Episode 132 / 2022.08.29
Andrew Welch, Ryan Irelan
On this episode, we talk with Shawn “swyx” Wang all about developer relations aka devrels, and what their critical role at a tech-based company entails.
Is it just marketing for developers? Are they YouTube creators who like tech? Programmers who like teaching? Super fans who want to get paid to work on the product they already love?
We answer all of these questions, and also delve into the duality of the devrel role, where they benefit the company and also the developers in the community.
Don’t miss this real talk with Shawn about important but often misunderstood role in the tech business!
Andrew: And welcome to devmo fm a podcast dedicated to the tools techniques and technologies used in modern web development I'm Andrew Welch from and ny studio one zero seven I and Ryan is the man that always has his go bag ready to go and.
Ryan Irelan: And I'm Ryan Ireland from craftquest io.
Andrew: We have a special guest on today we have Sean Swix Wang how you doing Sean and you are the head of dev experience at AirbyteHQ is that correct.
Shawn: So doing. Well glad to be back.
Shawn: Yes, the hqueue is just a because you couldn't get the clean airbyte domain. But yes, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andrew: You? Okay, so that's like the dot net of the Twitter world right? when you can't get the thing you actually want you get the? Okay, yeah, but we we have you on because I want to talk about a topic that I find very interesting which is the role of a devre right? So devre if you are out. The night markets in Minagua Nicaragua and you were you shopping around. You're a persons in you know some ah bandanas you buying a a leather wallet that kind of thing and you feel a hand slide into your pocket and you pat your your leg and you notice that your wallet is gone you turn around. And there's a guy standing there with a little knife and your wallet in his hand and he says I'll give you your wallet back if you tell me what a devreil is what would you say to him gotta be quick. Are you gonna get stabbed or he's gonna run off what is it marketing to okay.
Shawn: Marketing for developers.
Ryan Irelan: Ah.
Andrew: Was actually going to ask you that I have at literally as one of my questions a little primer that I have down here is that is dev Re just marketing for developers so you are are you? you know, constructing emails to send to developers is that one of the things that you do, you're literally trying to market to them and.
Shawn: Well, no, that's the thing developers don't like to be marketed to using the traditional techniques so you kind of need a completely different set of skills and. Ah, to be caught on his backgrounds in order to do to be effective in this field so in in a way that's kind of a tongue in cheek thing because there is a place to market to the developers I have worked with plenty of really good marketers who are worth their waving golds doing things I could never possibly do. But there's also a reason why Devreil has arisen which is because ah the bottom-up approach of hiring developers to talk to other developers has been so effective and ah on a personal note I think for anyone who wants to build a career doing content for other people. And potentially for yourself in future I think Devrel is is a really good career to be in.
Andrew: Now when you say marketing to developers. You're you're not talking about personal hygiene products like manscaping or or that type of stuff you're talking about something that your company offers that. You want that developer to then take advantage of right I mean typically a devre role. Well what kind of what kind of company would a dev re be needed in first of all, yeah.
Shawn: But at some point you want to leave some parts of the job to professionals so that you can go on and do other parts of the job which you actually wanted to do So I think ah part of developer relations is getting that message across in ah in a compelling way but leaving people with something ah useful that they can take with them whether or not they choose your tool. Um, which is something I do like to to do a lot of which is whether or not you pick my tool you pick a competitor tool doesn't matter you listen to anything I say read anything I write. You'll come away with a deeper appreciation of the problem because solutions come and go but problems were made.
Andrew: Now I've heard the term developer relations or Devrel I also hear developer advocate and back in the day I used to hear developer liaison are these all really just. Different words for the same roles. Are they all very similar are there subtle differences between these things. Differences.
Shawn: There's nominally subtle differences but in practice I feel like they're probably the same and it's very much a fatty type of Hype -driven cycle of words. I would say probably developer liaison or developer developer evangelists was the kind of first generation of this movement guy kowasaki chief evangelist of apple what a title? Um, he would not be focused on developers as much so I wouldn't consider him a developer advocate I was considered much a general technology advocate.
Andrew: Right? Guy Kawasaki
Andrew: He he was though like I actually in a former life I actually liaisoned with guy Kawasaki a long long time ago and and initially he was kind of doing that. Yeah, so.
Shawn: Um, he was he okay.
Shawn: So I've never seen this work. So I you know I know of him I don't I've never interacted with him so that that would be and useful. But yeah, okay.
Andrew: Okay, so these are all they're all kind of terms for the same thing I feel like this could be personal bias I feel like people using I feel like people like using the term developer advocate because they like saying developer avocado and they like putting the little avocado emoji. Um, their profile and.
Shawn: Yeah, I'm not such a fan of that. Um, so that movement was started by Sarahera Um, and it's a cutesy name for for for a job. Um, but I I think there's a large contingent of people who are not fans of infantilizing Tech. Ah. Um, making it childish or whatever like this is a serious job that people do and and like and um I think a lot of Devreil is very insular very Naveval gazy very much oh look at how awesome I am and look at me and my buddies traveling around conferences. And it feels very out of touch compared to the developers that you're supposed to relate to who do not have that kind of life and do not have that luxury of ah printing little stickers and passing them around and that is a job somehow. So yeah, oh my god.
Andrew: Oh my god I mean so I I oh god yeah oh there is it's it's amazing. So I have 2 minds on that and you're you're striking a chord with me because I do see people that are kind of professional conference speakers and.
Ryan Irelan: I didn't I didn't realize that there's a ah subculture around that already. Um, yeah, yeah.
Shawn: Yeah, it's.
Andrew: A lot of the time they are people that are good presenters and they have a you know solid presentation lined up but they're never someone that I would hire to do the thing. You know what I mean they're they're good communicators and that's not to downplay what they do because I also know lots of programmers that are terrible communicators and I would.
Andrew: Never have them speak anywhere on the other side of the coin I look at it from the perspective that you know they got to promote themselves. They got to do whatever it takes to bolster themselves up to promote themselves to give themselves a bigger audience so that some company might decide to come in and hire them on. So.
Shawn: Um, yeah for sure.
Ryan Irelan: Um, that seems very influencer like you know, ah rather than rather than the like the nuts and bolts of of effectively communicating the advantages of a technology or a stack or a tool. Um.
Andrew: It is. It's tech influencer. Yeah, so.
Andrew: But it sounds like Sean you're saying that you would be adverse to switching your job title to tech influencer and and putting a couple of avocado emojis and stuff like that on your profile. You would be adverse to that.
Shawn: Yeah, that I would never do that I never caught there doing that. Um, um, yeah, it's funny. Yeah good. Oh um, well I will just say I think.
Ryan Irelan: So Sean what would be go ahead. Go ahead and finish.
Andrew: So let no let them go Sean go go sea.
