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Survey Insights: The Many Roles of DevRel

Do you know what constitutes a Developer Relations (DevRel) practitioner? How many job titles are represented in DevRel? We think you'll be surprised to learn the variety of job titles that make up the dynamic practice of #DevRel.

Our 10th Annual State of DevRel Report, launched on October 17, 2023, showcased many interesting insights about DevRel. The variety of DevRel Job Titles and activities is one of those insights. What the Report shows and what we continue to witness, is the increased recognition of DevRel’s value to an organization. To meet those needs, the roles and responsibilities within a Developer Relations Program have expanded.

Let’s unpack this with some data from our survey respondents.

A Variety of Job Titles and Levels in DevRel

To find out who's doing what in DevRel these days, Question 8 from the survey asked: “What is your most recent developer relations job title?” The results were as follows:

Figure 1: Job Titles identified in the survey - more detail here.

No surprise, Developer Advocates at 42.8%, is the top grouping of job titles for #DevRel.

The Developer Advocate role is most familiar in DevRel, as it’s usually the most outward-facing role and often the first role that is hired.

However, as we dig deeper we see that 57.2% of DevRel roles are not Developer Advocates.

As DevRel has grown, we see more Leadership and Managerial roles, and roles across the spectrum of DevRel’s core components, such as Dev Marketing, Dev Experience, Dev Education, and Community (see Figure 2 below). We also see a strong tie-in to engineering with roles like DevRel engineers.

Figure 2: DevRel's core components. – see What is Developer Relations for more detail.

Although the survey didn’t uncover a C-Level DevRel role this year, we frequently encounter them, and continue to advocate for a Chief Developer Relations Officer to align with DevRel’s impact within an organization. Perhaps we’ll see more of those roles next year!

A Few Tips to Build Your DevRel Team

From a practical standpoint, you may wonder how to grow your team or your own role. Here are a few suggestions to help you get things moving.

Always start by understanding your company’s goals, where DevRel reports, and how your DevRel program will contribute to your company’s goals. You’ll also need to determine what your community wants. There are many questions to ponder here, and it helps to make a list. Below are a few considerations and the types of roles which can fulfill them.

Does your developer audience know about your product or DevRel program? A Developer Marketer may be required here. Their duties often revolve around digital marketing (e.g., SOE, PPC, online ads, etc.) and outreach through developer newsletters and nurture campaigns. Strong research and analytics are needed here to keep up with trends, understand KPIs around activities, and impart findings to other departments.

What’s the state of your community? Do you have one? Developer Advocate skills may be needed here as they represent the organization in relevant technical communities. Often wearing many hats, these folks may attend events, give product demos, generate content, and pull together other resources and departments. Traits can include a reasonably strong technical background backed by good social and writing skills.

Do developers need more information on how to get the solution working? Are they finding friction or roadblocks while trying to build “hello world” or follow tutorials? Technical Writers and Developer Education specialists may be needed. As experienced writers and instructors, people in these roles have great communication skills and an uncanny ability to distill internal knowledge developers crave. Alternatively, a Support and Success person may be needed. They tend to have a strong technical background and in-depth product knowledge, as they often work directly with the product team to help customers scale.

In essence, DevRel is not just a role. It's a program and a team of people to deliver on the needs of your developers so they can find success with your product, which in turn creates success for your company.

DevRel job titles and activities are as diverse as the organizations that now employ and practice DevRel. For the full survey results, check out the rest of the 10th Annual State of DevRel Report.

The 2023 State of Developer Relations Report is administered by us at DevRel.Agency, and proudly sponsored by Common Room, Slack, and Orbit.


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