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Meet Caroline Lewko



Welcome to our Q&A-style blog, where we introduce you to the bright minds behind DevRel.Agency. Our team has nearly a century of collective DevRel experience, and we're excited to share our stories with you.

Let’s Meet Caroline Lewko

Caroline Lewko is an accomplished visionary and entrepreneur who has spent over two decades helping develop groundbreaking technology and nurturing community connections and innovation. She started WIP, the first boutique Developer Relations agency in 2006, after founding a community and incubator for mobile startups. She has led consulting engagements and developer events in over 20 countries, spanning a wide range of platforms and technologies, from edge computing and machine learning to mobile. She’s a regular keynote speaker and conference moderator.


Now as Co-Founder of DevRel.Agency, she continues to work with the top ranks of the Fortune 500 and Global 500 to fast-growing scale-ups, with a focus on training and mentoring the next generation of DevRel leaders. When not speaking, training, or traveling, Caroline can be found gardening, biking, and wine tasting in her beloved Vancouver, BC.

What is your background and how is it relevant to DevRel?


A few areas of my background converged into the perfect storm to get me prepped for DevRel and become aware it existed. First was a technical understanding. I say ‘understanding’ because I never attained a technical degree but dabbled in development. I started coding (Basic) in high school, designed and developed various databases along the way, learned and practiced C++ at Anderson Consulting, and learned PHP on my own for website development, so I understood how software got developed. Throughout that, I realized that others coded much much better than I, and that they really got high on coding. I did not. However, I also realized that my skills in strategy, community building, and coaching were a perfect compliment that I could leverage to help others build great developer outreach programs.


Second, upon founding the Wireless Innovation Network of BC (WINBC), I got excited about community and ecosystem building, especially in the tech sector.


When did you first get into DevRel, how did you learn about this exciting industry, and what attracted you?

A gentleman from the Orange Partner Program contacted me about meeting my developers and companies of WINBC. He offered to pay for a reception - so I said sure! That led to other events with more developer programs, notably our WIPJams held at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for many years and other locations. We would often help the sponsors understand who the developers were and how they needed to engage them.


We also got into organizing hackathons and were surprised by the lack of technical support the sponsors provided. The ones that got it, like Twilio in the early days, were the ones that were successful with developers. 


I found the practice a great opportunity for growth, learning, and playing with cool technology, and it was a chance to travel the world and interact with so many interesting people. As we dealt with so many of the early developer programs and interacted with many of the developers, we were able to learn a lot and support everyone.


Why are you still here? With your many years of experience in DevRel, what keeps you working in this field?

It’s still a growing field, there is still lots to learn, I still get to play with interesting technology and, most important, I am grateful to be able to work and befriend some amazing people. I also deeply believe in Developer Relations's value to an organization.


What part of the ecosystem do you think DevRel plays, and why is it an important investment for leading edge companies?

DevRel plays a pivotal role in that it is both internal and external facing, facilitating information flow between users and those inside the company, especially for the product. And because DevRel knows the target audience (i.e., the developer) so well, it helps create and facilitate the important narrative of information and tools that the developer needs to understand and succeed with the product. We know that developers make or influence two-thirds of buying decisions. Which company can afford to ignore two-thirds of its market?


What types of projects do you like to work on/align best with your skillset?

I like the opportunity to be strategic and help clients identify their strategies. My mind naturally likes to identify patterns and create frameworks, and I love to learn.  So, working on value propositions for products and programs and competitive positioning, identifying priorities, and advising on setting up a developer program for success based on the variables are fun projects for me.


What trends are you seeing in the tech community, and where do you see DevRel heading in the next few years? 

There is no question that DevRel is tumultuous at the moment due to external factors in the economy and internal factors within the practice. I feel for the folks laid off and those losing staff and budget, as I have lived through a few of those cycles. We need to remember that these are cycles and aim to have resilience. Also, because the practice of DevRel is maturing slowly, it hasn’t reached a strong critical mass of acceptance as a valuable business practice. A united, egoless effort is needed to take DevRel to the next level. I am hopeful with a few initiatives I know are occurring; we will see something take fruit before the year is over.

What hobbies/interests do you have outside of work? 

I love spending time outside. I spend a lot of time nurturing my garden and chatting with my neighbours. However, a word to the wise: do not buy a corner lot, as it doubles your gardening, raking, and shoveling! I cycle often and use it as my main form of local transportation. If I have to go somewhere, my first thought is - can I cycle there? Then, can I walk or take the bus? My last thoughts are taxis or my car. I have a 2005 Subaru with a little over 100km on it - so you can see how much I don’t drive!  I am really in my happy place anytime I can be in or near the water with activities like swimming, kayaking, and standup paddle boarding.

 

Caroline Lewko is a driving force in the tech industry, with a passion for fostering vibrant communities and enhancing developer experiences. As Co-Founder of DevRel.Agency, she continues to work with top companies, from Fortune 500 to fast-growing start-ups. Caroline's diverse skill set and entrepreneurial spirit make her a valuable asset in the DevRel community.



Need help identifying friction in your Developers’ Journey or smoothing out your Documentation so you can better communicate with your developer audience? Connect with Caroline on LinkedIn.

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