Understanding the developer advocate and relations roles

Understanding the developer advocate and relations roles

Over the last few years, I became more interested in developer advocacy and relations roles. I was introduced when researching ways to contribute to the open-source community. I found the concept of developer evangelism to be engaging and wanted to expand my skill set. As a developer, coding scripts, finding new ways to automate my workflow, adding new features, and brainstorming for cool projects keep me engaged. Then, I realized my soft skills were lacking and was looking for ways to improve myself.

Developer Advocacy and Developer relations go hand in hand

Developer advocacy is a part of developer relations (also known as devRel). Developer advocacy is interacting with the community. This includes writing technical documentation for the community, tutorial videos, blogging, speaking at conferences or meetups, and even contributing code to open-source projects. The goal is to inspire developers to build and consider new solutions.

Unconventional paths leading into new roles

Anyone can work in developer relations. Marketing, engineers and developers, and IT support to the advertisement can work in DevRel. DevRel has been a new career over the last few years and will only continue to expand with tools such as AI that can be a great asset.

You don't have to work at a tech company or role to be in developer relations. The good news is more companies will need developer relations in the future.

Skills to become a developer advocate:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Support
  • Technical knowledge
  • Communication
  • Developer Awareness
  • Empathy

Most skills can be transferred over if you have previous experience. It is okay not to have all the skills listed above currently. These skills will build over time.

Transitioning into Advocacy

I started writing to share my projects with others. Having a blog helped me get my first job. I want to continue on this path by not only educating users but also interacting with developers who share a common interest.

I don't care about the number of followers I have. I want others to see my passion and help them in their journey. I'm getting better as a contributor and will keep on pushing forward.

How to get started

Here are a few steps to get started in building the skills needed for DevRel. I recommend taking slow steps during the journey. For example, I'm mostly an introvert and one of the skills I seek to improve is networking.

  1. Develop Technical Expertise
  2. Build a Strong Online Presence
  3. Develop Communication Skills
  4. Contribute to Open Source
  5. Networking
  6. Understand Your Audience
  7. Join a Developer Relations Team
  8. Continuously Learn

DevRel is about building relationships and fostering a sense of community. Being genuine, helpful, and enthusiastic will help you interact with the community. There are many opportunities to specialize in specific areas of DevRel. Remember to have fun!

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Jamie Larson