Coding Community: Interview with Figment’s DevRel Lead Yash Sharma

During our weekly Saturday ritual event, called Journey of A Brand Community Builder, we had a little chat with Yash Sharma. He is the Developer Relations Lead at the coding community of Figment.

In this exclusive conversation with Yash, we learned:

  • How is his work in the coding community at Figment like?
  • What goals should one keep in mind during the initial days?
  • How does a coding community help in personal branding?

… And much more. So let’s get reading!

How Did He Start His Coding Community Journey?

Yash has been working with communities for the last 2 years. He attended a lot of events for the different community of coders, especially the tech ones. Then he started to volunteer for them and now he is the lead of Developer Relations. So that’s how he worked towards his goals – step by step!

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What Was That One Moment Where He Felt That He Wanted To Be A Part Of A Coding Community?

In Yash’s words, “When you start being in a community, and when you see all the people leading their communities, you start realizing what a cool job it is. Meeting new people, moving here and there, chatting and making new friends, hosting a Hackathon, mentoring others, checking out new products – all of this seems cool.” That’s what inspired Yash. 

Back in 2018, Yash went to the US as he got selected for the Rajasthan Student Startup Exposure Program with 78 other students. In the US, he met Uttar Kumar Tripathi, head of developer relations at Google.

It was the first time that he got to know about DevRel in so much depth and he was fascinated by the whole concept. So coming back to the question, that US trip was the one moment where he felt like becoming a part of the community of coders and he never looked back.

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Can You Tell Us More About The Work You Do At Figment?

As a DevRel person, sometimes you are a one-man army building a whole coding community. However, the position and responsibilities vary from organization to organization. So if you are working for a service-based, API-based, or platform-based organization, your responsibilities differ a lot.

Sometimes you work as an educated person who wants to build content for developers. In Yash’s case, his role aligns with different teams – marketing, development, product, and community. He works with all of them simultaneously. However, the coding community takes up most of his time.

Another thing that he works with is developer experience. You act as a bridge between the company and the coding community. What the community says, you deliver it to the company and vice versa. 

What Does He Think Should Be The Main Goals Of A Community Builder When They Are Just Setting Up Their Community?

Yash created the coding community for Figment from scratch. According to him, the most experimental and challenging time is the initial phase. His two cents are to focus on the OKRs and KPIs. They differ from quarter to quarter, year by year.

  • Bringing New Members: When you are building your community from scratch, your OKRs and KPIs are more around bringing new members into the community. You ask yourself what is the rate of growth in the community?
  • Engagement: If there are 1000 members, then how many of them are speaking to each other. And how many of them are genuinely helping each other.
  • Developer-Generated Content: When you are leading a DevRel community, your developers are building the products for the customers, But in reality, those developers are the actual customers. They are the ones who actually interact with that specific product more than our devs, or even our product manager.

And from time to time, these developers come up with new suggestions and feedback that comes from the community of coders. Even that comes under OKRs. For instance, how much feedback we are receiving from the coding community, and how much we are improving the developer experience.

When you work with different organizations and blockchain companies, from time to time you have to chat with other DevRels of those companies. For example, things like what’s going in the ecosystem, how we can improve it. So that also comes under OKRs. 

And then eventually, it goes to how many workshops and events you are hosting. You start growing your team and introduce the developer newsletters. All of this comes under OKRs and KPIs. 

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How Has The Coding Community Contributed To His Personal Branding?

When you are a DevRel lead, you are the face of the company as well as the community. People start getting to know you because they know the company. And sometimes people know the company because of you. It also helps if you are very active in the community of coders.

Personal branding is necessary and in the DevRel area, Yash thinks that most of the personal branding happens from referrals.

Most of the DevRel vacancies don’t even come up in the market. They get filled up initially, just by the employees or their connections.

It happens because you are publishing blogs, and doing random stuff on Twitter. You are chatting with different people out there, sharing your thoughts. You are a part of different discord servers and forums, chatting on Quora, helping out developers. All this helps you build your profile.

In Yash’s words, “Wherever I am right now, it’s because of my connections.”

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