Shawn: So ah, ah, let me lay out a few ground ground rules or ground things. Um, it's possible to be an influencer without being an advocate. It's just that Ah, the advocate life is and normally suited for influencers. It's very tempting if you're already doing something on the side to do something full-time and.
Shawn: Ah, and get ah essentially carte blanche to just do whatever you feel like doing and that is pretty much the state of developer relations in most companies today and it's a powerful heady job. It's also not real not a real job It's not a real career it's kind of a bullshit job. Um. We'rere you know and and this is coming from someone in it I've been doing this for 5 years and um, ah so we're trying to make it more of a job. You know we're trying to create career ladder is career progression. Ah so we we have a seat at the table and that's partially the evolution of developer developer eventualism to developer relations to developer. Experience and I can talk ah a bit more about that. Um, but yeah I mean's we're still figuring it out. It's very early days. Ah the core baseline value proposition is marketing. There's some people who do it better than others you know is it a necessary thing that you you must either be good at coding or good at speaking. There are definitely people who are good at both. Very few of them in the worlds. So everyone wants them. Ah and you know sometimes you leave take a leap with faith and it doesn't work out. It's a very messy field and I don't judge anyone for for trying. So um, I'll just say that that is the state of things which is is very new field and um, um, we're we're trying to concentratrationion is hard in any format.
Andrew: You yep.
Shawn: And contention for developers when you have to a number of things that you have to keep up with anyway is is also really hard a niche.
Ryan Irelan: So You mentioned content creation I was I was going to ask what are your vehicles you have for communicating with developers in in developer relations. Um, like I know in like marketing like traditional marketing right? They they have the levers that they can pull with like email and and text messaging and all the different. Um, you know messaging platforms and styles. What's what are the the levers that that devrail pulls to to connect to developers in a way that speaks to to them and what they need.
Shawn: Yeah, sure. Um I think you can think about it in 2 big um pockets which is essentially owned channels and borrowed channels like the channels that you borrow from other people including conference speaking including. Twitter including Youtube and then own channels that you own are like your blog your newsletter and that kind of stuff and you do have to have some kind of balance between borrowed channels which is where more people are likely to be and own channels which is where you sort of control your own destiny and have more. And speak to a ah more engaged audience which are more likely to actually pay you money? um another which is another fun fact by the way most developer advocates have never paid for their own company product. So they have no empathy whatsoever for the paying customer experience because they know all you do is sell the free tier all the time. Ah. That that may actually be doing disservice to the the employer company but that's a separate conversation. Um, so yeah I mean I think ah you know those are in my mind the 2 categories um the job used to involve a lot of travel but people would typically be proud of saying things like I went to 37 countries in in a year that is. Very much fallen out of favor partially because of covid partially because of environmental concerns. Um, the way that I think makes sense for me now is is something I quote a lot from Lee Robinson who' is who's in my job at vercell he calls it developer developer relations is now hyperlocal or hyperglobal. So you only do.
Shawn: Um, online meetups and you try to make them as big and scalable as possible or you do in-person Meetups Um, and you try to make them very intimate and high high touch. Um, and that makes a lot of sense to me.
Andrew: You? Well the other thing about going to 37 countries in a year is that to someone from the outside that may sound amazing. Oh my god you get to see the world. It actually sucks man you spend so much time just in airports and.
Ryan Irelan: Yeah, yeah.
Shawn: Um, it sucks. Yeah yeah.
Andrew: Buses and waiting and hotel rooms like that. That's not a fun life to be honest with you at least I don't think so yeah.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah, and you think you can expense a bunch of stuff which you can but also it actually has a financial personal burden because the the stuff that you don't expense you actually end up spending more of because you don't have your regular stuff with you in your house. So yeah I I tried going nomad for about four months while I was at netlify because just bouncing from conference to conference and ultimately I just decided it wasn't for me I don't think it's for most people.
Andrew: And well it's brutal and I know people both in the tech field and in other fields that they they travel for a living and I actually have a good friend of mine that said I used he said I used to like people until I started traveling for a living and now he's just he's a grumpy old man like he just get out of my way because you know.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah, okay.
Andrew: He's always hustling from 1 place to another? Um, but right I got a scenario for you. You you've spoken with me a few times you know I can put a couple sentences together. You want to hire me to be a devre at airbye. What the hell am I actually going to be doing like ah what would my day to day job. Consist of producing or doing what would I do start doing.
Shawn: Yeah, um, it is going to vary for different companies. So for airbyte, it's focused on data engineers and it has a mix of people who are very in let's say high code versus low code right? Um, some. Startups are very much focused on developers. Um, and they want people who can code a lot and some other startups are very much conceptual explainers because essentially their whole value proposition of their product is that we remove a lot of coding requirements from from you. Um, so. everybody' like that. Ah there's the primary interface that you're going to interact with is a ui you can configure stuff through yammo files. But most people are just going to configure it through a ui so really is about selling the conceptual kind reasons why you might need it. Um, and. Plugging in with the rest of the tooling in in the ecosystem. Um, so the day-to-day for the people that work on our team is planning content. Um, you know, drafting content and then getting in out there um being embedded within the specific communities that they're assigned to slash. Picked so there. Ah, for example, the the large community in in data engineering is Dbt. You may or may not be familiar with them. Um, so I have a person assigned to just watch the dbt slack and report on that interact with them engage with them. Um I have I'm the person primarily responsible for the air by Twitter.
Shawn: Another person is responsible for the Airbyte Linkedin um and we just kind of Divvy things up in that way. Try to create content as relevant and keeps us in mind when people are making technology choices. Let's keeps people informed of new features and new product launches and then creates examples and. Tutorials with other tools in our ecosystem. So we show that we can play well together does that give ah a rough image I mean I could give you like a rough like percentage thing but I don't think it really matters.
Andrew: Right? Well I think one of the things that you said it that is key is that it probably depends on the company right? So for one company your primary job as a Dev Reil might be making Youtube videos right? And for that you know you might want to hire someone that.
Andrew: Looks attractive on screen is a good communicator and knows enough about the product to convey what you need to convey because you're producing a nice should be aesthetically and presentationally good video on the other hand if your devrail role is more involved in writing code samples that. Need to show how to integrate with ah particular services that you offer or whatever you don't care but a person can be an ugly mug like me and they can be writing that and doing their devre stuff all day right.
Shawn: What a.
Shawn: Yeah I think you want to adapt the playbook to the company. So I'll give you more dimensions right? is the company selling selling an open source product because if you are then you have essentially 2 audiences one the open source users and then to the paid version. Whatever the paid version is um. And then are you selling to sort of top-down sort of cto types or are you selling bottom up to individual developers. Um, and and ah you know how you're focusing between those? Um, so yeah for for what it's worth ah at airbyte. We also think about. Ah, a mix between seo versus thought leading content or or viral content. Whatever that is there. There's a distinction in marketing circles around content that you find only when you're searching for stuff like how do I x or x versus y you find our stuff you read about us and you adopt us.
