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Liz Acosta
Liz Acosta

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The DevRel Digest December 2023: DevRel You Should Know Part Two and Reflections on 2023

2023 Was Not the Year I Was Expecting

The first time I said this was 2016. I spent that year undergoing treatment for cancer after accidentally discovering a lump in my left breast that a “it’s probably nothing” mammogram-turned-biopsy revealed to be malignant on February 3rd, 2016. I said it again in 2020 when the world succumbed to a global pandemic and I made the decision to leave Twilio to pursue a career in Developer Relations.

I thought I had managed to achieve some stability and security when I accepted a role as a Developer Advocate for Skyflow. I felt particularly proud of that achievement because I had earned it completely by my own merit, cold-applying via LinkedIn and even passing a last-minute technical screening. My manager told me about how long they had been trying to fill the role, waiting for the perfect fit. I'd never been anyone's "perfect fit" before. I felt they had a sophisticated product that solved a real-world problem, so I felt the company would be around for a while. I saw the job as my chance to get things “right,” so I invested in a personal coach to help navigate my neurodivergent tendencies to my advantage. I worked hard, maintained my boundaries, and experienced a lot of success, so it was especially devastating to abruptly learn my role had been eliminated in April. My manager gave me the news and then signed off the call to let HR handle the rest.

I was confident my job search would be short. I was not expecting to still be unemployed eight months later.

You’d think that by now I would have learned to expect the unexpected.

But I have a problem with expectations. I have such high expectations, which means I am often disappointed. The worst part is I reserve my highest expectations for myself, so you know what that means … And I know. I know that the key to happiness is low expectations (high rewards!). I also know there’s a part of me that fears the moment I lower my expectations for myself, I will stop trying as hard, and if I stop trying as hard, everyone will find out I am actually an imposter. So now I am really disappointed in myself because I expect myself to be smart enough to know that I need to not expect so much. I should know better, right? Ugh!

But okay, okay … I didn’t spend all that money on a personal coach just to fall victim to another perfectionist spiral. (Neurodivergent people are particularly susceptible to these!) So here’s another perspective: When we plant a seed, we may not see anything above ground for a long time, but that doesn’t mean growth isn’t happening. Moreover, we cannot harvest a crop until it is ready. If you try to dig up a potato before it is fully formed, you will not have anything to eat, no matter how much you stress or worry or fuss over it. Anxiety is an ineffective substrate for growth – although it is certainly an almost convincing illusion of control.

This brings to mind the Seven of Pentacles, which illustrates an individual tending to their garden. My favorite representation of this card is from the Motherpeace deck, which depicts a pregnant woman seated among a patch of watermelons. It is a card about patience even when it seems like nothing is happening.

The Seven of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite deck with Gary the pug Photoshopped poorly as the gardener

The Seven of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite deck with senior pug Gary Photoshopped poorly as the gardener

I’ve been steadily interviewing since I was laid off and while I haven’t received an offer just yet, each interview has been an opportunity to refine my professional story and learn about what I need in a job to succeed. In a former life, I operated out of scarcity and desperation, trying to conform to what I believed they wanted me to be. This year, in the vacuum of no professional work, I was forced to confront the personal work I’d been putting off.

I published the first DevRel Digest in June and have remained consistent since then. I spoke at PyBay and have since applied to two upcoming Python conferences in 2024. I started my series on testing strategies for Python. I think the most important development for me in 2023 was finally feeling comfortable in tech. Here’s hoping that my tenacity in 2023 will pay off in 2024 because I’m not ready to give up. If 2023 was the Seven of Pentacles – a year of sowing and of patience and of unexpected lessons – then I hope 2024 is the Nine of Pentacles.

The Nine of Pentacles has been “my card” ever since it came up in my first tarot reading. I felt immediately drawn to it. The card depicts “a fancy lady” enjoying the luxuries she has worked hard for, such as her falcon and her vineyards. It is a card of fruition and abundance and the card I got tattooed on my arm right before my double mastectomy.

The Nine of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite deck with Gary the pug as Gary the snail from Spongebob Squarepants (Gary's namesake) and the falcon Photoshopped poorly as Gary

The Nine of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite deck with senior pug Gary as Gary the snail from Spongebob Squarepants (Gary's namesake) and the falcon Photoshopped poorly as Gary

DevRel You Should Know

And since nine is my lucky number, then it only made sense to finish off my list of DevRel You Should Know with these final four awesome community members. Check out Part One for more context, but in summary, back in the beginning of November, I put a call out on LinkedIn and abroad for nominations for notable contributors in Developer Relations and received such an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response that I had enough material for two parts. In Part One, I listed five DevRel You Should Know and I’m going to finish up Part Two with four more for nine total because that seems like a fortuitous number. Not yet the established stability of the Ten of Pentacles, but well on the way, and certainly past the gestation phase of the Seven of Pentacles.

