Getting developer buy-in for a new product can be challenging as a start-up in the Developer Tool space as the market is highly competitive. As a result many companies are hiring Developer Advocates to enhance their Developer Relations (DevRel) capacity prior to launch. An effective approach to DevRel and developer advocacy can facilitate faster adoption of their product once launched.
Furthermore, a DevRel arm ensures companies and the internal software development team gets better and more comprehensive feedback for further development and improvement. As there is a dedicated person (or team) to bridge the gap between the company and the community of developers, better communication and a more in-depth understanding of the users’ needs are established. Not only does this result in greater innovations from the software development team, but also contributes to an overall most positive developer experience (DevEx) – something WE ARE HUGE advocates for.
In this article we break this down a little.
First, let’s define what we mean by Developer Relations and Developer Advocates:-
Developer advocacy falls under the broader umbrella of developer relations. DevRel, as mentioned above encompasses both internal and external interactions with software developers. The core objective of Developer Relations is to establish a strong connection between the organisation and the developer community to ultimately help developers (the users) be successful with their platform or tool. This involves fostering relationships, providing technical support, gathering feedback, promoting adoption, and facilitating collaboration. Developer Relations teams or individuals act as liaisons between the organisation and developers, serving as advocates for both parties.
Duties of Developer Advocates can include writing blog posts, hosting podcasts, writing tutorials and resources, networking on professional networks and attending conferences and hackathons. They can be somewhat likened to the tech version of a ‘social media influencer’ but their approach is much more subtle and more about developing connections rather than selling, as they are NOT marketers.
As correctly reiterated by one of our followers this week on Linkedin:-
“Always remember it’s DevREL not DevSell” – Khadijah Amusat
Developer Advocates are everywhere!
Successful examples, such as Google’s Android and SurrealDB, highlight the importance of strong relationships with developers. These relationships empower developers to become entrepreneurs and decision-makers, driving innovation and product growth. Google’s comprehensive platform for mobile development met long-standing developer demands, while SurrealDB’s open-source approach garnered developer contributions and accelerated product development.
Christina Lin (Director of Developer Advocacy) at RedPanda wrote a great article on ‘A day in the life of a developer advocate’ and summarises her experience as a developer advocate at a remote-first startup. Lin explains that although she is a self-confessed ‘Introvert’ she really enjoyed helping her less tech-savvy colleagues adopt new technologies to make their jobs a lot easier.
Frontend Engineer & Developer Advocate at Nuclia AI, Eric Brehault is also a whizz at keeping the community updated with new developments and providing fascinating and personal insights into his journey as a software developer.
As well as sharing interesting information and having an ability to explain things simply, being open and personable is key to being a Developer Advocate.
Being a Developer Advocate is a varied role, you need up-to-date technical skills, good communication skills, and to be able to work on your own initiative.
Ok, but how does having a Developer Advocate improve the DevEx and productivity within the company’s software development team?
- Feedback and Requirements Gathering:
Developer Advocates work closely with the developer community to understand their needs, challenges, and feedback regarding the company’s software tools. By actively collecting and analysing this information, they can provide valuable insights and feedback to the software development team. This input helps the developers understand the requirements better and develop software that aligns with the developers’ needs, ultimately leading to more productive development processes, and less time-wasting tasks.
- Improved Collaboration:
DevRel individuals act as a bridge between developers and the company, facilitating effective communication and collaboration. They help in fostering a strong relationship between the software developers and the wider developer community, enabling them to exchange ideas, share best practices, and collaborate on solving problems. This improved collaboration can enhance the happiness and the productivity of software developers by providing them with a supportive network and access to valuable resources.
- Developer Empowerment:
DevRel teams aim to empower developers by providing them with the necessary resources, documentation, and support to effectively utilise the company’s software tools. This empowerment leads to developers being more proficient and efficient in their work, resulting in increased productivity. Moreover, DevRel teams can organise workshops, training sessions, and events to help developers stay updated with the latest technologies and practices, further boosting their productivity.
- Product Adoption and Innovation:
The DevRel team actively promotes the company’s software tools to the developer community. By creating awareness and demonstrating the value of the tools, they contribute to increased adoption among developers. When more developers are proficient in using the company’s tools, it leads to better collaboration, shared knowledge, and accelerated innovation. This, in turn, positively impacts the overall productivity of software developers within the company.
In conclusion, in the competitive Developer Tool space, obtaining developer buy-in for a new product can be challenging for start-ups. However, hiring Developer Advocates and implementing an effective Developer Relations (DevRel) strategy can greatly enhance the chances of success for both the platform/tool they represent and the developers that use it (i.e. their customers)! To us, having a DevRel team is a no-brainer!
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At Develocity we specialise in finding talented Software Developers and DevRel individuals for the DevTools market. If you are looking to grow your team we would be happy to discuss the options with you. Or if you are looking for your next opportunity within the DevRel space, we are here for you too! Contact us today.