What are Developer Communities?
Developer communities are places where we can
- Share and brag about our work
- Ask questions and find help
- Follow for news
- Make new connections and meet new people in the development field
They’re all about “finding solutions” and building up new experience, closer aligned with a community of practice than a community of any other type.
Communities you have to be following
In our field, there are A LOT of online communities that focus solely on development like
We also have other channels that are superiorly active like
- Facebook tech groups/pages
- Reddit tech subreddits
- Google developer groups
Huge companies and enterprises building products for the developers to use started to realize the importance of actively participating in the community through seeking the developers themselves. A new role has emerged called “Developer Evangelism,” where a developer evangelist is someone participating in the community in a way that makes him advertise for a product while making it sound exciting to others and without being intrusive.
You can find developer evangelists all around you. They are the people you follow on Twitter for news, who write tutorials on their blogs telling you how to do something. Think of them as social and brand influencers of all things technical development. Examples are countless and include
- Paul Irish and Addy Osmani from Google who advocate for open web technologies
- Chris Heilmann from Mozilla and now Microsoft
In Egypt, most of the tech communities are driven by individuals and not by companies or organizations. The role of developer evangelism hasn’t really matured enough yet. Instead, big companies who build ready-to-use “solutions” (like Oracle and Microsoft) advocate these solutions to other companies; not to developers
We have a big chance of taking the lead in the tech communities through focusing on the “Individuals.”
Why you should actively participate in developer communities
Developers in general show interest in participating in tech communities because it’s a way to create new connections. Connections are important because they mean
- New technical knowledge
- New job opportunities
How you can start contributing to the community TODAY
Before you start contributing, there’s a set of skills you need to know that you have to work on along the way
- Be extremely eager to learn
- Be an excellent communicator through verbal and written communication
- Enrich your technical competence in your areas of interest
- Be an excellent listener and have the capacity to discuss anything
There are mainly 2 channels you should be focusing on…
1. Online communities
These will massively help you grow your technical knowledge and will show you how others discuss things and communicate with each other. Most importantly, they will highlight your weaknesses and allow you to work on them at your leisure.
2. Offline/Local communities
These are where you start having impact on others, sharing as well as always learning along the way. You start to advocate and give advice.Take care that you should be open to all opinions even those that trigger you and those you think are worthless though.
Benefits of having a leading role in local communities
- Your technical knowledge will grow significantly.
- You become more confident in the work you do and start enjoying it more and more.
- People start to idolize you as an expert (careful about that).
- You build relationships with other developers, entrepreneurs, and companies. Your connections grow beyond what you ever thought they could.
- You dedicate sometime everyday to reject the job offers you are getting via LinkedIn and emails 🙂
Benefits that the organization you belong to gains
- With the growth of your technical knowledge, your organization is directly affected by the quality of the work that you perform.
- Customers will have more confidence in your organization’s work.
- Your organization starts attracting more customers.
- Your organization starts attracting candidates who are eager to learn because they want to work with “YOU”.
Where you should start first
- Participate in online discussions like Stackoverflow, Reddit, Github
- Build something that you know will benefit other developers.
- Write down articles on your personal blog, organization blog, Medium, WordPress giving your personal insights and ideas on a particular problem
- Check local communities like Facebook tech groups and help others whenever you can through comments and answering questions whenever possible.
- Check for student activities and offer your services as a mentor/speaker at universities.
- Offer to help those who are trying to give back to the community either through organization or through metorship/speaking (RailsGirls Cairo)
- Find and attend local meetups and show your will to participate in organization and speaking. If none is available, start building your own community with the help of your friends and colleagues.
- A good advocate is someone who is technically superior. Keep reading and learning and trying. Question your work and methods. Seek excellence.
- Be kind to others around you. Their age, color, gender, religion or technical capabilities should never matter. As long as they are not toxic, you should stand at the same distance from all.
- Listen carefully and don’t underestimate anyone. You would be surprised by the ideas and the work of the people you frankly think they aren’t as good as you.
- Always be humble.
- Give without waiting for a return. Good deeds pay off in ways you cannot imagine.
- It’s a long-term investment that takes time. Be PATIENT and always enjoy the ride.