A little over a year ago I wrote DevRel: The basics, a blog post with my basic understanding about Developer Relations based on my studies about the area.
At the time, I had just accepted the offer for my current position, Associate Developer Relations Engineer at New Relic, and was reading everything I could about DevRel. People around me began asking me often what was DevRel, I decided to share what I knew at the time.
In 2021 I learned a lot about DevRel, Communities, Content Creation and about myself as well, so some things may seem personal, but I am sure you can learn from all my experiences.
1. Creating content is hard
Especially if we are talking about good quality and consistent content.
When I started, I would write an article every Friday. Then it dropped to every other Friday and now this is my first article in months. Wanna know why? Because I did too much too fast in the beginning!
All my writer fuel was burned and I just didn’t have the mental energy or inspiration.
That is why, for 2022 my goal is one article a month, so I can be consistent, write posts with quality and not get stuck or tired.
2. While the terminology DevRel has got popular recently, the work we do is not that new
I don’t know about you, but often I hear people saying DevRel is a new field. Well, it is as new as Front-End , since the first team focused on the work DevRel does was built around the time the World Wide Web was born.
It was not called DevRel, but it looked a lot like it.
3. There is space in DevRel for less technical people
DevRel goes beyond Developer Advocacy, or writing technical content. Having experience with programming is usually required, but you can have great people without programming skills. Community Managers and Social Media Managers for example, with good planning they can be a great asset for DevRel without the need for them learning how to code.
4. And for Junior Devs as well
If there are few job openings for Junior Developers, there are even less for Developer Relation roles. And, in my opinion, that is a mistake. Juniors have the fresh and humble vision, they tend to ask great questions and create content that attends
5. You always have something to teach
This is something that I always say to people, but after becoming a DevRel person, this became crystal clear. I cannot tell you how many times I was asked to talk about something that:
1 - I thought everyone knew about, but lots of people didn’t or
2- Explaining something I didn’t think I knew much about, I realized that I actually was quite well acknowledged on that topic.
We often don’t know how much we know, and being in DevRel you will often have the chance to better understand your own teaching skills.
6. And it is ok to learn on the go
Part of my job is to create content, and sometimes I was asked to create content about things I didn’t know! Imagine how hard the Imposter Syndrome hit on those moments!!!
But I took some deep breaths and took some time to stuff the topics, and write while I was learning. In the end of the process I had learned something new and had a new article to show for it. This is not easy and it is quite scary to be honest, but quite rewarding as well.
7. The answer to most questions about DevRel is “It depends”
This is my favorite thing, and sounds like a joke, but it is soo true. DevRel isn’t as clear as Front-End, for example.
What we do, and how we do it varies a lot depending on:
Where we work,
What is our team goal,
What is the company’s vision and more!
So usually when someone asks me a question about DevRel I start answering with It Depends…
8. DevRel is fun
DevRel is a super fun field to work in, and I am an introvert (Yes, you can work in DevRel as an introvert and maybe this deserves its own article)!
Of course, it depends on the things I mentioned above, but as a DevRel I get to teach, create, travel, give talks, stream, write…
All things that I enjoy, and sometimes I am enjoying myself soo much working that the time flies by.
9. But burning out is easy
You see, even if you are enjoying yourself, you are still working and if you don’t learn to take breaks, your body will eventually force you too.
I had a co-worker who just refused to take breaks or time off, and even on holidays was working. They were also the person who got sick or hurt more often in the team.
It seems silly, but I believe that was just his body away to make them slow down.
I have clear time boundaries, as I never start working before a certain time. I also avoid working after 5pm, with meetings as exceptions when needed, because my team is all over the map. Fridays are my non-meetings days, when I do my 1:1s with my manager only, and I take days off to take care of my mental health when I need it.
10. You have the power to change peoples lives just by being yourself
This may not be true for everyone, but it is one of the truest truths I learned. I know some hate the word Influencer, but I don’t. It means that you influence people. So if you influence people with good things, being an influencer is a good thing, just like that.
It won’t be true for all roles in DevRel, but a good number of us got public. We create content, give talks, teach. So it's inevitable that there will be people that will look at us as examples.
I am from Brazil, so in 2021 I gave a lot of talks about what DevRel is. There are people in DevRel with many more years of experience than me, but I really put myself out there to educate my community a bit about DevRel, and as a consequence I often will hear that I am a reference in DevRel in Brazil! What? I have been in DevRel for a little over a year! I am not an expert! But, I took my time and did the work to open the door to the community.
I am Ready for year 2!
Recently I got an Email to let me kno I was nominated to the DevRel Awards ad Greatest Individual Contributor to DevRel and it just feels great to know that people thought of me for this.
I am soo excited and honoured.
For this year, I plan to get all I learned to level up my DevReling, get a promotion and expand my work to LATAM.
If you are curious about DevRel, feel free to send me a DM on Twitter and let's chat!
Top comments (13)
great article Pachi! I am very proud and happy to have followed you since before becoming a DevRel, going through the entire year you spent in this new activity, and I hope to be able to accompany you for many more years <3 <3 <3
You are a huge part of this <3
This is a great article Pachi, thanks for sharing it. I've been in DevRel for two years now and had my head nodding along to most of what you'd written. Hope your second year in DevRel goes swimmingly!
I am soo happy to read that you were nodding haha!
Thank you, I have high hopes for this year!!!!
Thank you so much Pachi for an update. It's good to see that you're still enjoying your work, while also learning more about how to take care of yourself while doing it.
This is the first time I heard about the DevRel reward nomination, which is SUPER awesome! So proud of you, my friend! =D
Thank you soo much for all your support all this time <3
Thank you for writing this article and reflecting on your journey thus far, Pachi!! I would LOVE to read an article about being a DevRel and an introvert! Congrats on your first year!!
Thnak you Cat!!! <3
I am totally writing that haha
Thank you so much for sharing this! I turned 1 as a DevRel last week and SO much of this resonates. Best of luck with year 2!
Yey!!! Happy DevRel aniversary!
Wishing us a great 2nd year!
Great article! Thanks for sharing your personal experiences!
Thanks for reading <3
Thanks Pachi, and congrats!
On point 2: I'd love to hear more about the origins of DevRel as a field.