Shawn: And then there's other stuff where you weren't really searching for it but it just gives you such insight into your job that you find it useful it spread through word of mouth. Um, and so that is a very different mode of of concentration than I'm used to I have never done any thing with Seo in mind. Only focused on the sort of insights and thought leading or whatever you call it? Um, and I think seo is kind of an underrated skill among developers because we don't like to think of ourselves as as normies in any any shape or form right? We won't do everything different right? We're we're better than. Than the non technicalnical people right? because we're technical so why would we do anything the same ah is obviously not true, but ah, you know I think there's there's ah, there's a certain art that is to be found in just serving the needs of Google very well.
Ryan Irelan: But do you work in in a silo though or are you plugged into like the traditional marketing team in terms of like just make sure you're all aiming at the same place.
Andrew: I Why I mean.
Shawn: Um, right now I run a parallel org to the marketing team. So we have weekly syncs and stuff but we decide what we do and they decide what they do and we don't really talk on on on that and I think mostly that's just a question of. Just have the resources to try a bunch of things and whatever works works. You know we don't actually have to coordinate that tightly. So why you know we don't we're not forcing. It.
Ryan Irelan: Right.
Andrew: And to your point about it being marketing. There are very different kinds of marketing too right? So if you're talking about marketing for people that are searching for a particular tool that does a particular thing. That's 1 thing a blog post with very targeted keywords that's going to make sense if you want to do marketing just to kind of make. I don't know like netlify seem like a cool place where all the cool developers are then you want to produce like a goofy video that you know has maybe has jokes or has someone leading the ideal lifestyle that every developer wants to lead and that would be sort of ah a branding devil marketing kind of thing right.
Shawn: That branding play. Yeah exactly I don't know if you know, but now if I actually produced that exact video I think it's called the 2 worlds video um to me its ah so the the people that did that really well were workflow. Um.
Andrew: I That's hilarious, but it makes sense to me makes total sense to me. But.
Andrew: There you go.
Shawn: Where they don't even show you webflow, but they show you what your life is with webflow and it's meant to be funny. It's meant to be engaging in highly produced. Um, and yeah I mean hey like these things work for traditional ah product companies. You know if they're selling you I don't know like baby wipes or a car or whatever like why should not.
Andrew: So Nike Nike is a perfect example Nike in all of their ads. They don't tell you about their shoes or how the soles are awesome or how how they're cushioned. They sell the lifestyle. Yeah.
Shawn: Nike exactly.
Shawn: Right? right? So so it's that is the ah common topic ah conversation and debate how much of that path should we adopt because developers are aware that of of all that at the same time like.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Shawn: You need to tell me how to do my job right? like you need to tell me like what what it is you do here because like we've all seen way too many websites and marketing landing pages that have all these buzzword they're like you're so much more productive. You're so much happier and you have no idea what they do and so we need to.
Shawn: Thread that needle or just prove or Technicalac chops and then leave with the rest of that the other stuff so I have a thread on this on you know, basically everything you learn in traditional marketing. You have to invert in developer marketing and ah my personal pride is the C of Github actually said internally within github. That he agreed with it so that that got back to me and I was I was very happy with that I know.
Andrew: Nice gold star for you. Sir um, so we've been talking about devol from the point of view of it being marketing and I understand fully that in many capacities probably the devre role really is you know it's either undermarketing or it's. Seen as marketing and in 1 form or another but I want to talk about and obviously marketing has value to the company that you work for right because you're going to be getting developers on board and it sounds like any tech company that has some kind of an ecosystem could benefit from having some form of devre. But I want to talk about whether there are other aspects of devreil that would benefit the company. So for instance, would it be considered the purview of a devrel or a developer advocate to be in touch with the people that are using the product and to be able to bring the feedback. From the developers that are using the product to the company to help the company then make a better product and.
Shawn: Ah yes is traditionally considered a purview. No, it's not very well done. Normally so here's where I talk about the the evolution from developer evangelism to developer relations developer experience. Developer evangelism is me going out there and spreading a good word right? So one to many. Ah, developer relations is more of a 2 wo-way street I so we'll go out there I'm in front of developers all day I should probably bring some of those insights and complaints back to my company. Um, and then finally developer experience is more holistic ah look at the developer journey through the product. Um, because. If you only if the only thing you can do is write blog posts. You can't really affect the core of the products and improve it in some concrete fashion. The reason I say developer relations being a 2 wo-way. Street is mostly a lie is because that street is 99% 1 way and 1% the other way because what are you doing? really You're going to all these conferences you're talking to all these developers and then you're saying oh man, there's like 200 different complaints I've collected from all these users I'm going to come back to the engineering team and go like guys you need stop everything you're doing work on my my complaints that I've collected for my users. Ah. How do you think their engineering team will feel about that. Ah.
Andrew: Well, we we know the way engineering teams work. They're not going to love it. But if you're working on a technical product. Whatever that technical product is that the end consumer of it is going to be a developer in 1 form or another and how else are you going to be in touch with. Faults of your product or the market opportunities for your product or you know every ah company has some kind of a roadmap of things that they want to work on. How do you? then? prioritize those if you don't have some kind of feedback from the people that are actually buying and using your product.
Andrew: Unless you use that feedback to inform Not what is on the roadmap necessarily although it could be that but also the order in which things are done on the roadmap. In other words, if it's just marketers that are coming up with the oh we need Feature X and they're completely out of touch with developers and what they actually need or want.
Andrew: Ah, probably is going to be bad overall for that company right.
Shawn: Yeah, this so this is where I get into the whole conversation about what devrail really is because I just said marketing is marketing for developers. But that's just the original historical origins. Um, but I have a blog post on measuring devrell and a friend of mine hasan from vercell has also written. What is devl.com um and he talks and and you know we we basically talk about 3 roles of devrail one is marketing and content creation. The second is product management and third is community. Um, and so here is where devre becomes shadow pms where you're like kind of a backup pm force or you're you. Ah, you're a sort of auxiliary pm force to the to regular pms because the pms should be the ones prioritizing these things talking to users. Um and then prioritizing in them from the engineering team. Um, the fact that they don't do as much ah outreach or or haven't have have isn't enough. Contact with users as ah as part of their job compared to devrail is a very tricky thing to navigate because by nature like we're out there every single day talking to people we're we're more visible. Of course we're going to talk to more people but at the same time we have the least power to actually do anything about it right? That actually has the feedback to product.
Andrew: Well ugly. Okay I mean yes, so yes, the pm role is supposed to be doing that I've worked with lots of Pms in my day. It's usually not part of what they're doing. They're usually so busy prioritizing things.
