I feel like I haven't written in a long time, so today I decided to write about something that has been my favorite subject these last few months: Developer Relations.
While Developer Relations(DevRel), Evangelists and Advocates have some technical differences depending who you ask, I will keep it simple and in the end I will link to resources if you want the details.
2020 has been my year of job search. I have kept one part time job most of the year, but it wasn't enough financially nor challenge/learning wise, so I have applied for every role that I felt I fit > 50% of the description.
In one of this applications I piqued someone's interest, and we started chatting. She asked me: Are you interested in DevRel?
Well, I had no idea what a DevRelwas , but as someone new and proud, I didn't want to say:"idk what that is!", so I quickly asked some friends and did some googling, got the basic notion that it was somehow a developer that worked with marketing, and as I am not one to pass learning or connecting opportunities, I answered honestly: "I have never thought about working it it, but I would love to try".
And that friends, opened me the door to the Developer Relations Universe
For this particular job, I do mostly Twitter engagement and writing. You may think that anyone could do that, but it is not that simple.
The company wants to build authentic relationship with developer, so the person doing this has to be authentic, care about the developers and about the technologies that the company works with.
I also work Articles and do research about Dev News.
Now, while this is what I have been doing as a DevRel, there is MUCH more than that.
Lots of things!
- They create content (Talks, podcasts, articles, YouTube videos and more),
- They answer questions and support the #DEVcommunity,
- They listen to what said community is saying, what is trending, and what needs to get betters. With this feedback, they advocate with companies to make their products more developer friendly.
A DevRel is a bridge between the community and the company.
You know was the funny thing was? When I finally understood what a DevRel was, I realized I was kinda one already!
I have been Streaming live code on twitch for months and had a pretty good audience; I started writing articles here on Dev.to almost as soon as I started learning to code, and for FreeCodeCamp when I got the chance;
and I spent all of 2020 being super active on Tech Twitter building relationships and sharing my journey.
So if I am picking your interest and you maybe would like to consider the career, here are some tips that you may even be, like me, doing already:
- Write articles: Here on Dev.to or in your own blog. Writing is basically building a portfolio. You can write about what you are learning, or teach something you know a lot about. It doesn't always has to be technical, as long as it is relevant to other developers.
- Plan on giving talks: On conferences or meetups. Everything is online currently, so this may make things a bit easier for you simple you can apply to talk anywhere you speak the language. I have an article about choosing what to talk about right here.
- Live coding is my Jam: That is not for everybody, but if you want to give it a shot, get a Twitch account, a project to work with, and press Go Live. I probably will write mote about it in the future, but learning by watching is always great, so come watch me someday!
- Be active in communities: It can he here, or Twitter or maybe some forum where people from your preferred programming language hang out.
- Keep coding: What makes a DevRel a DevRel is their connection with the community of developers, so it is much easier to connect if you are a developer yourself. There are some less technical roles out there, but being comfortable around code will make you comfortable around developers.
While this is a somehow "new" and not as well known side of the developer's world, I have recently read some great resources:
- Getting Started in Developer Relations (eBook) by Sam Julien was the first book on the topic I ever read, and it was a great introduction. I learned a lot and decided that I want to work with Developer Relations thanks to this book.
- Getting a little deeper into the topic, I have read Mary Thengvall's book: The Business Value of Developer Relations
And I am sure there are many more out there, but those two are books I have personally read and enjoyed ( btw there are no affiliated links ).
Being a Developer Relations can be a great career change for many people, because it allows you to keep coding but do other things as well. It is not for everyone though, as many people started into programming because they wanted to, well, program LOL.
But if you think you would thrive as the connection between Developers and Companies, this may be for you.
I hope this article was helpful and now you know what a DevRel is. If you have any questions or think about anything related that would make a good post, let me know and I may write about it!