It can be challenging for new developers to grow their professional networks. Many have a tendency to be intimidated when first getting started, and are prone to questioning their value.
The following speaks to four approaches new developers can take to overcome these challenges. All of them center upon the notion of being helpful.
Contribute to open source
Contributing to open source allows new developers to find existing projects they’re interested in, and creates opportunities to collaborate with experienced developers already contributing to them. Moreover, companies of all shapes and sizes leverage open source projects in their everyday operations, and often recruit those who contribute to the projects they work with.
Here are a few great resources new developers can use to find potential projects of interest:
- GitHub Explore: Popular and trending projects.
- GitHub Stars: Projects starred by other people.
- GitHub Showcases: A way to discover related repositories.
- Designer News: Front-end development and design projects.
Participate in a hackathon
Along with contributing to open source projects, new developers can grow their networks by participating in local hackathons (like Hack Upstate). Hackathons provide rich opportunities for new developers to meet with and collaborate alongside those with more experience. Not to mention, hackathons provide new developers opportunities to connect with company sponsors who are often there to recruit.
Organize a Meetup
Just as open source projects and hackathons bring like-minded developers together, so too do regular Meetup events.
New developers can rapidly expand their networks by identifying an industry-related niche they’re interested in, and organizing a monthly Meetup around it. Becoming a Meetup organizer is particularly useful to new developers as it creates a mechanism in which those within the community will gravitate to the Meetup organizer. It also provides opportunities for organizers to network by encouraging those from within the community to give presentations, deliver valuable content and promote their industry-related efforts.
Contribute to StackOverflow
Another adept way for new developers to grow their professional networks and enhance their digital presences is by contributing to Q&A sites likeStackOverflow and Quora. StackOverflow in particular offers new developers opportunities to seek guidance from experienced developers all over the world. Further, the developer community values those who ask good questions and provide sound answers, as doing so will benefit others in the future.
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For those new to development, growing a professional network might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. The developer community at large is an altruistic bunch with a unrelenting desire to acquire and disseminate knowledge. Developers who are anxious to learn new things and contribute to the greater good will be embraced and valued.
Be helpful and you will go far.