DevRel Weekly Year One: Patterns, Projections, Plans


If you have thoughts or hypotheses of your own, feel free to leave a comment below, reach out on Twitter, or shoot me an email. I’ve greatly enjoyed digging into this data and look forward to unlocking more information throughout the next few months.

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Projections

So what do I expect to see in the next 52 weeks as a result of this data from the past year?

More Data

First and foremost, I expect to have more data by this time next year. I’m anticipating this for a few reasons:

  • I’m collecting more data on a continual basis. Every week, I’m finding more blogs to follow and topics to search for. I fully expect to be sorting through something more like 1000 links every week as a result. Filters will become a far more important feature!

  • I’m starting to discover more non-English articles and tweets. For me, as a native English speaker, these are harder to parse and take a little more effort to determine whether or not to use them in the newsletter because of the language barriers. My current plan is to continue collecting them and tagging them appropriately, whether or not I’m using it in that week’s newsletter (more on that below).

  • People are talking about DevRel more. As our industry starts to mature, more content is made available. More people are tweeting, talking, and blogging about what DevRel is and how it works within various companies than ever before.

  • I’ll have a more complete set of data. As more articles are published and more conversations are had, I’ll be keeping tweets and articles that I don’t include in the newsletter, as well as those that get published. They’ll be tagged and archived appropriately, allowing me to have a better view of just how many articles are tagged with `burnout`, `content`, or `devex` throughout the year.

For those of you who are concerned that this will make for an even longer newsletter, don’t dismay! I’ll still be sifting and curating the cream of the crop. I’ll still choose the best articles, the best tweets, and the best tips to pass along to all of you. I’ll simply be more aware of the trends behind-the-scenes.

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More Jobs

Next, I expect to see an increase in the number of available jobs. At any given time, I’ve had upwards of 100 available job listings in the Toby Collection that I maintain for the newsletter. This number shows no sign of flagging and I’m seeing more and more companies post Developer Relations jobs every day. This includes Developer Advocates, Technical Content Managers, Technical Evangelists, Community Strategy Managers, and more.

Additionally, I’ve seen an uptick in the number of more experienced DevRel roles. From “Senior” and “Lead” to “Head of” and “Director”, it’s encouraging to see more companies building out career ladders for DevRel professionals.

More Stability

As more people are publishing articles about what Developer Relations is and the value that we bring to the table, I believe we’ll reach a point of greater stability in the DevRel industry. As I mentioned above, the negativity that we faced toward the end of 2018 spurred a flurry of posts around the DevRel industry. With each of these resources, we’re getting closer to a universal understanding of DevRel.

The influx in content is encouraging to me. As I said at the beginning of the article, when I started exploring Community Management at O’Reilly Media over a decade ago, Jono Bacon’s The Art of Community was still in the works and it was a struggle to find others who were familiar with what I was doing on a day-to-day basis. I remember the excitement of finding just one person who not only understood but identified with my chaotic schedule and inability to describe what it was I did every day.

Now, thanks to Dave Josephsen and Flo Motlik, who pulled me into the first “Benevolent Dictators” group, we have the DevRel Collective, which provides a support group for 1000+ DevRel professionals. There are at least 3 DevRel- and community building-related podcasts that I’m aware of, and a handful of other newsletters as well.

All of these resources take time to create and I’m grateful for everyone who has contributed in some way to the now-plethora of information that exists. The key is to share opinions and observations backed with data in a way that makes sense to the business stakeholders around us (storytelling, anyone?).

Plans

All this to say… I love this newsletter and I love this community. I’m so grateful that I took the leap and decided to start this newsletter a year ago. However, I’ve also realized in the past year that creating a weekly newsletter is difficult! While I enjoy curating the content, it takes anywhere from 6-10 hours every week for me to sift through all of the links and curate a cohesive newsletter. Additionally, as a achievement-driven person, having a project that ends every week and yet never truly ends is wearing at times.

Don’t worry -- I’m not giving it up! However, I am looking for ways for this project to be more sustainable for me. One of the things I’ll be trying in the coming year is sprinkling some themed newsletters into the mix approximately once a month. By creating these “current best of the best” issues, I’ll be able to take a break when necessary, rather than pushing myself to release the newsletter no matter what else is going on.

The second change is one that I’m implementing to make this endeavor more sustainable from a financial standpoint. As a self-employed consultant, any time that I spend on “non-billable” work is a loss. However, the goal of Persea Consulting, which I’ve mentioned previously, requires me to spend time on this type of work, and is what I’m truly passionate about:

Provide resources for DevRel professionalsas well as those trying to understand what Developer Relations is,

and in doing so, push the DevRel industry forward.

Frankly, I’d love to spend more time on this work! It’s not only valuable to those around me, but it also excites and energizes me. To make this work, I’ve launched a DevRel Weekly Patreon. What does this mean for the newsletter going forward? TL;DR: Nothing’s going to change. The newsletter will continue to go out on a weekly basis for free to anyone who subscribes.

But for those of you who are willing to take things one step further, I ask that you become a patron of DevRel Weekly. With your help, I can properly prioritize the work and also afford some much-needed assistance. Your monthly donation will offset the hours and money spent creating a high-quality newsletter every week and will allow me to continue producing content that advances the Developer Relations industry as a whole. With your support, I can continue to create this newsletter as a free resource for others just like you and me, who care about our technical communities and want to do our best to advocate for their needs.

As a token of my appreciation, I'll be maintaining up-to-date versions of the themed newsletters that I mentioned above, updating them as I find more excellent information to include. In addition, I’ll be uploading behind-the-scenes videos showing how I put together the newsletter, as well as offering insight into my consulting business.

You'll also have my deepest gratitude. As cheesy as it sounds, your emails, tweets, and DMs are what keep me going when it seems like this is a never-ending project. Knowing that I'm providing value for those around me is an incredible motivating factor for me, and I'm so thankful for those of you who have taken the time to reach out.