How many times have you heard “Networking is the best way to find a job,” or “It’s all about who you know.” I contend that it helps a hell of a lot if people know you, or feel like they do, and my favorite way to do that is to have an outward facing presence in the technical community.
Recently, more than a couple people have asked me about speaking/writing/building a public presence as a developer. So I’m giving away my two-step guaranteed™ method to building up your profile as a developer.
Step 1: Do things
Congrats! You already do things! You probably do lots of things! As a developer, every day you solve a problem (or few) and chances are good that others run into similar problems. Talking about a problem that you solved? That’s a case study. Learned a new language/library/framework? Wrote one? You’re now qualified to communicate what you learned/made to others! And so on.
Step 2: Tell people you did things
Hey, you didn’t think I’d throw a guarantee on there if it were that easy, would you?
I’d also encourage you to remember that there are many mediums available to you. For myself, I prefer writing and speaking on stage as my mediums, recently adding podcasting with Turing-Incomplete to that list. Maybe you like to screencast. Or offer advice on Twitter chats. Or in the IRC channel. Or make instructional Vines (someone please do this).
You don’t have to do everything, and save yourself from should-isms, and do what you like. There are plenty of writers who don’t speak, and vice versa. Find what works for you and own it, and say no to things that drain you rather than empower you.
There’s separate advice for each medium, but one common thing is true: you lose 100% of the battles you don’t show up for (or some saying like that, insert your own reference).
Intimidated by blogging? The only way to start a blog is to start a blog. It doesn’t have to be good. You know how you get better at playing guitar? By playing guitar. Get better at writing by writing often and in public.
Similarly for speaking, once you have your first break-out conference talk, it becomes so much easier to submit or be invited to future conferences. If you strike out a lot, warm yourself up by giving talks at your local user group. Once you get better at that, submitting to a regional conference (whose organizers are likely involved or at least aware of your user group) is a logical step up. Get help writing better proposals; some conferences have office hours to help you. Use them. Interested in speaking at an invite-only conference? Email the organizing committee and let them know you’re interested (I’ve done this before with success).
If you want to get better at talking to people in general, I can’t emphasize Just Listen(affiliate link) enough. Absolutely fantastic for day-to-day communications and speaking in front of people.
If you’re interested in speaking at conferences, the Technically Speaking newsletter is excellent. It’s targeted at women, but has fantastic content for anyone interested in speaking at technical conferences.
Launching my email list!
And in the spirit of step #2, I’m using this post as a launch platform for my (eep!) mailing list. Sign up using the form below, or on the signup page. The fact is, I do more things around the internet these days (and speak at conferences in person) so this is an easy way for me to let you know:
- When I’ve published an article on another outlet
- When I’m speaking at an upcoming conference (+ discounts and ticket giveaways, most likely)
- The latest episodes of Turing-Incomplete or guest appearances on other media
It will be monthly, on some basis I figure out (the 1st? the 25th? the full moon?), and I don’t sell names ever. So, have at! N.B. this form does NOT give you feedback that you submitted (ah, low effort embedded code), but you should get an email confirming your signup. If it’s too weird, use the signup page instead.