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re: What do you wish you knew about Developer Relations? VIEW POST

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This might be an awkward question (especially because of the thread-necromancing) but one I've been really curious about, so feel free to leave it hanging: what's the pay like?

I've heard from some folks that, as devrel professionals are "closer to the money" than engineers and help drive adoption, their individual impact on the bottom line is greater/more measurable and so their pay is also greater.

One friend told me that his salary quadrupled in one year when he moved from a senior engineering position to doing speaking engagements and making the "social bridge" with clients, though he didn't know what the term devrel was (I think his official title is "Principal Engineer".)

I've also seen someone on reddit saying that they took a 30-40% pay cut when they decided to move from engineering to devrel but were glad they did anyway because they were happier doing that.

Are things unpredictably all over the map or is there some kind of pattern? Does devrel on average / among the people you know get better compensated than engineering?

 

It really does depend on the role and the company, unfortunately. Most companies these days, for Dev Advocate roles at least, are paying comparable with engineering roles. Community Managers, however, are notoriously underpaid because their technical skills are underestimated, as is their value. I believe Technical Writers are in the same boat as community managers, but Developer Experience professionals tend to be more inline with Engineers.

I do know of some folks who have had their salary doubled or tripled when they talked about leaving a company, simply because their skills were that valued and the company was desperate to not lose them, but those are fairly few and far between.

In general, I’d say if you have an engineering background and are interested in DevRel, you can ask for anywhere between $130-170k and most companies won’t blink an eye. More experienced roles are more likely to make $150-180k and the higher you go up the ladder in either IC or management experience, the more you can ask for.

That being said, I always try to find out how much the company is willing to pay before I name my price. It allows me to get a better gauge of where the industry is at these days and also how much this particular company values Developer Relations.

 

Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative answer. Now I know that there is a reasonable chance I can still leverage my engineering background and not take a pay hit, even if the sudden salary quadrupling isn't the norm. Knowing this makes me relieved and hopeful, so thank you again!

I'm glad it was helpful! Best of luck to you in your new adventure :)

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