The first question that comes to everyone’s mind is What is Developer Relations? One of the easiest explanations which you can find on the internet is Developer Relations (DevRel) is an interdisciplinary role that sits in a border space between product, engineering, and marketing. At different companies, DevRel rolls into different Orgs for e.g DevRel is a part of Engineering in companies like Zeta, Google, Slack, etc but works very closely with the Product and Marketing teams.
Let’s have a look at how DevRel sits in Marketing, Engineering, and Product:
At various companies DevRel is a part of Marketing hence the activities they might be running might be marketing heavy e.g User Acquisition, Product Sales, etc. Also, because they are a part of the marketing team they have access to a higher budget which allows them to host marquee developer-specific events as well as provide access to resources to run user acquisition, product sales, etc.
DevRel is a part of Engineering at some companies where their day-to-day job includes developing sample codes that can be used by developers trying out the product/API for the first time, writing technical documentation, etc. Here in this case the DevRel folks have a fair idea of what happening internally but are disconnected from the Community which results in just the ‘Developer’ part left in them from ‘Developer Relations
A product team’s ultimate mission is to build great products which everybody can use. The Product Managers constantly test hypotheses, develop a product roadmap, incorporate feedback. Developer relation teams are constantly in touch with Developers, End Customers constantly collecting Product Feedback. So, you can say that Developer Relations is an extended org of the Product team.
Developer Relations Leaders at IBM on What It Means to Be a Developer Advocate
Coming back to what Developer Relations at Zeta is about, at Zeta we call the team the Developer Experience team and at the moment it’s a team of 5 people: DevEx Lead, Developer Advocate, Technical Writer, Video Production Intern, and a UX Designer(TBH). At Zeta, DevEx is part of Engineering but lives somewhere at the intersection of Engineering and Product. The objective of the team is to improve Zeta’s product offerings and ensure the internal Tech community can operate effectively at scale with us being the first point of contact for both technical teams and external stakeholders.
DevEx has been pivotal at Zeta, developing API Documentation, transcribing videos to blogs, creating Product Explainer videos, developer-centric microsites, identifying technical speaking opportunities for engineers at Zeta, setting up a process to run Hackathons, Tech Conferences, setting up OpenSource initiatives at Zeta along with collaborating with several teams to develop a knowledge base for new engineering hires to name a few.
In my next part, I will be focusing more on providing details of how our day-to-day work looks like. Till then if you want to have a chat about what we do or how we do it, reach out to us by mail!
Director — Developer Advocate