Developer relations, why is it needed?

Explaining your role and function comes with the territory of working in this space, but why is that? It’s tricky to define, describe what developer relations is, and why it even exists?

Let’s start with a round of introductions. Sean, why don’t you go first?”, says the organizer of the meeting.

Sure thing.

Hey there, my name is Zeus and I work in developer relations.


  • At the heart, DevRel is a people business

  • Building real relationships with internal and external engineers

  • 3C's of DevRel

    • Community

    • Coding

    • Content


  • Developer relations -- a variety of tasks and responsibilities that can vary from company to company.

Responsibilities of DevRel

  • Now, like mentioned above ⬆️ can be a variety of tasks that can vary according to which category DevRel is focused on in an organization.

  • But below ⬇️ are a few tasks that are almost done by every DevRel.

As you can see, developer relations is highly cross-functional, dynamic, and includes a wide breadth of skills and responsibilities. According to Bear Douglas, Director of Developer Relations at Slack, developer relations is “an interdisciplinary role that sits in a border space between product, engineering, and marketing”.

  • Besides product management, DevRel is the only role that might be a part of various kinds of meetings.

3 C's of Developer Relations


  • Building personal connections with developers

  • Growing awareness of the platform


  • Creation of resources to be used by developers

  • Great way to build trust

  • Forms the foundation for demonstrations of your platform


  • Creating reference materials like documentation, guides, blogs and videos

  • Helps in extending the reach and educating the community

Difficult to define DevRel. Why?

  • Large breadth of tasks and responsibilities comes within developer relations.

  • Responsibilities change within every company.

  • DevRel might be in different parts within the organization

    • Engineering

    • Product

    • Marketing

  • DevRel is still a relatively new function for companies to have.

  • Applicable to companies with developer-facing products.

  • Somewhat niche, makes it harder to define to people outside of the tech industry.

So, what is developer relations?

The art of developer relations is to actually build authetic relationships within your community without selling or marketing to them.

  • The purpose of developer relations is to build relationships with and enable our technical communities.

Why does it exist?

  • One of the ways to put it would be that it "always exists".

  • Having a product where users are developers, you are already into developer relations then, even if you have a dedicated team or not.

  • So, even if your organization doesn't have a DevRel, there must be someone writing technical documentation, code samples, connecting with developers to solve an issue.

  • While developing a product, one of the first steps as a developer is to create documentation, samples, uses cases to get started.

  • If you want to learn more about community flywheels you can check the scribble below

pageBuilding community flywheels

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