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Discussion on: What do you wish you knew about Developer Relations?

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

How does one embark a career as a devrel?

mary_grace profile image
Mary Thengvall Author

Andy has very solid advice! There are definitely many different paths that can lead to DevRel. I, for instance, have a journalism background and have never been a developer professionally. Other folks have theater backgrounds, or customer support, marketing, product, or completely unrelated-to-tech backgrounds.

Besides what Andy mentioned, the other thing I encourage folks to do is take DevRel for a "test drive" before they fully commit. In other words... ask your marketing team if they need any technical content for the blog, or if they could use some help staffing the booth at an upcoming conference. Look into upcoming CFPs (conference call for proprosals) to see if there are any conferences that sound interesting, and then brainstorm topics with your team to see if you have a talk that might be interesting to give. Attend local meetups and engage with the organizers -- perhaps they need extra speakers there!

I go a little more indepth on this topic in a recent blogpost for

andypiper profile image
Andy Piper • Edited

Disclaimer: there’s no “single way” to do that. Here’s my experience.

In my case, after ~15 years as a coder and as a consultant, I was already very active in online communities, in Open Source (pre-GitHub, I should add!), and had been developing as a public speaker. Probably the most valuable attribute for me was being active on social media - I often comment that being on Twitter led to my jobs at both VMware/Pivotal, and at Twitter itself. Both Pat Chanezon (VMware as was), and Jeff Sandquist (Twitter as was) recognised what I was doing through my Twitter presence and reputation, backed up by my blog and YouTube videos of my public speaking gigs. Hiring managers could see what i was writing about, talking about, making videos about, and how I engaged with developer communities.

There really are many ways to move into the space, though! As a hiring manager myself, I’m looking for: passion; communication skills; a level of technical knowledge in one or more coding languages. I want to know that you care, and that you can communicate your love of and interest in a topic (any topic; not necessarily my company or product or platform) in an engaging manner. So, that opens paths in and out from roles such as software engineeering, product management, consulting, marketing, community management, or support.