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Discussion on: What do you wish you knew about Developer Relations?

peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

Mary, would you mind briefly describing the differences (if any) between:

  • Developer Relations
  • Developer Advocacy
  • Developer Evangelism

Sometimes these terms can sort of wash together, so I'd be really interested to try and better understand where one starts and the other begins.

mary_grace profile image
Mary Thengvall Author

Absolutely! Here's the TL;DR:

  • Developer Relations (or DevRel) is the umbrella term for all things community building and developer advocacy. Basically, it's like saying "developers" to encompass all front-end and back-end devs as well as ops folks. This is also the typical name for a team that focuses on community building and advocacy at a company.

  • Developer Advocacy can be seen 2 different ways: It's another name for "Developer Relations" as a broad term, but when viewed specifically, "Developer Advocate" is a role within the Developer Relations umbrella. This role tends to be someone who's got a developer or coding background but also enjoys writing, speaking, and generally empowering the technical audience to better understand a product. They advocate internally for the technical audience's needs.

  • Developer Evangelism typically has a slightly more sales slant to it. I view the Developer Evangelist role as someone who frames the importance of the product within the broader technical landscape. They help you (and your leadership team) understand why this particular product is important at this time.

  • Technical Community Managers aren't always developers (I'm not!) but they're tech savvy. They can have technical conversations about the product, but more importantly, they know who the right person is to pass the conversation is once they're out of their element. They're the connectors -- keeping an eye out for the technical community and making connections between community members as well as back into the company (finding beta testers, external ppl who might be willing to write content, etc.).

Does that help?

peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

This is wonderful, thank you!