What is developer relations and why does it exist?

What would you say you do here?

What do you do in developer relations?

Before we jump into defining developer relations, I think it helps a lot to set a frame of reference by first understanding what are the kinds of things people in developer relations actually do.

  • Write a demo application for a new API feature
  • Write a blog post explaining the new API feature and why someone might want to use it
  • Update documentation for the new feature
  • Speak at a conference, event, or host a hackathon
  • Meet with the internal engineering team to review upcoming features and provide feedback
  • Meet with product to provide feedback about the roadmap, help prioritize feature development, and share what pain points exist for 3rd party developers
  • In collaboration with the business development team, attend a meeting with a high-priority 3rd party company to help them understand how to integrate with your platform
  • Review support tickets with the support team to understand common developer issues and build a plan for addressing the issues at scale
  • Review and tweak a marketing social media post that is targeting a developer audience

Why is it difficult to define developer relations?

What is developer relations?

According to Derric Gilling, founder of moesif, “[t]he art of developer relations is to actually build authentic relationships within your community without selling or marketing to them.

Why does developer relations exist?

The simple answer is it always exists.

The Developer Relations ongoing interface cycle from The Core Competencies of Developer Relations

Final thoughts

At its’ heart, developer relations is a people business, it’s about building real relationships with both internal and external engineers. If your product has an API or SDK, your company is likely already doing developer relations whether you call it that or not.

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Sean Falconer

Sean Falconer

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