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Few people grow up thinking about a career in developer relations. Even those that study computer science are rarely exposed to this world. They are typically thinking about a career as a traditional software engineer or perhaps a product manager.

If you’ve found yourself reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you are already working in a technical field as an engineer or an engineer-adjacent role and are perhaps thinking about dipping your toe into the world of developer relations (if not and you somehow stumbled into this article not sure what developer relations is, I suggest you start…

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In developer relations, we are often a cross-functional team, sometimes seen as a support and amplification mechanism for core teams like engineering and product. A “nice to have”, but not necessarily required component for program success.

Personally, I am not comfortable being considered “nice to have”, so how do we change that?

We need to inject ourselves into the early decision-making process for a product, make people understand that a great developer experience isn’t just “nice to have”, it’s critical to any developer-facing product’s success. Without this, developer relations can be relegated to being a bandaid to a poor product…


If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. — Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker’s often cited quote is one of the most famous quotes in business and one from my own experience as a startup founder and manager I’ve found to be very true. However, when it comes to developer relations, it is notoriously difficult to measure in part because it’s also notoriously difficult to define.

Developer relations means different things to different people and it encompasses many different tasks, responsibilities, and even resides within different areas of an organization (typically engineering, product, or marketing).

But to find success within…

The developer frustration curve
The developer frustration curve

Imagine you’re a developer working at Opentech Corp tasked with adding payment support to your company’s product. You start by doing research on payment processing solutions in order to make a recommendation. You first try out payment processing company XYZ Processing because you’ve seen them around for a long time and you know it’s used by other companies.

After banging your head against the wall for 2 hours to get a simple test payment working, you give up and try out company ABC Processing.

With ABC Processing you’re taken through a smooth registration flow, download an SDK for the language…

For those of us that work in developer relations, we have likely experienced a situation like the following.

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 Sean Falconer and I work in developer relations.

Room full of blank stares.

What would you say you do here?

Even in my day job, it’s common to interact with colleagues that are unfamiliar with developer relations and externally, even more so.

Explaining your role and function comes with the territory of working in this space, but why is that? Why are people…

My plan for this blog is to discuss topics related to developer relations, but before I get there, I wanted to tell my story for how I found myself in this career. I’ve told parts of this story in presentations in the past, but this is the detailed version of the key moments throughout my education and career that have led to where I am today.

So, how exactly did a kid growing up in small town rural Canada find himself at one of the most influential technology companies in the world?

Growing up in Canada’s Chocolate Town

I grew up in a small town in…

Sean Falconer

Google Developer Relations — BizComms — All opinions are mine and mine alone.

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