What is developer relations?

New to developer relations? Want the TLDR to what exactly is a developer advocate? What's the deal with πŸ₯‘?

What is developer relations?
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com / Unsplash

Developer Relations, also called DevRel, is usually a department or part of a department in a company that specializes in developer tools and services. The Developer Relations team will try to connect with the developers that will use the tool or service and advocate for the developer's best interest from inside the company.

Positions in Developer Relations

From my research and job searches, I have seen a variety of roles in Developer Relations. They include:

  • Developer Relations manager - Usually the manager of the team
  • Developer Advocate or, as seen on Twitter, Developer AvocadoπŸ₯‘
  • Developer Relations engineer
  • Developer evangelist

Aside from the developer relations manager, the other job roles are individual contributors, meaning they don't manage. There has been a slight difference in responsibilities, but overall the mission is still the same.

πŸ’‘
Represent the needs and wants of the developers using the tools.

Skills that DevRel needs

Developer relations has a unique mix of skills that a general developer or software engineer might not have.

Technical skills

  • Ability to actually use the tools as the developers will, aka code
  • Video, Audio, or Graphic editing (some but not all roles)

Communication skills

  • Usually, a developer [insert role name] will speak at conferences and be part of the community without straight-up marketing and pushing the tool
  • Ability to communicate a point to technical and non-technical people

Empathy

  • This is a big part of developer relations. DevRel needs to be able to empathize with the users and the developers.

Closing thoughts

Developer Relations is an exciting space that requires a unique set of skills. As we see more people working in public, we will see an influx of people who want to enter developer relations.


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