Andrew: Dealing with the ah the needs and wants of the executive team and stakeholders managing ah not necessarily managing the developers directly but sort of managing the development of that ah product that I don't know I'm not going to say that Pms are out of touch because that's that's unfair.
Andrew: But they certainly aren't as in touch as a devrell would be who is out there talking to people that actually use their stuff every day.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah, look. It's a balance right? like making anything if you ask people a bunch of times what they want they would just tell you that they want a faster horse the Pm kind of represents the internal vision that where we actually want to go right? So you have to balance the external pressures in the internal vision and make something out of that. The only thing I'll say to you is. There's all these very high intentions. A very noble intentions of like we're a team here. Um, you guys as devrells you should be feeding insights back to us. But it only takes a few quarters of your suggestions getting ignored for you to completely stop doing that. Ah.
Andrew: Yeah, Well I mean to some extent I Think that's unfortunate because you do need to have some kind of input from the developers that are using your product to help shape it and if it's the Pm that's doing it then that's Fine. You know as long as they are actively out there doing it. I Do think that the Devreil role it sounds like is perfectly positioned to at least have some kind of a seat at the table to help guide that and it feels to me like that would be a huge benefit to the company if they are if they're livelihood. Okay.
Andrew: Is based on developers adopting this thing if you are able to convey to the company here are the reasons why people are not adopting it or here are the reasons why people are thinking about dching it for something else that seems super valuable to me and.
Shawn: That is valuable and I think it should be shared so the only thing I will I will offer to you is yes I think everyone agrees that that is the ideal way that these stuff should be run. Ah the 2 things that are broken here. 1 is the formal authority right in the reporting structures. Ah, if. If you're not in a product Org you're not going to get listen to as much as if you're in the product or but I was I've been at Aws I've been a developeracious in the product Org and I still have been ignored. Um, and ah the second thing is okay, ours annual reviews. What are you going to measure people on. So if you. Tell people a bunch of things like oh you should you should be involved in this and that and this and that and then come annual review. You don't care about any of that. That's a problem because you just told me that I should care about this I just went and did a bunch of work and then at the end of the year when when ah and push comes to shove.
Andrew: Yeah, so.
Shawn: Every single line of conversation is how many views did you get on your blog posts. How many people attended your webinars then you know if you basically what I call this is sort of duck typing for jobs like if you measure people like a duck then they are a duck.
Andrew: Yeah, well the problem is.
Shawn: If you measure people like marketing they are marketing right? What is your metrics for how much of an impact did you have in products I don't know.
Andrew: Yeah I mean essentially you're you're counting how much food people are eating but you're getting no input on whether they liked it or not or where they had you know irritable Bowel syndrome afterwards right? I mean you need to actually go that extra mile and see not only how many people ate this but what did they like and what did they not like you.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah, so ah.
Andrew: But sounds like you you perfectly encapsulated a very Japanese concept of Hona and to tame and so hone is is kind of what is really going on like a person's true feelings or what really is going on and tatame is what you tell people is going on.
Shawn: Um, what is it? Yeah, ah.
Shawn: Um, yes.
Andrew: And it sounds like you're kind of representing that in terms of yeah, we're supposed to be doing this but the reality is that's not what ends up happening a lot of the times. So.
Shawn: Yeah I'm a fan of real talk just because life is short and I have increasingly less patience for Bs and part of what I love about you is that you know you guys is is you know you you have a sense of real talk that I feel like I'm safe to express more of it here. Um.
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Shawn: But yeah I think it's It's especially important particularly when people spin for a living and they are not very truthful about what they actually do at work and I really don't like that So part part of me just doesn't care anymore like ah why I why I think by.
Shawn: Words and writing and messages have resonated so much in Devra is because I've just straight up chosen to not care that much about it like I'm not making this my lifelong thing. It's my job. Yes, right now, but it's a means to an end for me. That's okay and like that's ah that's also point out how ridiculous and funny. It is while we're doing it.
Andrew: I I mean I completely agree because I see some stuff out there and you know a lot of the stuff that you'll see like on tech Twitter you just have to think of it as the equivalent of Instagram pictures that they've been retouched. They've been photoshopped. They've been. You know the camera is up here. They got just the right angle. You see people that if they're tweeting about you know this shiny object over here and then the next week. It's this other shiny object There's just no way like nobody is actually doing that. It's just it's absolute nonsense. Yeah I totally agree. Well so I go ahead? yes.
Shawn: Ah, so fake. Yeah.
Shawn: Yeah, well, um, you know I don't want to put down like everyone's trying like no one knows what works you know everyone trying what? Ah what they think works and so if you bet I bet if you asked all these people who you think are fake whether or not they are. Really like that in real life where where they strong believe like I'm sure they have their own reservations and a lot of content creation is pushing past your reservations and just trying stuff Anyway, right? So you know I I tend to reserve judgment of like there's a separation between what what someone puts out and what they actually truly believe and um, you just have to get to know them and and sort of take the.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Shawn: Facts presented on the on the merits and try to see if like that is helpful to you or not and if it's not helpful. You can move on and you to block them whatever. But if it is if it is helpful then it is helpful in that in in in some sense and that is valuable. So um, yeah.
Andrew: And I'm not saying it's entirely fake because that same person with that Instagram picture in just the right light they they really probably do look like that. Well maybe with a a filter or 2 added all I mean is that. They're not going to be experts at this particular thing if they're just jumping from thing to thing and it's you know there's still value if they're what they're providing is hey this cool thing is out there. Check this out. You know what? I mean but you don't become an expert in any kind of development tool in a week or two like it just it doesn't work like that. There's just no way.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andrew: You know? Um, well we we talked about the value of a devre to the company. Um I'm sorry Ryan did you want to chime in I can edit this out. Okay, so we talked about the value of a devrell to the company and at least from my point of view. Hopefully.
Shawn: That's true.
Andrew: In addition to the marketing and getting people on Board. It is also helping to shape the product and into something that the developers want am I being Naive or are there benefits that the devrail has to the developer in terms of maybe it can help make them a better developer or what benefits would. The devre role potentially convey to the people that you are dev relling to.
Shawn: Oh there's so there's 2 questions right? 1 is um to the audience or 1 is to the individual that's doing a job. It sounds like you are you're focused on the audience. Um, so look There's a shortage of people making good how to content technical content. And the market is are not going to do it because none none of them are technical so anyone with like the helpful blog post that that gets you past that thing. They've been struggling with for three days that's that's great right and and sometimes you have to pay pay for them to do it sometimes they do it because it's their job and definitely that is currently the the job of. Devre and and technical writing. Um, so I think that's there's a benefit from that from people getting plentiful examples and demos and and tutorials and and all that I think I think that's super useful and can never have enough on those basically like um, you know there there may be 1 too many. You know how to set up react apps from scratch tutorials but everything else there's so there's such a death of like you know what? we'll call 2 2 ah 1 content you know in sort of the american university grading like 2 is the introductory stuff. 2 1 ne's intermediate 3 1 you know four 1 it's increasingly advanced stuff. The further out you go like the the less content there is just to help you along and so in in the in the desert you can of really beg. Ah what what is it ah beggars can't really be picky choosers I forget that what this the saying is um, yeah so so yeah I mean ah.
