minutes and a half minutes of ambient sound and no-one will notice it’s a loop.

Nancy Cartwright is best known as the voice of Bart Simpson. Most of her course on voice acting is equally applicable to any voice recording. She covers topics including voice control, diet and drink, sleep and rest, breathing, hygiene, and exercise. She also has some technical tips for getting good sound.

Robin Roberts on Effective and Authentic Communication

My journalism background is mainly in print, with a small amount of radio. It’s also been over two decades since I was a full time news reporter. I’ve spoken a few times at conferences, but I’m out of practice. So one thing I was really looking for some help with was presenting.

Robin Roberts is a veteran broadcaster, best known as anchor at ABC’s Good Morning America. Her topics include telling your personal story, connecting with your audience, public speaking, communicating your value at work, interview techniques and ethics.

Other courses

These are the four courses that I think offer the most benefit to developer advocates. Here are the links:

I’m also planning to dip into courses on filmmaking, sound editing, screen writing and design. Although I’ve no interest in learning to play tennis (no depth perception), I watched Serena William’s course because I find her inspirational. And I was able to take away some valuable lessons on handling adversity.


After I originally published this, MasterClass introduced Sessions. Each session has a 30-day curriculum to complete a real-world project. Students are promised meaningful feedback and a supportive community. As a developer advocate, the one that’s most interesting to me is Marques Brownlee’s Make Compelling Videos That Go Viral. In the end, my subscription ran out before I completed it.