An engineer turned community manager shares her secrets to tech community building

Milena Radivojević

The transition from an engineering background to community management might seem unconventional to some, but Eleftheria exemplifies why it's a savvy business move.

Have you ever met an engineer who dreamed of becoming a Community Manager? Well, Eleftheria Batsou is one of those unicorns.

Starting in engineering, she quickly expanded into social media and tech conferences, capturing stakeholders’ attention and transitioning into DevRel – from Hashnode to thriving at CrabNebula.

We spoke with her about the crucial role of a Community Manager in the tech landscape.

Every tech company needs a Community Manager

How has the role of a Community Manager evolved in the tech industry over the years?

Eleftheria: Initially, CMs were primarily tasked with fostering engagement and maintaining a positive atmosphere within online communities and forums. However, our role has since expanded and become more strategic. 

As technology and online communication continue to evolve, this role will likely adapt further to meet the changing needs of both the community and the organization they serve.

I honestly believe it’s a critical role that every tech company, independent of its size and power, should have.

In tech, community building is crucial. What strategies have proven effective for fostering engagement and collaboration?

Eleftheria: Certainly, fostering engagement and collaboration is essential for success. Here are some of my favorite strategies:

  • Produce Valuable Content – informative articles, tutorials, videos, or webinars tailored to your community’s needs and interests (for instance, I specialize in creating Rust-related content at my current job)
  • Provide multiple channels for communication (social media platforms, chat groups, and email support)
  • Cultivate a knowledge-sharing culture where members freely share expertise and insights (for instance, the Tauri Discord server features a dedicated “showcase” room for sharing projects
  • Host both online and offline gatherings
  • Collaborate with other tech communities, related projects, or influencers

Community building is an ongoing process

Consistency is also very important?

Eleftheria: Yes, consistency and regular updates! You need to maintain a consistent presence, regularly update content, respond to questions, and keep the conversation going, but don’t be a spammer! Transparency builds trust and keeps members engaged.

Community building is an ongoing process, and staying attuned to the evolving needs and preferences of your members is key to long-term success.

How has your background in tech influenced your approach to CM, and vice versa?

Eleftheria: My engineering background has significantly influenced my approach to community management, especially as it pertains to DevRel. Understanding the technical intricacies of the product or service allows me to engage more effectively with community members, address their technical queries, and provide meaningful support. This background also enables me to bridge the gap between the development team and the community, translating technical information into accessible content.

Conversely, my experience in community management has reinforced the importance of clear communication, empathy, and active listening, which are crucial in both fields.

Be an Engineer first, then move to DevRel

What advice do you have for individuals who are interested in combining roles in community management and engineering?

Eleftheria: For me, it’s crucial to start by understanding the value of both fields. Building a strong technical foundation is essential, and cannot be replaced by anything else. I see CS graduates wanting to be developer advocates, my advice would be to wait a few years, work in engineering jobs, gain some technical experience, and then move to DevRel roles.

Looking ahead, what do you envision for the future of open source and the role that community management and engineering will play in shaping it?

Eleftheria: I’d love to see the open source expanding into an even more collaborative and inclusive ecosystem.

Community management and engineering should have pivotal roles in shaping this landscape. As open source continues to evolve, community management should play a significant role in nurturing and sustaining these communities, ensuring they remain vibrant, inclusive, and supportive spaces for collaboration. 

What is the most exciting tech innovation or trend that you believe will shape the future of the industry?

Eleftheria: One of the most promising tech innovations is the advancement of AI and machine learning. More particularly, and in my field, I’m looking forward to seeing how the AI tools will advance and improve in the areas of content creation (generating ideas, writing articles, auto-cropping/editing images, generating videos, making short audio clips, etc.) and code generation (tools like Copilot, auto bug fixers, etc.).

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