DevRel Awards 2018

November 20, 2018

Author Matthew Revell

DevRelCon founder and CEO of Hoopy, the content agency for the developer economy.

DevRel Awards 2018

DevRel Awards 2018

As so much of dev rel is about sharing what works best, we at Hoopy wanted to help recognise those individuals and teams who are pushing dev rel to new levels. So, at DevRelCon London 2018 we held the first ever DevRel Awards!

For this first time, there were four categories:

  • Most welcoming developer community
  • Greatest individual contribution to dev rel
  • Best new developer relations programme
  • Best developer relations programme overall.

Nominations were open to everyone until September 30th. After that, a panel of judges from around the dev rel community –– Tim Falls of Digital Ocean, Leslie Hawthorn of Red Hat, Bibi Othmani of Nexmo and myself –– selected the winners.

Then, on the evening of November 7th the awards ceremony took place at Microsoft Reactor in Shoreditch, London.

So, who won?

Most welcoming developer community

Jessica West and Joe Nash

What is the point in a developer community if it is hostile? As part of the awards, we wanted to recognise both the best of developer relations and the best of what dev rel can be.

Developers who take part in GitHub’s student programme –– Campus Experts –– consistently report that not only are they warmly welcome but that the community as a whole works together to build-up new members. Not only that, but Campus Experts is a truly global developer community welcoming student developers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

GitHub’s Joe Nash accepted the award, on behalf of the Campus Experts programme, from presenter Jessica West of Algolia.

Greatest individual contribution to developer relations

Jim Bennett and Leslie Hawthorn

Jim Bennett and Leslie Hawthorn

The thinking behind the DevRel Awards was never to buy into the idea of the rockstar Developer Advocate but rather to recognise people who have made dev rel better for everyone.

Some of the greatest changes in history took place because one person made a difference. We wanted to recognise the efforts that individuals can make in developer relations and there were a few names that stood out in the nominations.

One person, in particular, stood out thanks to her candid writing on what it means to be a developer advocate. We selected Ashley McNamara, of the Microsoft Azure developer relations team, as her work in the past year has stood out as an example of progressing the thinking around dev rel and humanising the work that we all do. Unfortunately, Ashley wasn’t able to join us so her Microsoft colleague Jim Bennett accepted the award from Leslie Hawthorn on her behalf.

Best new developer relations programme

Chloe Condon and Angela Bates

Chloe Condon and Angela Bates

Continuing the theme of progressing the state of developer relations, we wanted to recognise excellence in a developer relations programme that had only recently started. It seems like new dev rel programmes start every week but only one or two have really stood out over the past year for their fresh take.

Sentry Scouts, in particular, has helped rethink the tired old developer meet-up format by introducing karaoke, dance, theatre and more. And so, for shaking things in up such a joyful way, we awarded Sentry Scouts the Best New Developer Relations Programme award.

It seemed fitting that a representative of the world’s oldest software company, IBM, should give this award and so Angela Bates of IBM’s London dev rel team presented it to Chloe Condon.

Best developer relations programme overall

Olia Dukova and Don Goodman Wilson

Olia Dukova and Don Goodman Wilson

This was by far the hardest award for which we had to select a winner, not because the eventual winner was any less deserving but because so many have matured into being well executed, thoughtful, and keenly strategic.

After a great deal of discussion, we decided upon a winner that had come from almost nothing in a relatively short period of time and had executed exceedingly well within a larger corporate environment. This company faced tough competition for developer attention in its market, with Twilio its closest neighbour, and yet has built out a diverse and globally recognised team who have made their APIs familiar to developers worldwide. As soon as this company became a contender, Bibi from Nexmo recused herself from the jury.

And, so, Best Developer Relations Programme Overall 2018 went to Nexmo. Community Manager, Olia Dukova, accepted the award from GitHub’s Don Goodman Wilson.

Next year

Plans are already afoot for next year’s awards. We’ll open nominations in the summer ready for the awards ceremony at DevRelCon London 2019!



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