hi DevRel Fam, and welcome to Issue 150 of DevRel Weekly! It's wild to think that the newsletter has been up and running for more than 3.5 years now -- the first issue went live on Jan 31, 2018. To those of you who have been here from the beginning -- thank you so much for your support and dedication to driving the DevRel industry forward! It's been a heckuva ride and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next few years take us.
To commemorate the occasion, I took the time to pull together some stats from the last few years of curating this newsletter. When I first did this data analysis in Feb 2019, I spotted what seemed to be a few key trends. As you may imagine, a good number of those trends disappeared in the past 16 months when COVID turned our worlds upside down, so I had my work cut out for me this time around 😅
However, with the help of my good friend Kate Pond, I identified a few interesting items that may point to future trends in the DevRel industry as well as some consistent patterns that point to the growth and maturity of DevRel.
Before we dig into those highlights below, I wanted to let you know about one additional item that I'm excited to get into your hands. For a while now, I've heard that it would be helpful to have a DevRel FAQ, or a place to find the top articles for particular topics. It's taken some time for me to figure out the best way to present this information and also curate the articles, videos, resources, and talks to include, but I'm happy to announce that I've launched version 1 of DevRel Resources, which includes a variety of links to resources on everything from breaking into DevRel and building a team, to collecting feedback and writing excellent documentation.
I already have ideas on how to improve the page, including some visual changes as well as adding attribution to the links, but I wanted to get this out there to you all so you can start benefitting from it! Have additional ideas on how it can be improved? Be sure to drop me a line.
I hope it's a useful collection for you, whether you're just getting started in DevRel or have been around the block a few times. If you notice something that's missing, don't hesitate to suggest a resource! I'm certain that there are links that I missed and also content that has yet to be created. I want this to be a living resource that is updated as new pieces of content surface, so be sure to check back for more information in the future.
Lastly, I'd love to hear your feedback about the newsletter. If you have a minute, please fill out this survey. Your opinions are important to me and will help me create a resource that best suits your needs moving forward.
The number of available jobs in Developer Relations has increased
First and foremost, it's clear that the number of job postings for Developer Relations jobs has gone up significantly in the past 3.5 years. Since starting to collect job listings in early 2018, I noticed a slow but steady increase throughout 2019 and 2020. However, throughout the past year, despite (or perhaps, because of?) the pandemic, the number of job postings for DevRel professionals (including management, entry-level roles, and DevRel-adjacent roles like Technical Writers) has skyrocketed.
I don't think this will be a surprise to any hiring managers -- I've heard from many other managers that it's not only my hiring pipeline that is suffering! 😅 -- and this thread from Jessica Rose confirms it as well. But it's also something to be aware of whether you're looking for a new role or exploring Developer Relations for the first time. Generally speaking, it's an "applicant's market" right now, which means you can be a little bit more specific in what you're looking for. On the other hand, it also means you'll need to keep an eye out for roles (and companies) that aren't right for you. Check out the Interviewing resources for tips on how to find the answers to some important questions.
People are continuing to mentor and encourage new DevRel professionals
Whether it's people sharing about their experience, encouraging other people to join, or offering tips on how to get started with a career in Developer Relations, we continue to be an incredibly welcoming and nurturing community, always looking to share our stories and explain how others can join.
There are still consistently spikes in this content when we hear a backlash from people who don't understand the value of what we do (see January 2020 for the clearest example), but generally speaking, the number of people telling their stories is increasing as more people enter the Developer Relations space. While this may seem obvious to some, it's a clear sign to me yet again that we are truly a community that wants to share and give back -- to give people around us a leg up and "work out loud" in a way that allows others to grow alongside us.
Lastly, there seems to be a spike in conversations around DevRel careers (whether entering DevRel or progressing in your DevRel career) at the beginning of every year. Perhaps this is related to resolutions and hopes for the future? There also seems to be a correlation between the spikes in burnout-related content and career-related content, which is perhaps indicative that we set new standards, look for new opportunities, and give other people advice about how to move forward with our careers when we're either struggling with or recovering from a bout of burnout.
There are a few spikes that I noticed which can only be attributed to COVID, including a spike in topics around event organization, building online communities, and remote work around the beginning of COVID (March-May 2020).
On the other hand, I would have expected a spike in topics like livecoding or creating other digital content (blogposts, videos, etc.), and yet there wasn't one! Perhaps this is an area where we could benefit from additional tutorials (hint 😉).
The topic of scaling your community -- for example, generating additional engagement, increasing the number of people in your community, scaling efforts to reach your community -- had a few small spikes throughout 2020, which were perhaps indicative of the roller coaster that was 2020, but is now starting to grow more steadily in 2021. My hypothesis? Now that we're starting to better understand how to gather in online venues and reach our communities online as well as in-person, the topic of how to scale these efforts is more relevant than ever.
Lastly, while the topic of building a solid DevRel strategy used to spike fairly consistently at the beginning of each quarter, indicating a consistent pattern of quarterly planning, it dropped off almost completely in 2020 (<5 links per month). While this isn't surprising at all in retrospect, it's a fascinating indicator of how everything simply paused while we waited in limbo to see what our next steps should be. It's now starting to pick up a more regular cadence again in 2021.
Interested in more predictions and trends? Here are two timely articles that address the future of community:
- Executive Interest in Community Programs Grows Significantly, an excerpt from the in-depth report pulled together by The Community Roundtable every year
- The Future of Community from the awesome team at Orbit
Thank You! 🥑❤️
Thanks again for being along for the ride, whether you've been here for 2 weeks, 2 years, or from the beginning. Your encouragement and input mean the world to me and drive me to continue producing this content 🤗
Don't forget to fill out the survey and as always, I look forward to hearing from you! Have a great week. I'll be back soon with our regularly scheduled content!