Is developer relations right for you?

How do you know whether moving into developer relations or DevRel is right for you?


  • Differences between being a product-based software engineer
  • Pros and cons of this move
  • Signals in your own life are strong indicators that you might be successful in DevRel
  • What the DevRel mindset is


  • The main focus of the blog is to focus on the engineering side of developer relations.
Difference between being a software engineer on a product and a software engineer in developer relations

Software Engineering vs DevRel - The difference

Time spent coding

  • Product-based software engineer the majority of your time is spent working on
    • features
    • fixing bugs
    • writing tests
    • eliminating technical debt
    • writing design documents
  • Engineer in developer relations, there’s simply a lot less time to do all of this
    • developer relations teams are the connective tissue between 3rd party developers and the internal product and engineering teams
    • time spent on creating, building, and connecting with communities.
    • collecting feedback and working with your internal stakeholders to make sure the product is evolving to better serve the developer community

Size of coding projects

  • not always be the case, but generally speaking, the size of the coding projects in DevRel is smaller.
  • building a proof of concept, a demo, a code snippet, or perhaps a client library
  • your code itself is to be used by other developers within their own projects
  • building a community, overhauling documentation, amplifying knowledge about a product through videos and speaking engagements -- less coding.

Part of everything

  • part engineer, part product manager, part marketer, and part business development.
  • encounter a lot of different stacks
  • have to be flexible and learning new stacks on the go.

Focused on people

  • DevRel at its’ core is about people
  • software engineering is often more about the code you produce
  • a mix of a great engineer who connects with other engineers and has the respect of the internal teams at the same time caring about people (developers) and making them successful.

Evaluation of contributions

  • software engineer’s impact is likely focused largely on technical contributions
  • For DevRel
    • community growth/support
    • growth of product awareness
    • product influence
    • communication regarding product launches
    • delivery of technical content


  • Requires being good at a different set of skills.
  • You have a chance to see the world.
  • You’ll be closer to the people who use the product.


  • There are less DevRel jobs than software engineering jobs.
  • Most people understand the value a software engineer brings to a company, it’s not as clear in developer relations.
  • There's a lot of explaining to do.

Signs to switch to DevRel

  • Actively participated in or organized programming events, contests, hackathons, or workshops.
  • Spoke at technical conferences or meetups.
  • Have a mixed background of engineering and product or project management.
  • Academic background or teaching experience of technical subjects.

At the end of the day, it's all about the mindset, #DevRel being about people, the mindset has to be one of empathy. Their success is our success.