Building a strong community of developers is vital to a company’s success in today’s fast-paced technological landscape. As the technologies that were cutting edge six months ago become outdated, developers need to be constantly learning and growing. Here are the top three things companies can do differently to grow their developer communities.
First, make sure your documentation is up to par. Developers need clear and concise documentation to be able to integrate and use your product. Poor documentation can lead to frustration and a lack of trust in your company. As Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” By prioritizing documentation, you can provide a seamless customer experience and build trust in your product.
Who demonstrates this well? Stripe. Their documentation is widely regarded as some of the best in the industry. Stripe’s Head of Engineering, Avi Bryant, says, “Good documentation is a critical part of any API offering. If you don’t have clear and comprehensive documentation, developers will quickly move on to something else.”
Second, establish a strong developer relations program. Building relationships with developers can go a long way in growing your community. This involves more than just sending out newsletters and swag. Developer relations should be a two-way street, with companies actively listening to feedback and providing support to developers. As Edith Harbaugh, CEO of LaunchDarkly, said, “It’s not just about community engagement; it’s about community enablement.” By empowering developers to succeed, you can foster a sense of loyalty and investment in your product.
Who demonstrates this well? Twilio. They have a dedicated developer evangelist team that attends conferences, hosts meetups, and maintains an active presence on social media. As Twilio’s Director of Developer Experience, Matthew Gilliard, says, “It’s all about building relationships and trust with developers. They need to know that we’re invested in their success.”
Finally, create opportunities for developers to collaborate and share their work. Hackathons, meetups, and online forums can provide a platform for developers to connect and learn from one another. This not only benefits individual developers but can also lead to innovation and new ideas for your company. As Tiffany Peña, Senior Director of Developer Relations at Auth0, said, “The best developer communities are those where members are encouraged to share knowledge and experiences freely and help each other solve problems.” By fostering a culture of collaboration, you can create a community that is engaged, invested, and constantly growing.
Who demonstrates this well? GitHub. They host a yearly conference, GitHub Universe, where developers can connect with each other and learn from industry leaders. GitHub also has a robust community forum where developers can share their work and ask for feedback. As GitHub’s Head of Platform, Kyle Daigle, says, “GitHub is all about bringing developers together and enabling them to build amazing things.”
In today’s rapidly changing technological landscape, building a strong community of developers is essential for the success of any company. By prioritizing documentation, establishing a strong developer relations program, and creating opportunities for collaboration, companies can grow their developer communities and foster innovation and growth. As Patrick Woods, CEO of Ecliptic Consulting Group, said, “Developer relations is a long game that requires a mix of strategy, tactics, and most importantly, empathy.” By following these three tips and working with a developer relations agency like Ecliptic Consulting Group, companies can build a successful CaaS program that benefits both the company and the developer community.
Ultimately, building and nurturing a strong developer community is a long-term strategy that requires a dedicated investment of time, resources, and expertise. By focusing on creating a welcoming and supportive environment, providing valuable resources and opportunities for growth, and leveraging the expertise of a developer relations agency, companies can cultivate a thriving community that will help to drive their success for years to come. As technology continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace, having a strong developer community can make the difference between falling behind or leading the charge into the future.