Last year October 2021, I moved from Software Engineer/Technical Writer to a role in Developer Relations at Storyblok. Since then, I’ve helped users with making use of the product, working on documentation, giving talks at conferences, turning twenty-three, and learning more as I go.
It’s been a NICE year, and I know this article is a couple of months late, but I figured I needed to add it to my year in review or publish it before the new year 😄 Here are some lessons I’ve learned in the last year in DevRel.
- Always take advantage of your team
The truth is, working in DevRel is very much fun. You get to work with lots of people, you get to hear from users on what their pain points are, and even find new ways to help your colleagues and users. However, it can also be very reclusive especially if you work alone. You might need to handle issues, tasks, and ideas on your own
But in order to enjoy your work and be better, you’d need to take advantage of the people in your team, this can come in handy in not only your career and task but also how you grow as a person.
There are several ways to connect and take advantage of your team, from helping other colleagues with their talks, work, and tasks, to even creating guidelines that can help other teams internally. I’ve been very fortunate to have great managers/mentors since I joined Storyblok. My colleagues have helped me with my talks and are also helping me be a great Solution Engineer.
With DevRel, there is never a shortage of people to talk to, so you can take advantage of this and learn how the company works for them too. I’ve worked intensively with members of the support team; these discussions and chats have come in handy with knowing how the user views the product, and their pain points and enabled me to see how I can make that better in the form of updated documentation, an article/guide or even a feature request for the product teams.
2. Always ask for help if you need it
As I mentioned, sometimes it's difficult to ask for help cos you feel the need to do it alone, and frankly, this took me getting used to. Coming from a Software Engineer and Technical Writer background, I am used to figuring out solutions to issues as I encounter them. Working in DevRel now with so many people who are very much experienced, it’s easier to ask for help.
Asking for help shows that you’re willing to learn, and even more, it's reduced the time you spend tinkering with things to figure them out on your own. I have to be honest; asking for help can seem complicated but I’ve learned that it’s generally a better method. Thankful for my manager and teammates, who are always eager to answer all my questions.
3. Be a learner
To be honest, when I started my new role, part of my biggest fear was that I didn’t know enough to be a DevRel Engineer, and at Storyblok, I am constantly encompassed with very smart people with lots of experience. Immediately I felt I had so much to learn; first, I used weekends and every opportunity to learn more about the company or tools we use.
While those were good, it's okay not to know everything to be good at DevRel or, frankly, any job; in fact, not knowing can open you up to see other ways of solving problems and giving solutions.
However, it's important to be a learner. Learning how and why the customer uses the product, why and how things work in the team and your company, and learning new tools and ways of helping users. For DevRel, you’d always have to be a learner; always learn and ask why 😅
4. Work-Life Balance
One year later, I am just getting the hang of how to manage my work-life well. DevRel is a community and users heavy role; there’s never a shortage of users to help, tasks, talks to give, and work to do!
I think that can come in hard and well, encroach on your time as a person, especially if you like, you love your job! Recently I got a second MacBook for personal things so that I don’t have to work during vacation and free time 😅 The best way to handle this is to get a second computer for personal time, get a hobby too or take up a new one. I took up workouts, cooking, and watching anime and movie series. Having a healthy work-life balance is important to avoid burnout.
Working in DevRel has helped me significantly and helped me grow in a lot of ways. I’d always be grateful to my colleagues and managers for making my one-year fun! I look forward to next year and can’t wait to see what it has in store!