A DevRel in a digital product agency
How we use the Developer Relations role to give back to the community and help make this industry a better place.
You've probably heard about Developer Relations or Developer Advocacy before. You probably know someone with that job title, or maybe you are one. But, what does a DevRel exactly do? A quick search will give you answers along these lines: "Developer Relations is best defined as building relationships with the developer community" (from Introduction to Developer Relations), or "the interface between 3rd party developers and the engineering and product teams building the underlying platforms" (from The Core Competencies of Developer Relations).
Codegram is a digital product agency, we build products for clients (check out our case studies if you are curious), but rarely for other developers. So, at first glance it doesn't look like the type of company that needs to have a Developer Relations role. But we respectfully disagree!
We use a lot of open source to make money, so it seems only fair to give back to the community. The most obvious action is contributing to open source, but it's not the only thing. We like to explore new technologies and we learn a lot in each project we make. It's a shame to keep this to ourselves, so sharing knowledge is important for us. We've been doing so in our blog, but also speaking at conferences, organizing Full Stack Fest, the Full Stack Cast, and more to come (stay tuned!).
A shared responsibility
Our industry has issues, and it's everyone's responsibility to solve them. Not only to make the industry a better place for everyone, but also to improve the products we build. Creating accessible websites and apps is very important and often neglected. Respect for the users' privacy is forgotten in favor of getting the maximum profit out of their data. A single developer can only do so much, but companies have a lot of power to change that.
We believe in our values, and we think it would be positive if more companies worked like us. We've worked hard on making our team more diverse, and we want to communicate that there is a different way to do things. Not only would this help solve the problems mentioned before, but it's also more profitable for the company: we have a very low employee turnover rate, and in this industry that's very rare.
A DevRel's job
Everyone at Codegram is aligned with these values, but combining our work for client's projects with contributing to open source, writing blog posts, speaking at conferences, etc. is hard, and not everyone's cup of tea. So a DevRel's job is to coordinate these efforts and ensure this keeps happening and we contribute in a meaningful way. And of course, be a public face for the company, so say hi on twitter if you want to chat, you can find me on my personal account, or Codegram's as always 👋
Cover photo by Mike Erskine