What even is a DevRel? | Part 1
What even is a DevRel? What do they do? Do they actually work? Why are they all crazy about avocados? Are there types? Let's talk about it!
If you've been in the industry for a while you might've encountered the term "DevRel" followed mainly by an avocado emoji (🥑), and your next logical thought was what is even a Dev Rel?!? and let me tell you, you're not the only one.
Do they even do work? Do they tweet all day? Do they just travel around? Are you tired of explaining what you do for a living? Make this article the reference guide for your close ones that have no idea why you’re always on Twitter or on video calls.
Hi, I'm Yuri and I've been working on a startup as a Developer Relations Advocate (DevRel), and this is actually my first tech role after changing careers. I've crafted much of what is now my daily schedule but I'm getting ahead of myself, first let's talk about what is a DevRel?
What is a DevRel?
Now, you might see many people describing it differently depending on their role. Me? I'm a bit about the 3 types we'll see in the next section so I'll provide you with a broad description of what DevRels are.
DevRels sit between the company (product) and the developers.
They help advocate for the product and reinforce contact with the community.
How? By creating content about the product, offering support for developers, recording demos, attending conferences, working on documentation, establishing onboarding processes for clients, new team members and developers, organizing events, reviewing and merging PRs, and many other activities.
So yes, they do work! Just not your usual engineering role, since it doesn't only involve coding, it's about creating content and connecting with the community.
Types of DevRel
We can identify that we have 3 main types of DevRels, those focused on the community, those on the product and then content creators.
- Community-focused DevRels:
As the name implies, they focus more on creating, growing and nurturing product-based communities. One of the biggest responsibilities is to create a safe and inclusive environment where feedback and questions are not only encouraged but appreciated by the team members.
How? Interacting with the members, organizing and hosting events, creating written or video content, and being in charge of various social media channels like Twitter, Reddit, GitHub discussions, Discord or Slack.
Where? Wherever the community is more active and in places, having a community will be beneficial for both the company and the members. For example, moving a community from Slack to Discord to have more interpersonal connection with the members through weekly live events with the team members.
- Content-focused DevRels:
This is the most common type of DevRel in the wild. They focus on developer education, crafting content around the product, written and/or visual.
Where? Social media, official accounts, Discord, YouTube, Podcasts, Twitter, and anywhere posting content is relevant to the product's goals.
- Product-focused DevRels:
They help craft a smooth experience for developers interested in using the product. They usually rely on user feedback on the pain points the process has and try to eradicate them.
How? They work on the documentation, guides, tutorials, code samples and templates for the product.
Now that you know the most prominent types of DevRels, we can see they often overlap, especially content- and community-focused DevRels. This is because, ultimately, DevRels job is to advocate for the developers that make part of the communities they're managing and creating content for.
This is the first article on my What even is a DevRel?!! series, so if you have any topics or specific questions you'd like me to cover make sure to leave them in the comments! I'll love to answer them in upcoming posts.
Thank you for reading. I hope you learned something new today!
Yuri Santana is a Developer Relations Advocate at Fonoster. Check out more of Yuri's work on a personal blog, and if you have any thoughts feel free to connect on Twitter.