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Todd Libby
Todd Libby

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Staying on the Course

This comes from a place of learning and constructive comments and discussion are welcome. Let's keep it to the level that I am sort of "getting my feet wet" in the understanding of all things to do with each position and that I don't have the full length and breadth of knowledge some of you may have. Keep it civil in the comments, thanks.

My latest adventure has me transitioning out of the accessibility auditing and remediation space and trying my hand at either developer relations or developer experience. Two fields I know of that have a lot of great people who speak at a lot of events on a wide range of topics.

But in the final stages of a career that I have had that has lasted a quarter of a century, it's not as easy at it seems. There are a lot of things I don't know or understand yet about the two spaces I am looking to move to, I am sure. I am halfway there according to a lot of terrific people I know though.


I've advocated for accessibility and making things accessible for disabled people for a long time now and advocacy I get it. I understand it. That is the part that is done. I know how to work (for the most part) social media channels to spread that advocacy.

Talking about it is half the battle. Getting people to understand and adopt or adapt is the other half. I have had relatively good success over the years in adapting or people adopting.


What is Developer Relations? Developer Experience? Is it the same? Is it two separate entities?

Let's break this into pieces.

What is Developer Relations?

That, to me, is getting a product or a brand out there and setting up the collaboration between community and company.

What is Developer Experience?

To me, that is the events of bringing community and company together and the experience developer have with the brand or product.

Is it the same? Is it two separate entities?

To me, it is both. Confused? I'll try to explain.

With all the underlying things that happens in both spaces that I may not know about, I think Developer Relations ("DevRel" going forward) is under the umbrella of Developer Experience ("DX" going forward). It appears to me that there are more moving parts in DX rather than DevRel.

Kurt Kemple has a great article on their website about this which I wholeheartedly agree with.

I'm still learning, so that is the path I am taking. The learning path to something better.

The Search Commences

My 20 years of job searches concluded before the last position of an average from a spreadsheet I kept of 4 jobs from 2,643 resumes. If that was a batting average in baseball, that would be .0012 and that is the worst. that's a tenth of a percent success rate for me.

So far, in my search for something outside of development/accessibility, I am 0 for 20 for DevRel or DX job applications. I knew it would be rough because the job market is rough. People are getting laid off at record paces and companies are getting rid of people for people that aren't asking for as much money. The job market sucks.

It's not a good time to be looking. But I see a lot of people more so now changing roles or finding new jobs, which is promising. Maybe I can too. I got 10-12 good years left in me.

The moral of this? Don't give up and stay the course. You'll find your job too if you're looking.


I've set three goals for the rest of 2023. Those are:

  1. Find a role in DevRel or DX,
  2. Get back to my programming roots,
  3. Find a role with a company I have had my eye on now since January.

Set your goals and obtain them. I believe in myself and you should believe in yourself as well. You can do this and so can I. Even at 52 years old.

The Age Thing

It sticks with me, ageism, companies looking for younger people, and on and on. I've managed to self-teach everything I know, as well as learn from many countless people who are amazing.

I also know I bring value and an intangible. Accessibility. So there should be a role somewhere where I can use that intangible. What is your intangible? Ask yourself that question. What is your thing you're known for?

The age thing doesn't scare me but it does concern me. As us grey beards advanced and the finish line of retirement draws closer, I keep telling myself, "One more. There's one more role out there waiting for you to take it and succeed".

I hope so. I may be 52 in years, but having come out of burnout and back into the coding and the programming and the learning and experimenting in the past two months, I feel like I'm 16 again.

Whether You're New or Not...

Stay the course. If you're in a position that you love and the company you work for treats you good, hold on, but always be looking behind you. Your job doesn't love you, and as we have seen recently, neither do the decision-makers. You, as am I, are replaceable at any given time.

If you're looking around for a home, find one that your gut tells you is it, is the one (for now). A lot of people follow the money, but listen to your gut. I wish I had a time or two in the past.

"If you're going through Hell, keep going".

Not sure where that originated, there is debate. Churchill, others? But it is apropos to what we do in tech. We get done with a company, we keep going. We go through hell at a job, we keep going until we find a good place to work. I believe there are some of these companies out there. One is the one I have my eye on for a role there this year.


I jotted these things down as a reminder to myself that it's just not all about hammering away at a keyboard or spending countless hours moving pixels in Figma. It's not all about scrums and waterfalls, sprints or all-hands brainstorming meetings. It's about staying the course and making sure we are taking care of ourselves.

I'm looking back on 25 years and am a little amazed how I navigated my career. When you look back, as we all do, look back and smile knowing you succeeded. I do for the most part. The majority of my time has been contracting and working for myself. Those times I did work in a company and a team were amazing and some were not so much.

I've seen a lot of failure on my end and success as you will too. I've worked under some amazing people and then I have worked under some people whom I wonder if they accidentally tripped and fell into the role they are in and wonder what dumb luck it must be to fail upwards. That's tech.

All I know is this. I hope to obtain the final three goals I have for this year and then assess in 2024 where I am at, if anywhere.

Stop and take a look around and see where you're at. If you're succeeding, stay the course. If not, then reach inside and stay the course. You'll get there. I hope I will.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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