Andrew: So at Beggars can't be choosers. Yeah.
Shawn: People writing that stuff is incentivized to guide you down the the path of success to to get something up and running. Um I think there's always going to be demand for that. As far as the people doing a job goes. Um I think devre is an ideal mid-career job. Um. And so I say I say and why why say make career. Um I don't think you should be your first job because you need some empathy for having been a developer in order to relate to other developers is your if your job is literally called developer relations and you've never been a full-time developer. How honestly and realistically can you do it.
Andrew: So I've seen it though I've seen people that that's what they've done.
Shawn: Yes, you can see it. Yeah yeah, and and and and I will be honest, um I haven't been a developer I wasn't a software engineer for 1 year before I became into different software ah developer relations right? So like how useful is that year. There's ah, there's a sort of decay value in that year anyway.
Andrew: You? Well, that's sort of true. You're underselling yourself though because my understanding is anyway that your former job in ah, finance you were doing some programming just to make that happen. So you you know you you got some background.
Shawn: So who who really cares.
Shawn: Finan. Yeah, yeah, yes I do have some back on is my my journey is weird but I'm just saying like yeah that there are definitely people who right out the college straight into Derell and. Their their job is concentratsecion for for a job that they have for an audience whose job. They've never done and so sometimes that's okay, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Andrew: I've seen people go I've seen people go from flight attendant to writing tech blog posts to being a developer advocate at companies like literally I have seen exactly that you know.
Shawn: Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I honestly I think if you work really hard at it and you have good empathy that is fine that is that works as well. I will I will point out so ah, we actually do a regular Friday Twitter space I'm actually going to do 1 right after this on. Ah, just like dere topics and we had one yesterday with last week with common room common room is one of these like new community startups and they did a devreil compensation survey and 1 of the most interesting questions that they had was did you have prior software engineering experience and between those who did and those who had not the the compensation. Difference was about 50 grand a year. So there is in the job market. There is some valuation on prior experience as as a software engineer I think partially honestly because of batina the best alternative to a negotiated agreement because if you didn't get the job as developer relations then you would just go back to being a software engineer so you do you do have a. Like a baseline alternative to go back to right? not at all I don't know. Yeah.
Andrew: And I yeah and I want to be clear I'm not crapping on people that are going from 1 career to another I mean my you know my formal education is in photojournalism you know and I've been a developer for forever. So I'm not crapping on people that have done that but it's sort of more to your point of people that sometimes are not.
Ryan Irelan: But for people.
Andrew: Entirely forthcoming about what their experience is and also depending on the role that they have in devre. It may not really matter that they have an extensive programming background if they're just supposed to be producing videos. You know to promote the thing.
Shawn: Exactly if the cold runs.
Ryan Irelan: But it but wouldn't it wouldn't it limit Sean you had mentioned sort of like the different tiers of of education material like it's it's a bit of a deserted island once you get into the more like the more depth and technical stuff.
Ryan Irelan: My experience in doing training and writing courses and and all of that is that the more the deeper you go the smaller your audience is so there's there's a ah, there's an ah roi sort of like question that you have to answer. Um I know it but it just depends on on you know what? you're doing.
Shawn: Smaller the audience exactly. Yes, absolutely.
Ryan Irelan: But wouldn't someone and coming in with not a lot of experience or not any coding experience or had to work at a developer there are They're automatically limited to the to the type of material that they can create or how they can communicate to developers then like it seems like there's ah, an automatic ceiling there.
Shawn: Ah, ah look.. It's not a hard ceiling. It's ah it's ah it's a breakable ceiling. There is a ceiling though I've seen it I have people on my team right now that I'm trying to get past that ceiling as as we speak? Um, So yes, there is there is that ceiling. Um and it's I will say actually honestly the the ceiling is more of a self limitation. It's not like I don't actually I'm not going to look at your cv before I look at your video I'm just going to look at your video and I'll figure out whether I like it or not you know, but your experience because it's limited it just means that your ideas are limited and it's just not as interesting because probably anything you can think of I've already. I can already find out for myself or like it's just like it's not interesting to me, you have to have like done the job for a while to really figure out the things that everyone runs into and figure out solutions for that and and then then you really come from a death of like yeah I've dealt with this before. So Some people can get there without the experience right? Sometimes some people are just that brilliant. And they have that much empathy or they they talk to enough people that they can intuit that and put passion together. That's that's Fine. You just have to kind of work out work to make it up. So um, yeah I Definitely think that there is there's a ceiling. It's kind of a permeable ceiling for sure. Um, and yet well the other thing the other thing I'll point Out. Um.
Andrew: And technology good.
Shawn: Which is totally true if you're a youtuber if you're ah if the only thing you care about is numbers then the rest of your life. You're doing 1 to 1 level content hello to hello world in 10 different languages. There's a guy on on Youtube fireship. That's his life right now he only does hello world and he has got one point five million subscribers and I bet.
Andrew: Yep I.
Shawn: It's not actually that fulfilling.
Ryan Irelan: But on for every for every library and platform out there right? like it hit. Yeah.
Andrew: I'm I'm sure it's not.
Shawn: Yeah, like you know after a while I like who really cares somebody does somebody does? Yes, yeah yeah.
Andrew: Well somebody somebody somewhere does yeah and to your point about it being a soft ceiling technology is so fast moving that I think it really is more about learning because.
Ryan Irelan: Somebody does. That's that's that is one a one and that needs that like that kickstart for sure. Yeah, it's true.
Andrew: No matter how experienced of a programmer you are yes it will help you pick certain things up quicker but you're always going to have to be spending time learning the new thing you know, learning whatever New Api is coming out, etc etc. But right.
Shawn: Um, yes.
Ryan Irelan: Is that something that you look for Sean in people that you work with which is just um, how mature they are as a learner and their capability of learning and and just gathering information or that's sort of like 80% of what I do is figuring out what I don't know and then finding the. So best way to learn that.
Shawn: Look I appreciate it in people. But it's very hard to get in an interview. Ah so so you just kind of have to observe it over time and you know I hope you look out I will say something I do look for is what I call the content grind.
Ryan Irelan: Right? That makes sense. Yeah.
Shawn: Um, you know what others might call grit which is as a professional content creator. It's not the same as doing it on the side you have to be able to pitch ideas passionately work on it really hard and then have it fall flat and then pick yourself up the next day and carry on.
