Decoding DevRel: Exploring Job Roles in Developer Relations

by | Thu 25 May 2023

DevRel, short for Developer Relations, is a critical part of many tech companies. It refers to the strategic efforts aimed at engaging and nurturing relationships with the developer community.

This involves creating a conducive environment for developers, facilitating productive communication, and promoting the company’s products or services among the community.

But what roles form the crux of DevRel? Let’s dig in.

Key DevRel Jobs

DevRel usually consists of three primary roles: Director of Developer Relations, Community Manager, and Evangelist.

Each plays a unique part in establishing and cultivating relationships between the company and its developer community.

1. Director of Developer Relations

The Director of Developer Relations is often a senior role within companies that are further along in their growth.

This individual is responsible for overseeing the DevRel strategy, ensuring that cross-team collaboration occurs effectively.

They usually interact with different departments like marketing, sales, product, and engineering, making sure these teams align with stakeholder requirements.

The Director of Developer Relations role isn’t typically the first hire in a nascent company. Rather, this role becomes crucial as the company matures and requires a leader to synchronize the DevRel activities with the broader company strategy.

2. Community Manager

The Community Manager is akin to the backbone of the developer community.

Their role involves building, nurturing, and growing the community by creating engaging content, managing community channels, and organizing events.

They are also responsible for improving the onboarding process for new members and creating engaging experiences for existing ones.

The Community Manager’s role becomes significant in the early stages of community-building, with the primary goal being attracting and retaining members.

This role is often the starting point in setting up a solid developer community structure.

3. Evangelist

The Evangelist, the voice of the company, is primarily tasked with creating awareness and excitement around the company’s products or services.

Their responsibilities include delivering tech demos, advocating for the company, performing outreach, and creating compelling content.

They are often the face of the company at conferences, webinars, and other public forums. Once a robust community structure is in place, the Evangelist plays a crucial role in driving traffic and attention to it.

DevRel Salaries

DevRel salaries varyies widely depending on the specific role, company size, and geographical location.

Be sure to check out this link from Glassdoor which provides some fairly current salary information. This is the salary for DevRel at the time of writing:

Developer Relations (DevRel) Salary

Who do you hire first?

For a successful DevRel strategy, I usually recommend companies start out with a community management role. This role establishes the necessary foundations for the community, ensuring that there’s a structured delivery system in place.

Following this, an evangelist should be brought in to generate excitement and awareness around the community. Ideally, when the community structure is stable and operational, the evangelist drives traffic towards it.

Lastly, as the company grows and matures, a Director of Developer Relations can be introduced. This person coordinates the activities of the community manager and evangelist, aligning these with the company’s overarching strategy.

It’s crucial to remember that while these roles have distinct responsibilities, there is often overlap, particularly in smaller teams or startup environments. Flexibility is a must, with the success of DevRel lying in the balance and synchronization of all these roles.

What about a DevRel Engineer?

A noteworthy role in the realm of DevRel is the DevRel Engineer. This role, while not as prominent as the aforementioned ones, is increasingly becoming essential. But what is a DevRel Engineer?

A DevRel Engineer is a hybrid role, combining aspects of software engineering and DevRel.

These folks are technically skilled, often with a strong background in software development, and carry the responsibility of representing the developers within the company.

Their role includes writing code, building demos, providing developer feedback to the product team, and communicating technical aspects of the product to the developer community.

Their position serves as a bridge between the company’s technical team and the developer community, which allows them to understand both parties’ needs and communicate effectively.

Stay focused on value

However you hire, ensure you focus on these key elements as you start to build out your developer community:

  1. Community First: Always prioritize the community. The developer community is not just a customer base; it’s a group of individuals who can help improve and promote your product. Listen to their needs, consider their feedback, and communicate openly with them.
  2. Authenticity: Authenticity is key in DevRel. The community values genuine interactions and honest feedback. Therefore, maintaining authenticity in your communication helps build trust and fosters a strong relationship.
  3. Value Delivery: Ensure that you’re not just promoting your product but providing value to the community. This could be through educational content, insightful discussions, or useful tools. Delivering value helps maintain engagement and loyalty within the community.
  4. Collaboration: Collaboration is a vital aspect of DevRel. Whether it’s collaborating with the community, with other teams in your company, or even with other companies, successful DevRel involves working together to achieve shared goals.

DevRel is a dynamic, multi-faceted field, providing a variety of job roles, each playing a unique part in nurturing relationships with the developer community.

From community managers and evangelists to the director of developer relations and DevRel engineers, these roles each contribute significantly to a successful DevRel strategy.

Keep in mind the importance of authentic communication, delivering value, and fostering a collaborative environment for a thriving developer relations program.

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