Top developer relations trends for building stronger teams

Learn about enterprise trends for optimizing software engineering practices, including developer relations, API use, community building and incorporating security into development.

TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group covers modernization trends as organizations use technology innovation to drive productivity and better business results. This includes a newer trend for developer relations, or DevRel, to help communicate with developers about ways to optimize their software engineering practices.

It's promising to see growth in DevRel roles where technical evangelists interact with developers to foster communication, solve problems and build stronger teams.

In this episode, we talk with Rob Zazueta, a technical consultant and DevRel expert who works with enterprises to keep developers educated, performing and happy in their roles. Watch the video for our full discussion on key trends we're seeing and read on for some highlights.

The importance of APIs

Our research has shown developers increasingly use APIs to build more dynamic applications with rich features as they connect to other resources or applications.

Zazueta pointed out that APIs help businesses adapt to troubling times, expand their offerings and seize opportunities in the market faster -- with less effort and smaller teams. That said, a staff needs the skills and resources to ensure API usage is consistent, effective and secure.

Modernization challenges: Past, present and future

We've seen technologies evolve over the years, with the move from physical servers to VMs to containers; more recently, we have WebAssembly. APIs, though, are a constant for running distributed applications. The code and applications can run anywhere -- on servers, mobile devices, endpoints and cloud environments.

A big part of modernization has been moving workloads to the cloud. Enterprise Strategy Group research on infrastructure modernization trends showed that most (62%) of organizations are migrating applications to public cloud infrastructure. Only 27% of organizations said their strategy for existing applications includes using existing on-premises data centers, and 36% said they expect to move from cloud back to an on-premises data center. So, organizations are keeping data centers, but application location is not stagnant.

Enterprises with development teams need to think about their strategy to scale operations and apply controls, including for security and privacy. We've moved to microservices-architected applications that are more distributed and have increasingly moved to public cloud services, but we also see organizations pull them back on premises to address concerns about control of data, security, privacy or costs.

DevRel for security

We've talked before about how developers do care about security, and Zazueta challenged the idea that they don't. "It couldn't be further from the truth," he said. "We want code to be secure, out there working. We don't want to be the one who opened up a threat vector."

Zazueta noted that there is more friction if businesses put pressure on faster product delivery without caring about security. The "move fast and break things" mantra, he said, is not good for security. When there is a security breach, or if users don't trust the security of an application, brand reputation and sales will suffer.

The key is to help IT to not view security as a drag on productivity. Developers don't want to wait for security to review their applications and they don't want to feel like security doesn't understand the technology. The solution is communication on both sides.

DevRel resources

Zazueta includes a number of resources, including an API readiness checklist, on his website's resources page.

Modern application development includes automation and collaboration tools for continuous integration and continuous deployment. The only way to incorporate security for DevSecOps is to have a security team that understands and can work with those developer workflows -- getting automated scanning and setting policies so security is inserted into the software development lifecycle and workflows, such as the ticketing system. When developers can efficiently understand the security problem as it pops up in their sprint or their team communications, they can understand the risk and prioritize remediation.

Developers also need to communicate with security to inform them of technical decisions so the security team can find effective security strategies.

Enterprise Strategy Group is excited about the opportunities here – where collaboration enables the security team to better understand threat vectors and implement solutions that support development needs without slowing them down. This way, businesses gain the benefits of modernization – building dynamic, feature-rich applications for customers, while knowing they have security in place that supports growth.

The Impacts of APIs to DevRel and Open Source Communities

Modernization trends from Enterprise Strategy Group

This video is part of a series on modernization trends. In it, analysts Melinda Marks and Paul Nashawaty talk with Rob Zazueta, a technical consultant who helps enterprises define their digital platform strategies, generate revenue through API programs and create engaging and useful content that keeps developers happy and productive.

With decades of experience, Zazueta developed a passionate empathy toward developers after spending his early career as a full-time web engineer. He made the switch to supporting and advocating for developers during his first role managing the API program for a SaaS email marketing company. He has worked with developers across varying backgrounds and skill sets to make them more productive and shine in their roles. He has also helped global companies of all sizes attract and keep developer customers loyal by fostering great developer experiences. Most recently, he has focused on enhancing the developer experience for internal engineering teams to improve their efficiency and maximize their productivity while ensuring software engineers continue to love their work.

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