Growing as a DXE & Building Dev Communities

Posted: 10/12/2022




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Growing Dev Communities and Becoming a DX Engineer with Dom and Brittany

Welcome back to another episode of Coding Cat Dev Snacks! Today we have Alex Patterson and Brittany Postma joining us. This episode is brought to you by Storyblock - the flexible content platform that lets developers focus on code while content teams manage content independently.

Alex and Brittany will be discussing growing developer communities and becoming a developer experience (DX) engineer. Let’s dive in!

Starting and Growing Developer Communities

Alex has extensive experience building developer communities. It started with gaming communities when he was a teenager. He eventually created a large alumni community called Bootcamped for people who went to coding bootcamps. This helped him network and find jobs after his own bootcamp experience.

Later on Alex started the popular Reactadelphia meetup group that brought together 100 local developers and another 70-100 remote attendees each month. He live streamed the talks before it was common so remote viewers could participate.

Some key takeaways on starting a dev community:

  • Use Discord over Slack. Public communities don’t work well in Slack.
  • Consider self-hosted options instead of to have more control.
  • Focus on safety and inclusion. Enforce a strong code of conduct.
  • Don’t worry about huge numbers of people - quality over quantity.

Brittany also organizes the Svelte community and highlights the importance of being a liaison between the external community and your company’s internal teams. Gathering feedback and conveying pain points helps improve products for the community.

Becoming a Developer Experience (DX) Engineer

Alex explains that a DX Engineer decodes internal product messaging and launches to make them resonate with the external community. They serve as “customer zero” to catch bugs and test new features from a beginner perspective.

DX Engineers build trust so the community will listen and want to learn from them. He prioritizes caring about the community over company sales goals.

Brittany agrees and thinks DX is about the whole journey developers go through using a product. At Netlify they focus on connecting product teams to the community.

Other Key Discussion Topics

  • How to balance promoting your company’s product vs competitors
  • Moderating communities effectively but fairly
  • Equity compensation and stock options in startups

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