Andrew: So in a former life. Maybe you would have to have the mentality that you could work on an assembly line right? and be okay with that.
Shawn: It's It's a little bit of an assembly line for sure I am full of ideas on how to make it not an assembly line and would really like to make it is I am a believer that we are kind of like you know I don't know if you know the lion versus Zebra Analogy where we we hunt. Ah, when when when the time is right when the mood is right when the environment is right? and then we rest when we're just not feeling it. Ah where Zebras Graze all day and at a constant rate. Um, and so we're definitely much more lion than Zebras at the same time we you know we're being paid to do a job and we have to try to create on a consistent level. And so the the balance for professional creatives which is what we are is that we have to be on the clock and and and try to try to perform on some regular basis that the business can actually depend On. Um that is what we sign up to do and that's why we? That's why we get the the money that we make um and I think. That is ah a challenge for anyone to to come through and so something I Really like to see in a in a resume is evidence of people understanding and creating even with some even even when it doesn't do super well and getting past it. Um, because then I'll know they'll they'll really stick it through.
Andrew: I well let me tell you not only am I a lion but I'm a male lion. So I just lay there in the sun and let all the lionesses do all the work. Okay I mean you know that's just the way it goes but I wanted to mention something regarding what you said Ryan which is that the in-depth topics they get fewer hits.
Shawn: Through anything even the even the bad times.
Andrew: And as much as we are so proud of the knowledge that we have gained by going deep in a particular topic. We have to understand that that is probably going to be valuable to fewer and fewer people the the deeper and that knowledge is and if someone's role.
Shawn: Um, yeah.
Andrew: Is more to produce that kind of surface level content that reaches the widest number of people so they never have to go that deep because it would actually be a bad thing in terms of reaching fewer people. Potentially.
Shawn: Yeah I will say you know if that fulfills you then more power to you. You should be an intimate independent creator because that is the ultimate setup for you. But what I will say is if if you're incentivized towards going deep and fully understanding something and shipping. You know, full apps that that people use on a day-to-day basis that kind of stuff. Um, being working at a company instead of working on your own as an individual creator fully aligns you because the people who go deep are the people who pay you money and people who are shallow only watch free stuff on Youtube.
Andrew: Yeah, okay that that makes sense and that's something that Ryan and I were kind of joking about in the back channel while you were talking about some stuff Ryan is like ah are we unintentionally freelance developer advocates because you know I produce content in terms of.
Andrew: Podcasts and blogs and sometimes videos and Ryan at least Ryan's smart at least Ryan has people paying him for his content. He's producing it but it still sort of seems like you know his role is ah very specific in terms of producing content for krafcms.
Shawn: Gets paid. Ah.
Andrew: And it almost seems like kind of what he's doing is sort of a Devreil role in a way in terms of helping people to to learn the product and use the product. So.
Ryan Irelan: I Mean my my scary little secret is or fear is that a lot of the the space that I have for that business is because there isn't actual like serious effort on devrail on that before that platform.
Ryan Irelan: Right is like that's what gives me the space there to do that? yeah.
Shawn: Which is nice. It's ah it's symbiotic and in that sense to be honest, craft as well when you do well and and I think that that's the way they they prefer to have it same thing in laravell right? Um I think ah so I would consider consider you a professional content creator. Rather than developer relations. He's shaking your head. Ah oh ah, talking to Ryan because that's his business.
Ryan Irelan: I Think he's argued about the professional part.
Andrew: Number 1 not professional number 2 Although I do produce content I definitely don't see it oh well okay well I'm still going to say I'm still going to say the same thing. Not professional anyway, continue.
Ryan Irelan: Ah, he everything's about him.
Shawn: Anyway, so like developer relations. There's a lot of stuff that you don't see behind the scenes that is not focused in content creation right? like I like so I told you about um you know dere involving product feedback and how that is misaligned in some way and we haven't forget that out yet. But there's also community building right? like ah.
Shawn: Um, ah doing doing a bit of support sometimes you know and and organizing meetups that kind of stuff. It's not in the typical content creator wheelhouse. We're just content creator adjacent like we're part-time content creators or maybe we're like 60% 70% content creators. But we're not 100% content creators and the other thing um that we do a lot like you know. Part of the thing that sometimes like what we do the the value that we provide the most in terms of devre is launch ah like product launch support. Um, whether when or not, it's like feedback or like drafting the the blog post to to announce the products two days ago mike 1 of ah our users of our products had a security breach that was not really our fault but it was an it was an opportunity to educate people about the security dimensions implications of using our products and like you know what? you should do to lock down your permissions that kind of stuff. Um and I worked on that as well and I was very proud of that. Ah. But it's never going to be. You know a thing that that everyone knows me for but that's part of like what you know, professional developer relations would do that might be different from constant creation.
Andrew: I know what I'm curious about is how you get into Dev Re to begin with because as far as I know maybe somewhere in some college there are devrell majors but I don't I don't think that there are I mean are you are they youtubers that happen to like tech that decide to do it. Are they. Programmers that hate programming are they educators that like tech or or are they quote unquote superfans that love the product already and and are already kind of advocating it and so it's a natural role for them to fill like how does the typical devrell fall into that role. If. It's not a mature industry.
Shawn: Yeah I'll say a mix of everything you just said. So we have 2 people who started as youtubers and and and we hired them as developer relations with other people who are engineers who liked writing on a site and now and now we hired them to do that 75% of the time. Um, for myself. Um, you know, ah the way that I got into darrell was by kind of by accident like I was blogging and writing about nelify even before I considered myself qualified to work for them and they they reached out because I was talking about them publicly and so I think it's a good tactic to convert your. Biggest fans into your developer advocates because then um, you know they have some level of authenticness when they when they tell their stories. Um I do try to now that I've done it I do try to advocate for people who've paid for your products before to do the job because it's.
Shawn: All Well, nice and good to talk about something that's free people can talk about free shit all day and and um it doesn't really have any skin in the game with regards to having to advocate for it at work with competitive quotes from other from other solutions including building your own and still coming out and saying and selling other people. On it. Um, when there's skin in the game when you were not just you know writing free tweets ah about it or or doing a meetup talk about it. Um, so I do I Do think there's a multiple avenues into this job and yeah I mean I think it's ah, there's There's lots of path and I hope people try it out when when you feel ready. Um, and and with the full awareness that that it is not a fully fledged out career path. Okay.
Andrew: So all right? So real talk sean real talk. The guy's still got his knife. He's still holding your wallet and he says Sean tell me the truth did you write all of those blog posts about netlify trying to get a job at Netlify.
Shawn: No I didn't think myself qualified. Ah.
Andrew: I friend for anyone who's listening I'm very good at reading faces that was a genuine response. There was a genuine but do you think that's a tactic because I and I and to be clear I wasn't accusing you of doing that I was just kind of joking around. But I definitely have seen people that I think they are doing that you know I think they.
