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What is Developer Advocacy?

You might have seen Developer Relations (also referred to as DevRel or Developer Advocacy) around Twitter lately and been confused on what it was. Or maybe you have a fuzzy understanding of DevRel and want to learn more about it to try to get a job in it.

Either way, this blog post is for you. We're going to be talking about what developer relations is, exploring its 3 main areas, then talking about how to land a job in this field.

The 3 Pillars of DevRel

Before we discuss the pillars of DevRel, let's give a quick overview of what it is. DevRel is a role that exists at developer tool companies (companies whose target market is developers). Developer Advocates help raise awareness for a product and collect feedback from the dev community to improve it.

DevRel has 3 main categories: Community, Content, and Product. Some Devrels do one of these while others are focused on a couple; it ultimately depends on people's skillsets and what the company needs. Both as a startup hiring for devrel and as someone who wants to get into it, it's important to understand these areas to know which you want to focus on. Let's explore each one in more depth.

devrel

Community

Community-focused DevRel usually centers around growing and managing a community of developers. This is typically a Slack or Discord community that's focused on a product or technology. Managing a community consists of greeting new members, answering questions, designing the community in an inclusive way, and making sure your members are getting value from the community. This can also include livestreams, events, and other activities that help the community grow.

Being a technical community builder is a very hot skill to have nowadays due to the shift developer tool companies are making in the way they obtain their customers.

Content

Content-focused DevRel is about spreading awareness about a product through written and spoken content. This can involve writing blog posts, making videos, teaching workshops, recording podcasts, and more.

Product

Product-focused DevRel is about owning the developer exeprience of the product. In other words, it's about improving how it feels for a developer to use a specific product. This can be done by talking to users to understand how they're using it, then making improvements to the documentation and creating guides based on their answers.

This can also extend to the product ecosystem so working on code examples, templates, and integrations is also common.

Getting a DevRel job

This is a relatively new role so to stand out though, you should try to have 2 out of 3 of these.

  1. You can code. For this, you can show off some of your side projects.
  2. You can build communities. You can show off helping build a community or organization.
  3. You're a good content creator. You can show off your talks, YouTube videos, tweets, and blog posts for this one.

While there aren't pre-requisites for the job, it's very helpful to have prior work in these areas to show off and get your career in developer advocacy started. If you don't have prior work, you should start creating content (blogs, videos, side projects) that helps demonstrate you can already do the work.

Ultimately, this is a role for engineers who enjoy working with developers, creating content, and managing communities.

Conclusion

As long as you can demonstrate the skills above, you'll likely have no issues finding a role. I also suggest having a website or writing up a document with links to your work to include in your applications. I have a list of some startups that are hiring here.

I hope this clarified some things for you regarding what DevRel is. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a DM on Twitter!