There are a plethora of developer communities out there. Countless times, I've been encouraged to join some online or in-person community for developers and I'm sure you have too. After listening to the episode 2 of the Version One podcast, I was reminded of the value of community.
The second episode of the Version One podcast features guest Guillermo Rauch, CEO and Co-founder of Vercel. When discussing how he started coding, Guillermo mentioned an online forum which played a huge part in his growth as a developer. As Guillermo's experience demonstrates, community can be a huge catalyst for growth as a developer. By why is that the case? And where can you find said communities?
Why you need to invest in community
Coding isn't always an easy task. There are multiple hurdles that many people confront along their developer journey. Running into difficult errors, dealing with difficult coding concepts, job searching, career growth- the list could go on forever. It becomes so much easier to deal with these things when you have a helpful community to lean on.
I started finding different communities that were helping me figure things out. And that also, whenever I would figure something out, I would contribute back, too.
When you find a community that fits your interests and career goals, you'll have a place where you can turn to ask questions and get advice from developers all over the world. You can also share your own insights and help others along the way. As time goes on, your developer network will continue to grow and you'll become a better developer. This is why it's so important to invest in community, no matter what skill level you're at.
Where to find the right community for you
Now that you know community is so valuable, it's time to actually find one for yourself. You don't need to be part of every single one you come across. That can easily become overwhelming. Focus on actively participating in just a few.
If it's safe to do so in the area where you live, you can look around for local meetups and communities. Check websites like Meetup and search for groups using keywords that are related to whatever language or technology you would like to be more involved with.
Thankfully, we have social media and platforms like Discord and Slack which enable remote community building. Twitter is a developer hot spot. It's a great place to go to share what you're working on and learning and to ask and answer questions. It's good to know, though, that Twitter isn't always a safe space. But it still holds a ton of value.
To find Discord and Slack communities, search "[insert language or tech stack of interest] communities on Discord/Slack" on Google. It also helps to ask developers you already know for recommendations. When you find a community that matches your interests, keep an eye out for active moderators and a Code of Conduct. Both of these things ensure the safety of community members. Of course, this isn't absolute and people with bad intentions may still slip in. But having moderators and a Code of Conduct that is heavily promoted means that your online safety is being prioritized and that's very important.
It's clear that being part of a community can do wonders for your growth as a developer. Searching for, joining, and participating in developer communities online or in-person (if it's safe) will be well worth the effort and time you invest. Guillermo's podcast episode reminded me of this. There's much more to learn from his journey to becoming a startup founder. So make sure to give his Version One interview a listen.