Shawn: Um, yeah, yes.
Andrew: They may not be. It may not be a product that they use every day or maybe they use it but they really want a job at this particular place. So they just start blogging about it or doing videos about it is that a thing that you see.
Shawn: Ah, yes, absolutely. And in fact I encourage people to do that. Um, if you authentically like a thing then yeah, best way to audition for the job is to do the job already and if they like your work they'll they'll notice for sure and they will do reach out. Um I actually often think like.
Andrew: It's yeah, it's not a bad thing I don't think I'm not seeing it. Yeah.
Shawn: As a career growth tactic or even if you just want to practice communication skills. It's just a really good idea to do devrell for other people who are completely not interested in it because all you have to do is find good ideas that are not well distributed and tell everyone else about it like what you see in this thing. That everyone else is not seeing and that's kind of authentic enthusiasm. Um I can't get enough of I mean it just always works.
Andrew: So I Want to tell you a parenthetical story and I'm not saying I condone this but I've seen this first of all I knew I was friends with some girls in college that they had boyfriends but they would still get all decked out when they would go out to the club and they would talk about it on purpose they wanted to see like how many guys they could get. Come up to them right? just for Fun. You know they're just having fun with it in a similar way I know somebody a I'm not going to mention any names but he's told me that he has specifically done some content for various platforms just to see how many job offers would come In. He wasn't actually necessarily interested in them.
Shawn: Yeah, I'm not a fan in that I I mean look if it strokes your ego. That's great, but you're taking up with a lot of space you taking a lot of time from other people. Yeah I don't support that at all.
Andrew: I think it's kind of terrible but kind of interesting. Yeah so yeahp and that's what it's about in both cases. It's about ego right? I mean that really is what it's about yeah that. I but to your point earlier though. Even if the content that we're creating even if it is end goal is to sell the particular product if that is solving. Someone's problem like some poor person late at night that's googling something. Even if the blog post that you wrote with the intention of selling the product presents a solution in a way that someone can then get their job done like problem solved it doesn't if something is self-serving that doesn't mean it doesn't benefit others as well, right.
Shawn: Absolutely,, There's ah, there's some amount of um, ah, alignment right? like it as as long again like this is there's what I'm saying. That's what I said about the the content thing if you didn't like it. You can you can move on decide never to hear from that person again On. Totally within your rights. But if the content that the thing is ah within your like it just helps you in some way then no matter the intentions like as long as it was Helpful. It's fine. Um, so that's this again. Beggars can't be choosers if it was helpful to you then's create.
Andrew: Yeah, well let's say that you're a betting man right? and you had to bet on one side or the other do you think that dev reils help companies make better products or do you think that dev reils help make better developers like which. 1 do they influence more we're we're cutting the marketing part out entirely and just how much how much do dev res help how much do Dev Res help a company make better products and how much do dev reils help make.
Shawn: Um, oh what's the first one again.
Andrew: Better developers like which one would be greater than the other and.
Shawn: Right now I would say probably the former which is companies making ah better products because that's where you have more of a say ah like in most companies I worked at their developer relations would directly be consulted. Let's say like hey we want Api design feedback like what do you think about? Ah, the Docs we just wrote um and then you know we're we're ready for a product launch you know, ah, how should we do this? Ah you know can you work on a demo that helps us with a launch that kind of stuff. Um and then also I think just being the first user of a. Product internally um, gives the product team a lot of feedback which so I think that's super helpful. Um, you're not really there to teach other developers. How to be better developers you can if you want to I just don't see people doing that as much maybe they should maybe they should. They should try to do that.
Andrew: Or at least you teach them how to use your tool or your Api or whatever that is yeah.
Shawn: Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, and so in some small way. Yes, right? Um, but also like just the the the time that people spend is is very limited more people spend it on you know, showcasing their their products rather than saying like you know here's like a. Ah, 5 page blog posts on on how to write better forms and Redux that nobody asked for because I just think and interesting. Everyone else is doing it wrong and it's got nothing to win my company whatsoever but hey here it is a little bit harder harder to defend like absolutely I'll give you the space if you if you if you feel like you have the next best thing go do it because it's good for Ah. Giving back to the community. Um, but ah yeah I mean I think it's not our job like it's much more of like that's like it's more much more of a training job. You know, like ah if you're a professional instructor or something. That's what you'll be doing and it's not not really the developer relations job I will say there are some developer relations. So ah in my mind. Ah, the Google devreils they have the latitude because they worked at Google literally they have nothing to prove so so they have a bunch of ah if you seen Adam Argyle I think you had him on I'm not sure una needs a team now they all they only exists to teach out a ucss.
Andrew: You right.
Shawn: But I mean they own Chrome. So like they're good. So.
Andrew: Right? right? You you touched you touched on something earlier that I've always been curious about which is documentation. So at least for me when I'm approaching a new tool or a new thing. The documentation is critical and it's to the point where even.
Andrew: Open source projects. There are so many of them if I go and check something out and the docs are crap like I just go to something else or I just wander away because I just know there are so many solutions out there. There's no reason to to waste my time with documentation that's horrible documentation for technical products is on some level. Teaching people how to use the product but there has to be a cutoff in terms of what goes in the docks and that cutoff may be specific examples or more long tail examples or whatever and to me that sort of seems like where a devreil might pick up but what is the cutoff. Between documentation and the content that a devreil might produce and is there any interplay between the 2 in terms of the devre saying this really should be in the documentation or documentation people saying this doesn't make sense in the docs let's have our devreil produce some content for it.
Shawn: Yeah, um, so what I will tell people is de all content needs to entertain while it informs documentation needs to be complete and technically accurate. Um, so you know there's no there's no implication whatsoever on blogs being. Complete it just need to tell you enough to make its point to to get you to where it's trying to go whereas the the docs are a source of truth like they they need to be correct. They need to be complete and and they start everything? Um, so I do think that is sort of my my line of distinction between what what goes in dos and what goes in there. There is lots of gray area. You know so I had for example, um, ah, ah, a writer write a blog post on our incremental incremental sync capabilities that is much better than what we have in the Docs today so we'll have this session where we go right? like can we can we get some of this into the Docs and you know. The the docs will try dos seemma try to get it done I will say this is a point of again soul searching for me that I've had in the past because again like I know that whatever blog posts I write. There's a decay value on that right? like the the most. Um, amount of viewers that it will get will be on it the day day to publish it and it declines sharply from there and out um whereas docs will always be evergreening and maintained and and catch up to date and people will actually seek it out so it's very frustrating to me when I see something that you know it's like.
