The DevRel Digest June 2023: Your Opinion is Wanted, Your Empathy is Needed

The DevRel Digest
Published in
3 min readAug 26, 2023

This is the very first DevRel Digest and it was originally published on LinkedIn.

The 10th Annual Developer Relations Survey

It’s that time of year again! The 10th Annual Developer Relations Survey is out and requesting your input. Last year’s State of Developer Relations Report can be found here. I always find the parts about metrics to be the most interesting, and this is what 2022’s findings revealed:

“The number of Active Users was considered by almost half of respondents (48.6%) to be the most important measure of success, followed by the closely related Content Produced (30.5%) and Content Read (29.9%), which is in line with Content Production, a top challenge and activity for DevRel people.”

Metrics findings from the 2022 State of Developer Relations Report.
Metrics findings from the 2022 State of Developer Relations Report.

I am curious to see how the current trend of layoffs will be reflected in 2023’s report.

The Role of Portfolios in Developer Relations Job Hunting

Speaking of layoffs and subsequent job hunts, offers some advice from a recruiter on breaking into the field. I think the key takeaway is making sure you have a curated portfolio of your work on hand. I know that in my current job hunt, I’ve been asked for a portfolio more frequently than ever before.

“The crucial thing is that your portfolio provides evidence that you are the person that the hiring manager is looking for. Your CV/resume tells your story and your portfolio brings it to life.”

I wonder if this is a sign that the role is becoming more standardized.

Yes, We Have to Talk About AI

It’s just a rule now that you have to talk about AI in everything, so here we go.

The 24th edition of State of Developer Nation asked developers if they use AI and how. In results that probably will not shock you, the survey suggests that “63% of developers engaged in some aspect of AI-assisted development.”

So does that mean AI is coming to a Developer Relations near you? Probably, but hopefully with intention, which is what it sounds like Ash Ryan Arnwine, Director of Developer Relations at Nylas is doing. Over there, they “experiment aggressively in private; we ship to developers with care and consideration.”

It will be interesting to see how these principles will shape the role of AI in their Developer Relations program.

But Can AI Ever Replicate Empathy?

I just downloaded Volume 203 of the Journal of Systems and Software to read “Empathy models and software engineering — A preliminary analysis and taxonomy” so I’ll have to get back to you on the details another time, but pretty much everything Andrea Goulet of Heartware shares is insightful so I am sure this won’t be any different. It’s also really cool to see her work cited in the paper!

One of the interesting parts so far is the challenge of developing a preliminary taxonomy of empathy in software engineering particularly. In other words, we have no way of even thinking about it. It seems there is no question that empathy in software engineering is critical to success, but the details haven’t been worked out yet.

I’m excited to give this a thorough read as someone for whom empathy has been a doubled-edged sword. Will AI ever be able to replicate the full experience of trauma and healing that so often leads to a talent in empathy? I hope not — I wouldn’t want a robot to have to go through what I’ve gone through!



The DevRel Digest

Relentless optimist | Artist turned software developer turned developer advocate