Your DevRel Career! DevRelCon 2021 CFP

July 11, 2021

Author Tamao Nakahara

Head of Developer Experience at Weaveworks and co-founder of DevRelCon/DevXcon.

DevRelCon 2021 focuses on your DevRel career!

Submit a talk about your experiences to the Call for Papers (CFP)!

DevRelCon 2021 about your DevRel career! When you go through the CFP process, you’ll see pointers that I hope inspire and help you to understand our goals. First and foremost, DevRelCon is always a practitioners conference and one where people are still figuring out solutions. Even if it’s anecdata, we welcome talks about current challenges and solutions in process. They will be great conversation starters for the Q&A and workshops.

How does your career fill essential gaps?

Your leadership identified gaps and they feel that you can fill them with skills, knowledge, strategy, influence, etc. They felt only a DevRel, Community, or DX person or team could fill that. But that process isn’t always clear and stakeholders might have different ideas of how you would execute the strategy. Whether you’re a Dev Advocate, Community Manager, or managing a team, share your successes and challenges of how you’ve made sure that stakeholders actually understand what you do and how you build that into your DevRel career.

Some sample scenarios that we would welcome for a talk include:

  • Our small Community management and Community engineering team receives a wide range of miscellaneous requests. Eg. they ask for docs and other tech writing requests, support tickets, addressing an angry tweet, etc. It feels like people send us stuff because they don’t know what we do and they don’t know who else should do the work. Here are 3 key things that we’ve started to manage expectations and educate the company of our mission.
  • There’s a big directive in my company to “tap into” an external community. and it has fallen into my lap. There seems to be misconceptions of what will actually help the company and how to respect the community. For instance, it isn’t a place to get “free work.” I’ll share how I’ve educated internally and satisfied stakeholders about an effective DevRel-Community approach.
  • We have a big and growing engineering org. Having an internal and vibrant community that uses and maybe contributes to open source will enhance collaboration and innovation, and help with retention. I’ve been passionately driving this on my own time and they’ve decided to make my role official as an internal advocate and community manager. Here are the first things that I’ve done step up to this new role.
  • Learning and growing my DevRel skills are part of my job. In the beginning, they weren’t officially part of my OKRs. So, I felt a lot of pressure to study on my own time and deliver results each week. Here are ways that I was able to get better alignment with my manager.

See the CFP for more examples in this category!

Metrics get you toward the next step in your DevRel Career!

Have you received feedback that your DevRel metrics don’t make sense? Do they say that it is hard to see your work as valuable in the company? What are you doing for the bottom line? What types of metrics are appropriate for your job, or how might the metrics you produce help you take the next step in your DevRel career? Share your stories of challenges, ongoing solutions, and successes where you got feedback. Did leadership say that your DevRel-based work/metrics were or were not valuable within the company?

Some sample scenarios that we would welcome for a talk include:

  • DevRel-Community-DX metrics that the leadership want sometimes are impossible to gather for example in open source. Even though I couldn’t get perfect data, I have gathered these 3 specific data points that at least show growth over time. I also explained how they were indicators of growth or community health that satisfied management.
  • As an individual contributor, my management asked that I bubble up certain types of metrics. As I started becoming a team lead and then manager, this is how I leveled up with certain types of metrics. These are the tools that I used and these are the next level of metrics that I’m working on the manage up for my career.
  • For a long time, my company said that it cared about knowledge diversity, but would never hire junior engineers. This is how we successfully presented our metrics to argue for building a team with greater knowledge diversity. Now we can provide more empathetic service and enablement to our community.

See the CFP for more examples in this category!

Regional and Cultural Specifics

DevRel-Community work often involves starting your own community or getting involved in an existing one. Finding a career in tech communities might be based on your company’s business goals (eg. being seen as tech leaders in a particular community). Or, you might find your next job by contributing to a tech community on your own time. Share your stories and strategies of how you’ve successfully contributed to the health of a community culture (online, regional, etc) by understanding and respecting that community’s culture. Maybe it also helped your career. Did you share your technical knowledge, make it welcoming and inclusive, or grow the community across different regions or cultures?

Some sample scenarios that we would welcome for a talk include:

  • My company sells products by winning the hearts and minds of Data Scientists. A lot of what I do falls under common DevRel practices, but I do things differently to connect with Data Scientists. Eg. I changed my job title to “Data Science Advocate” or “Machine Learning Engineer.”
  • I loved a tool so much that I spent my nights and weekends answering questions in Slack and contributing to the docs. The company behind the tool recruited me so now I feel like I have a dream job! These are benefits and adjustments that I experienced during my first year on the job.
  • Many of our community members have variable internet bandwidth. We’ve used text-only or audio-only ways to connect, teach each other, and build a strong sense of community.
  • I work for a company that has community managers and dev advocates all over the world. I’ll share ways in which we have shared the same strategies. So I’ll also share the ways that we’ve been clear that strategies for one culture would not translate at all in another.
  • We have an online community with people from very different cultures. I’m a Community Manager and my community’s health ia a key success metric. I’ll share how I’ve ensured community heath and respectful behavior across cultures that isn’t just laying down the law / CoC.

See the CFP for more examples in this category!

Skills Growth and other topics

Share any other topics that you feel are relevant to DevRel, Community, and Dev Experience. Share topics that will help this community learn, grow, and build skills together for our career paths.

We appreciate talks where us DevRel-Community-DX friends can teach each other and build skills in areas such as:

  • Deeper technical knowledge
  • Broader ecosystem knowledge
  • Storytelling through writing, speaking, and/or demoing
  • Docs and support best practices
  • Building the best sample apps
  • Empathy and community management
  • Open Source best practices
  • Building thought leadership and social influence
  • Business strategies

I hope you’re as excited as we are about helping each other grow in our DevRel careers. We’ve gotten great submissions so far and we look forward to hearing your fantastic stories. We’ll solve problems together for your internal management, metrics for your current and next role, cultural specifics, and more!

For any questions, please email [email protected]

If this is your first time at DevRelCon, welcome! We have amazing resources from 5 years of DevRelCon and DevXcon events!