Shawn: How to do x that's not well done in the Docs and I talk I talk to the docs people and they're like we you know we have a huge pipeline this will well maybe get to this next quarter and I'm like heck like if I write a blog post right now I could solve this problem for some people. Um, so I think that's an impetus for me by the way to move from. Developer relations to developer experience which is where developers. It's basically devre getting more clout and going okay docs reports to me now the community reports to me now. Ah and I and exactly and and I have a vp title and and so on so forth. So.
Andrew: I So it's devre with a seat at the table is what you're saying.
Shawn: Um, yes, it's definitely always seated table where Docs is is is part of that the end-to-end Developer journey. Um, because ultimately when developers come across your products. They don't care who made the thing that they're looking at they're just like does this help me or not and and so someone has at the in the company. Should be responsible for making sure like the terminology and the the flow from ah you know marketing the material all the way down to Docs all the way down to the community should have some kind of coordination and sympathy ah with with the developer that's going through all of these basically don't ship your Org chart.
Andrew: So there is some kind of 2 wo-way communication between documentation and devol at least somewhat.
Shawn: In the developer experience.
Shawn: Yeah, and and in in some way, we've a lot of companies including nelify or sell and asev moved to formalize that reporting structure.
Andrew: So so Ryan we're going to wrap it up soon. I'm going to cut this part out if you hadt got any last questions for him. Do it.
Ryan Irelan: I Mean just I know you covered everything about the who typically becomes a devrail and the progression. Yeah I'm good.
Shawn: Maybe I'll say something about why I think it's also not a final career move like it's it's it's an ah it's an intermediate career but um, a lot of people don't I don't I don't recommend people stay in it forever. Yeah, okay.
Andrew: I and let me cue it I'll queue it up for you I'll cuue it up perfectly for you all right? Sean so we're about done here I really appreciate everything that you said I want to know heart to heart. Would you personally recommend myself or Ryan ditching what we do now.
Ryan Irelan: Gosh.
Andrew: And becoming a devrell.
Shawn: Oh wow, that's a different topic than what we thought I thought we going to talk about I feel like that's dependent on the lifestyle that you want to live. Um I think Defra is a different job for sure and you you guys both look like you're very happy where you are. So I wouldn't necessarily change for the sake of change I do think that if you want to align with a company that you really love and share your enthusiasm for for products with ah with a broad audience and get paid to do this then it's a dream job. Um, but if you are happy I mean you know this this pin of dream jobs out there and. You have you have many options so it's one of many options for you.
Andrew: Well, the the setup part was intended to be something like you know you folks are already at a destination you might want you know, whatever. But so if you want to add that part in go ahead.
Shawn: Um, ah, okay, well ah I'll say like okay so a lot of people. Okay, so there's very very okay I'll change my mind right? um.
Andrew: You take your time we can cut it out.
Shawn: Yeah, deil is not a legitimate career in a sense that the there's almost no the the path to like a Vp title is only just starting to be ironed out. There's no so chief derail officer. Um, it's just not as much of a thing as engineering or marketing or anything that's a lot more established. Um so I do think that. Ah I see people leave the Darreil profession after a stint in devreil and go on to greater and better things and so some of them would be independent instructors because. Guess what? like if you've done it for on behalf of 1 companies you can do it for yourself a company that you start or you can do it on behalf of other people and you can you can be professional trainers and some people do extremely well based on based on that. Um and when I say well I mean millions of years well because that professional training and in tech is is a very lucrative field if you if you're good at it. Um I will also say there are other people who go back to engineering. Um, this is a tricky thing for sure because devr or software developer relations. You're you're not viewed as a real developer and so I've been told. For example that you would have to reinterview and you might get set back in time. In your career to where you were before you started your deval journey. That's that's definitely happened before it's even more of a stretch to go into engineering management for example because you haven't been an engineer for a while but all those things are possible of course just just ah, comparatively less likely.
Shawn: I think it's possible for you to go into product management because again like I said you know you're talking to so many users if so many opinions and products and if you want to take it to the next level you can jump into product management because you now have the empathy and I've seen people have that latitude in their own careers and then finally I think um. So interesting for you for people to think about becoming founders because um, in most founding setups. There's usually a chiefd technical officer like someone who's who's very good at building the person who's technical and can market is much less rare and yeah, absolutely an. She's pointing at himself. Um, so I think there is there's basically a market for a devreil founder on on the order of magnitude of a a design founder or a business or products founder. Um I do think that. Ah you know when I was doing my most recent job search I actually entertained ah a few of these. Um. Opportunities out there. Um, so yeah I will say like you know because Devra is not that well mapped out of a career you might want to end up in some other role and you guys might already be there. So maybe you don't have to go through all this. Ah.
Andrew: So This is just my personal take on it I think that the industry as a whole severely undervalues the devre role because at least in my opinion the way the way I envision devro which may not be reality for some people that are in that sphere. But the way I envision Devre is an open line of communication to your customers from a technical point of view and I have seen many many situations where a devrell would help make a product so much better than just the development team kind of working off. On their own and you know banging out the next feature and the marketing team. Yeah deciding on you know what? shiny new thing they want to implement I've seen so many places where someone that kind of integrates Both of those paths together can bring an incredible amount of value to a product because they know how the product works. They know. Technically what's going On. They're in touch with the people that are using the product and they can really help shape it and to your point if the devre isn't getting a seat at the table I Do think that that is somewhat to the detriment of the companies that employ them not not every dev re like you know some of them. Just be serving that broader marketing purpose that we're talking about but someone in a devrell position that is that kind of open line of communication I think is a massive benefit to a lot of companies or at least could be and but.
Shawn: No thank you. That's couldn't consider a bear myself.
Andrew: Well and before Sean can actually disagree with that that about wraps it up with another episode of the devmode fm podcast if you enjoy the show, please make sure to subscribe tell a friend drop us a review. We really appreciate it for the demo deta for the devmo dot fm podcast I'm Andrew Welch
Ryan Irelan: I'm Ryan Ireland.
Andrew: And thank you for coming on Sean Swix Wang
Shawn: Thanks Thanks! Have me.
Andrew: I and I'm coming at that from the point of view Sean that I've seen so many smaller companies that they start out with a sort of a Cto founder someone that came up with a really good idea and has the means to implement it and they they started building a team around that. They become so engineering focusedcused that they don't really understand the value of marketing or the value of getting soliciting input from others and it makes sense if you're if you're someone that had the impetus to go out to identify a good idea develop something that takes advantage of that you think wow. Don't need to talk to anybody else like I know what I'm doing I'm just going to bang this thing out and I've seen so many cases where open lines of communication would be an incredible asset to the company at least in my opinion.
Shawn: Yeah, strongly agree I Hope he yeah we have to fix the incentives around that because ah, most of the time you're doing it just out of professional standards. But yes, yeah, can be a job. Yes.
Andrew: I That's okay I'm mean a job can be a job too. There's nothing wrong with that. But yeah, but I or I Really appreciate you coming on I'm gonna stop the recording now.