So without further ado, here are the rest of the DevRel You Should Know … !

PJ Hagerty

PJ Hagerty’s commitment to community is evident in his work. He is the founder of, creator of, and a board member of Open Sourcing Mental Illness. Check out his insights on community on the DevRelate blog. Unfortunately, PJ was one of the many individuals impacted by the Spotify layoff earlier this month, so if you’re looking for someone with a lot of community experience, please consider PJ.

PJ’s predictions for DevRel in 2024:

“Looking at the current landscape and what's happened post-COVID, I'd expect 2024 will be a little more of the same: teams shrinking and jobs disappearing. Sadly, it seems more and more organizations are being wooed into marketing instead of DevRel. Long-term, I think this will mean an upswing, but not until late 2024, possibly 2025.

“Companies and organizations are getting more specific about their needs. DevRel practitioners will need to be more deeply technical to meet the needs of these places and products. This will also mean our content will need to be more hard-hitting, to the detriment of those much needed personal development content.

“Finally, 2024 will be the year of DevRel humility. It will be necessary for us to see we bring values as members of communities, not as influencers or ‘thought leaders.’ Let's not fall for our own hype and get back to being community participants.”

You can find PJ on Bluesky and Twitter/X.

Rizel Scarlett

I feel like Rizel Scarlett is a celebrity among DevRel so I was a little intimidated to reach out to her and super excited when she agreed to participate in this list! Rizel is a Staff Developer Advocate at TBD and previously worked at GitHub. Rizel brings authentic excitement and enthusiasm to all her streams and talks, as well as support for the community at large.

Rizel’s predictions for DevRel in 2024:

“I noticed that we're moving away from DevRel professions just because they have a ton of followers. I've also observed that companies are cutting DevRel budget, and Developer Advocates are feeling burnt out.

“I predict that 2024 will usher in an era where companies and DevRel professionals will approach this practice with more intentionality and strategy. I envision this as DevRel practitioners investing more time into efficiently enabling developer success. But also, I envision companies investing time, money, and effort into supporting DevRel teams by establishing a DevRel culture throughout the entire company.”

You can find Rizel on Twitter/X, Threads, Mastodon, LinkedIn, YouTube,, Twitch, and her own website.

Rohit Ghumare

Rohit Ghumare embodies the spirit of Developer Relations. He’s been an engineer, he’s been a community organizer, he’s been a technical writer, and he’s been an educator. So it’s no wonder he offers his experience and expertise as a consultant – which is a direction I am seeing many folks in DevRel consider while this strange market balances itself out. If you’re thinking about going freelance, Rohit is someone you should follow. I especially appreciate the way he advocates for himself as well as developers!

Rohit’s predictions for DevRel in 2024:

“DevRel in 2024 is quite challenging; Skilled workers still face problems getting the right job for not being in the right place or country. Companies should look at DevRel more carefully and examine the roles as a long-term benefit, ROI, and Community, not just short-term efforts.”

You can find Rohit on Twitter/X, YouTube, Substack, Medium, LinkedIn, and his own website.

Budhaditya Bhattacharya

I had the pleasure of meeting Budhaditya Bhattacharya at a conference earlier this year after attending his talk. I was hoping to do some sort of partnership work with him, but, unfortunately, I got laid off before that could happen! However, I’m glad we were able to finally make something happen with the DevRel Digest. Budhaditya is currently a Developer Advocate at Tyk and host of the All About APIs podcast where he makes technical concepts accessible to a range of audiences.

Budhaditya’s predictions for DevRel in 2024:

“I think we will see a lot more focus on creating learning paths for developers in 2024. Given the vast amount of information out there today, it is easy for developers to feel lost or overwhelmed. A learning path with a focused outcome will cut down on the noise and help developers build things better, and faster and progress in their careers too. For DevRels, this will serve as content pillars that can branch into a variety of articles, videos, podcasts, discussion topics and conference talks. There is room to use AI-based tools to design these learning paths and transcribe the videos for more related content.

“Reflecting on my recent experience in designing and delivering the API platform engineering fundamentals programme, I recognized it to be a great way to collaborate with industry experts and to help a diverse audience group comprehend a specific subset of an expansive technical landscape.”

You can find Budhaditya on LinkedIn and Twitter/X.

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