DevRel - a conversation with ChatGPT as my Journey Begins

Published: Dec 4, 2022

Main image of post

Most of my tech career has been as a product engineer, however I’ve always been interested in the field of developer relations / developer experience. Even though I never actively pursued a career in this area, it somehow found me.

I was first approached for a Developer Relations position about 2 or 3 years ago, even though I had no prior experience in that role. It got me excited at the thought of being able to help educate and help devs.

However, I didn’t exactly understand what this role entails (still not sure now either 😂). So, I did what I would normally do when I don’t really understand something - I started reading and reaching out to people who are in this role and I look up to.

I remember I reached out the Nader Dabit and he was kind enough to answer some of my questions. He also shared an article he wrote about how to break into devRel. What resonated with me the most was a link to a talk he mentioned in that post called “Building Bridges”.

It’s funny… I seem to have been building bridges for fun… And I was lucky enough to have it pay off, right after I tweeted about losing my job, I got a DM from Steve wanting to explore me joining Builder.

So I’ve started out my journey in this role in mid November, and since then I’ve been mostly trying to get a handle on what it means to be a Developer Advocate (or lead the charge of Developer Experience - which is a term I like better). Other than reaching out to Nader, I’ve went on and reached out to some more people to get some jump start advice. I’m really grateful to have had received some words of wisdom from awesome people like Lee Robinson and I’ve got some more conversations coming up with Liran Tal and Tejas Kumar.

Overall, there’s a booming community in this scene and the people are super nice!

But other than conversations with humans with all the hype of OpenAI’s ChatGPT I couldn’t help myself and ask it a few questions about this space.

Here are some of the results:

What is DevRel?

Devrel, or Developer Relations, is a term used to describe the relationship between a technology company and the developers who use its products or services. Devrel teams are typically responsible for building and maintaining relationships with developers, often through activities such as hosting meetups and conferences, providing technical support and guidance, and collaborating on projects. These teams play an important role in helping companies to engage with their developer communities and to foster a sense of collaboration and innovation.

What should i be doing daily in this position?

As a member of a Devrel team, your daily tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on your specific role and the needs of your company. Some common activities that you may be involved in on a daily basis include:

  • Providing technical support and guidance to developers who are using your company’s products or services
  • Collaborating with other members of your team on projects and initiatives that support and engage the developer community
  • Participating in online forums and social media platforms to provide updates and answer questions from developers
  • Attending meetups, conferences, and other events to represent your company and network with developers
  • Creating and sharing content, such as tutorials, blog posts, and videos, to help developers learn more about your company’s products or services
  • Working with product teams to provide feedback and input on how to improve the developer experience
  • Analyzing data and metrics to understand the needs and interests of your developer community and to identify areas for improvement.

How do you get good at devrel?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as becoming good at devrel (short for developer relations) will depend on a number of factors, including your personal strengths, interests, and the specific needs of the organization you work for. However, there are some general tips that can help you improve your skills in this area.

Understand the needs and goals of your target audience: As a devrel professional, your primary job is to serve the needs of developers, so it’s important to have a deep understanding of their pain points, challenges, and goals. This will help you create content, tools, and resources that are relevant and valuable to them.

Build a strong network: Devrel is all about building relationships, so it’s important to network with other professionals in the field. This can help you learn from others, share your own knowledge, and stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices.

Stay on top of industry trends and technologies: The world of software development is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies. This will help you provide valuable insights and support to the developers you work with.

Communicate effectively: As a devrel professional, you’ll need to be an effective communicator, both in writing and in person. This means being clear, concise, and easy to understand, as well as being able to tailor your message to different audiences and channels.

Be authentic and transparent: Developers are a savvy and discerning group, so it’s important to be authentic and transparent in your interactions with them. This means being open and honest about your motivations, intentions, and limitations, as well as being willing to listen to and address their concerns and feedback.

In summary, becoming good at devrel requires a combination of technical knowledge, communication skills, and a deep understanding of the needs of developers. By building your expertise in these areas, you can improve your skills and provide value to the developers you work with.

I was a bit surprised by this answer…

What’s the difference between devrel, developer advocates, and developer experience roles?

