What is Developer Relations (DevRel)?

In the dynamic world of technology, the role of developers extends far beyond just writing code. They are the architects of innovation, creating the tools and platforms that shape our digital lives. But how do companies engage and support these vital contributors? This is where Developer Relations, often abbreviated as DevRel, comes into play.

Developer Relations vs. Public Relations

To understand DeveRel better, it’s helpful to compare it with the more familiar concept of Public Relations (PR). Both fields focus on building relationships and fostering positive perceptions, but they target different audiences and employ distinct strategies.

Aspect Public Relations (PR) Developer Relations (DevRel)
Target Audience General public, media, investors, customers Developers, engineers, technical communities
Primary Goal Shape public perception, manage the company’s reputation Build and nurture relationships with developers, support product use
Strategies Press releases, media outreach, crisis management, brand storytelling, public events Technical support, community building, content creation, advocacy, feedback loops

What is included a DevRel Program?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to DevRel. The specific activities and initiatives will vary depending on your company’s goals and resources. However, some common elements of a successful DevRel program include:

  • Community Building
    • Hackathons & Meetups: Organizing events where developers can come together to learn, network, and collaborate is a key aspect of DevRel. Hackathons, in particular, provide a platform for developers to experiment with new technologies and build innovative solutions.
    • Online Communities: Managing forums, chat groups, and social media channels where developers can ask questions, share knowledge, and support each other is crucial for fostering a sense of community.
  • Content Creation
    • Documentation & Tutorials: Providing clear, comprehensive documentation and learning resources helps developers understand how to use a company’s products effectively. High-quality content can significantly reduce the learning curve and enhance the developer experience.
    • Blog Posts & Videos: Creating engaging content that showcases real-world use cases, best practices, and tips can inspire developers and help them solve problems more efficiently.
  • Evangelism & Advocacy
    • Developer Evangelists: These professionals champion the use of a company’s products and technologies. They speak at conferences, write blog posts, create tutorials, and engage with developers on social media. Their goal is to inspire and educate developers, showcasing the potential of the company’s offerings.
    • Advocates: Similar to evangelists, advocates work closely with the developer community to understand their needs and feedback. They act as a bridge, bringing insights back to the product teams to improve the developer experience.
  • Product Feedback and Improvement
    • Feedback Loops: Gathering feedback from the developer community and conveying it to the product teams helps in refining and improving the products. This iterative process ensures that the products evolve to meet the needs of the users.

Why is DevRel Important?

Effective DevRel can have a profound impact on both the developer community and the company. For developers, it means better support, more relevant resources, and a sense of belonging to a community. For businesses, strong DevRel efforts can lead to:

  • Increased Adoption and Usage of Products: When developers have the resources and support they need, they are more likely to choose and stick with those products, accelerating the adoption of a company’s products.
  • Positive Brand Reputation within Tech Community: When developers feel supported, valued, and heard, they are more likely to become loyal advocates, and this eventually leads to long-term business growth.
  • More Innovative Use Cases: By collaborating with developers, listening to their feedback, and providing opportunities for experimentation, companies can tap into the creative potential of the developer community to bring technological advancements and innovative solutions to market.
  • Enhanced Product Development Process: Feedback from developers is invaluable for product improvement and innovation. Through DevRel efforts, companies can gather insights, suggestions, and critiques from developers, enabling them to enhance their products, address pain points, and deliver solutions that truly meet the needs of the developer community.

How Companies Have Benefitted from Effective Developer Relations

Below are examples of how various companies have successfully leveraged DevRel to achieve their business goals. Effective DevRel strategies can significantly enhance a company’s relationship with the developer community, drive innovation, and accelerate product adoption. Here are some examples of how various companies have successfully leveraged DevRel to achieve their business goals.

A person delivering a speech to an attentive audience at a public event.


Heineken sought to leverage technology to enhance the experience of the Singapore Grand Prix for attendees. They organized a hackathon, provided ongoing support and mentorship, and fostered a collaborative environment. This initiative led to innovative solutions that enhanced attendee engagement and provided Heineken with fresh ideas to improve their event strategy. The hackathon demonstrated how DevRel can bring together diverse talents to create impactful, real-world solutions for event experiences.

Learn more about Heineken’s story here

Tech innovators at a hackathon proudly display their AWS DeepLens rewards, celebrating achievement and collaboration in machine learning development.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Services (AWS) aimed to increase the adoption of its cloud services among developers worldwide. AWS organized global hackathons, provided hands-on workshops and tutorials, and fostered a global community of developers. These efforts resulted in a significant rise in AWS service adoption, with many participants integrating AWS into their projects and businesses. This strategy not only strengthened AWS’s presence in the global developer community but also highlighted the power of DevRel in driving widespread technological adoption.

Learn more about AWS’s story here

These examples demonstrate how targeted Developer Relations initiatives can drive meaningful outcomes for companies by engaging with the developer community and fostering environments where innovation thrives.

Start Growing Your DevRel Efforts

DevRel is a strategic investment for any company looking to succeed in the technology landscape. It’s about more than just providing technical support; it’s about building a community, fostering innovation, and creating lasting relationships between companies and developers. As technology continues to advance, the importance of DevRel will only continue to grow, making it an exciting and essential area within the tech ecosystem.