Survey Insights: Elevating Developer Experience (DX) for Growth

James Parton
5 min readDec 21, 2023


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, one crucial factor stands out as the linchpin of success — the Developer Experience (DX).

DX is the amalgamation of documentation and tools, sprinkled with some inspiration on the art of the possible, that developers engage with to create software applications. This intricate journey, where developers evaluate, learn, and build, includes documentation, code samples, tutorials, sign-up processes, and sandbox environments.

In essence, DX is the heartbeat of a developer’s interaction with your technological ecosystem.

Let’s embark on a journey to explore the dynamics of DX, assess existing strategies, and uncover pathways to drive adoption and advocacy.

Defining the Developer Experience (DX)

In the vast expanse of Developer Relations, the definition of Developer Experience is still finding solid ground. It encapsulates the overall journey of developers as they evaluate, learn, and build.

However, the nuances between ‘external’ DX, catering to developers as users and customers, and ‘internal’ DX, supporting developers as employees within a company, add complexity to the understanding of Developer Experience.

We are focused on external DX, which is deeply intertwined with engineering and product teams, creating a symbiotic relationship that stimulates continuous conversation. However, the barriers and challenges of improving DX require strategic planning and execution and a solid understanding of the role of Developer Relations.

Purpose of DevRel Programs

According to our 10th Annual State of Developer Relations Report, the purpose of DevRel programs remains consistent, with over 85% of respondents focusing on driving awareness and adoption of products.

Educating and supporting developers also maintain a high priority at 80%. There’s a notable shift, with 35.7% aiming to drive sales and grow pipelines, showcasing a subtle evolution in the strategic objectives of DevRel programs, a topic we have previously examined in this blog.

Purpose of Program — State of Developer Relations Report 2023

Developer Experience Audit: Unveiling Friction

Understanding and addressing pain points in a developer’s journey is pivotal to enhancing the Developer Experience. Developer Journey Maps and friction logs emerge as invaluable tools, yet the report highlights a concerning trend.

Twice as many respondents as the previous year (44%) admit to “never” auditing their developer experience or reviewing journey maps. Only 1% conduct monthly reviews, a stark contrast to the 12.4% recorded in the previous year.

This discrepancy raises a red flag, urging DevRel professionals to reevaluate their strategies and commit to more regular and thorough audits of the Developer Experience.

Developer Experience — State of Developer Relations Report 2023

Documentation: The Cornerstone of DX

Documentation is a critical factor influencing developers’ decisions to use a tool.

An impressive 81% of respondents rate their company’s resources for creating and maintaining documentation at least average. While 8.5% feel these resources are poor, 13.4% consider their company’s efforts excellent.

This emphasis on documentation signals a positive shift, and its impact on DevRel programs will be intriguing to observe over time.

Documentation — State of Developer Relations Report 2023

Bridging the Gap: Driving Adoption vs. Prioritizing DX

The dichotomy revealed in the report is striking — while 85% of respondents emphasize driving awareness and adoption of products, a smaller percentage prioritizes Developer Experience.

A positive Developer Experience ensures that developers can seamlessly perform essential tasks, implement changes, and navigate the intricate landscape of software development.

To bridge this gap and pioneer a strategic DevRel upgrade, consider the following ways to improve your Developer Experience (DX):

1. Invest in Technical Excellence

Provide resources and support to elevate technical skills, empowering developers to tackle challenges effectively.

2. Remove Friction in Development Environments

Identify and eliminate bottlenecks in development processes, ensuring a smooth and frictionless experience for developers.

3. Invest in Developer Education

Promote continuous learning and development, equipping developers with the knowledge and skills they need to excel.

4. Don’t Be Cheap with Tools

Allocate sufficient resources to provide developers with robust and effective tools, acknowledging their impact on productivity and efficiency.

5. Listen to Developers’ Feedback and Act Upon It

Create channels for open communication, actively seeking and implementing feedback to address pain points and improve the Developer Experience.

The strategic upgrade of Developer Relations is an ongoing journey that necessitates a keen understanding of Developer Experience dynamics.

As pioneers in the field, DevRel professionals have the power to shape and redefine the developer journey, fostering an environment where innovation thrives and developers flourish.

By prioritizing DX, embracing regular audits, and aligning activities with core pillars, you can create a seamless and positive Developer Experience for your community.

Curious about the state of Developer Relations? Our 10th Annual State of DevRel Report digs deep into companies, products, salaries, and metrics. Benchmark your initiatives, gain valuable insights, and see what’s shaping the future of DevRel.

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Post first published on the DevRel.Agency blog.



James Parton

He / Him. MD The Bradfield Centre | Co-Founder of DevRel.Agency | Co-Author of Developer Relations (Apress 2021) | Co-host of Cambridge Tech Podcast