Devrel, Developer Advocates, and Developer Experience (DevX) are all related, but they are not the same thing.

Devrel, or Developer Relations, refers to the overall relationship between a technology company and the developers who use its products or services. Devrel teams are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with developers and for fostering a sense of collaboration and innovation within the developer community.

Developer Advocates, also known as Dev Advocates, are members of the Devrel team who are focused on promoting the company’s products and services to developers. This can include creating and sharing content, such as tutorials and blog posts, speaking at conferences and events, and engaging with developers online.

Developer Experience, or DevX, is a term used to describe the experience that developers have when using a company’s products or services. DevX teams are focused on making the developer experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible, often through activities such as designing user-friendly APIs, providing comprehensive documentation and support, and gathering feedback from developers.

While Devrel, Dev Advocates, and DevX teams all have a common goal of supporting and engaging with the developer community, they have different focuses and responsibilities within the larger Devrel ecosystem.

What should i do in the first 3 months on the job as a devrel?

In the first three months on the job as a Devrel, there are a few key things that you should focus on in order to get up to speed and make a positive impact in your new role. Some specific tasks and activities to consider include:

  • Learning about your company’s products and services: Take the time to thoroughly understand the products and services that your company offers, including how they work, what they do, and who they are intended for. This will help you to better support developers who are using these products and services.
  • Familiarizing yourself with your company’s developer community: Get to know the developers who are using your company’s products and services, including their needs, interests, and challenges. This will help you to better understand how to engage with and support this community.
  • Developing a deep understanding of the Devrel role: Understand what the Devrel role entails and how it fits within your company’s overall strategy. This will help you to set goals and priorities for your work and to effectively collaborate with other members of the Devrel team.
  • Building relationships with developers: One of the key aspects of the Devrel role is building and maintaining relationships with developers. Take the time to connect with developers, both online and in person, and to engage with them in a meaningful way. This can include attending events, participating in online forums, and creating and sharing content that is relevant and valuable to this community.
  • Gathering and analyzing data: Use data and metrics to understand the needs and interests of your developer community, and to identify areas for improvement. This can include tracking engagement and satisfaction levels, conducting surveys and interviews, and analyzing usage data for your company’s products and services.
  • Collaborating with other teams: Devrel teams often work closely with other teams, such as product teams, marketing teams, and engineering teams. Take the time to build relationships with these teams and to understand how your work can support and align with their goals and priorities.

What are some good resources for learning Devrel?

There are many resources available for learning about Devrel and developing your skills in this area. Some options to consider include:

  • Online courses and tutorials: There are a number of online courses and tutorials that can help you learn about Devrel, including ones offered by platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Books: There are several books available on Devrel and related topics, such as “The Art of Community” by Jono Bacon and “Community Management for Dummies” by Deborah Schultz and Nancye Blair.
  • Conferences and events: Attending conferences and events focused on Devrel can be a great way to learn from experts and to network with other professionals in the field. Some examples of conferences that focus on Devrel include DevRelCon, DeveloperWeek, and DevXCon.
  • Online communities and forums: Participating in online communities and forums, such as forums on Reddit and Stack Overflow, can be a good way to learn from others and to share your own knowledge and experiences.
  • Blogs and podcasts: There are many blogs and podcasts focused on Devrel and related topics, such as the Open Source Community Management blog and the Community Pulse podcast. These can be a great way to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in the field.

Looking Forward

This little conversation with ChatAPI has a lot of good insights and was an interesting experiment to conduct. Obviously, this is not as an interesting one as this one, nor is this a long deep dive impression like this one. However, I think there are implications and opportunities that are specific for my role.

First off, the advice given here by the AI is not that far off from conversations I’ve had with experienced individuals. If you’re also just starting off, I see a lot of value in the points that have surfaced here. Secondly, using this as a tool to help ideate and generate content can be priceless.

With that being said, having been around in the early SEO content farm days, where spinning and copying content was a norm all in the name of ranking better in Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page), I can see how ChatGPT can be an easy hack and dubious tool to pump out content that doesn’t really add value besides manipulating some algorithm.

It’s all exciting and scary at the same time, just as the beginning of journey is as well 😅.

If you read this post through and would like to chat with a person and not an AI - feel free to reach out 😀.