Why Start a Developer Community?

Becoming a developer community manager means having a lot of skills to grow a community but most of all it requires passion and the will to help the others.

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If there is something that has always fascinated us about the developer community environment, it is the collaborative spirit. Groups of people who gather united by the same interest for technology who are eager to learn, grow, improve and help each other thanks to the power of sharing.

Yes, if there is a rule number one in a developer community, it is sharing. The storytelling of experiences, the transmission of the knowledge to grow together, the will to meet other peers to teach and learn from one another, to inspire and be inspired, and to create contamination and innovation are the basis of most communities of developers.

During our long journey in this environment, we have experienced a predominantly laid back and collaborative environment. This is also reflected in the way of developing and growing the technologies that are used every day to create sites, applications, platforms and tools that will have an impact on our life.

Just think of our modern relationship with technology. It’s everywhere in our lives. And, developers know it better than anyone else because they have made it possible.

As Brian Solis — Global Innovation Evangelist @Salesforce and Community Management expert — once said: “Community is much more than belonging to something; is about doing something together that makes belonging matter.”

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And this is precisely the key concept: creating a community in the tech field generates a strong sense of belonging but also means making your own contribution and collaborating with the members of a community to achieve something bigger. This is the open-source philosophy, literally “open resources” made available for the common use and in constant need of further free contribution from the developer communities.

This is where tech communities deliver their real value in terms of performance, quality and solidity by aggregating people around common interests to collaborate on an equal footing to achieve key objectives like improving a programming language or a specific technology.

If you believe in these values and want to play a pivotal role in fostering the technological growth of our society, then you might be a potential community founder. Although this is all but n easy thing to embark upon, if you become a good developer community manager, there are several advantages that you should be aware of. Of course, you will discover them as you go through this article.

There is no better way to develop your skills as a next-to-be community manager than to be an active member of a community. Just by speaking in public or simply organising an event can open up new possibilities for you. As you know, most times, it’s just a matter of leaving your comfort zone. And, when you do, you could be surprised to have some hidden talents.

It’s an opportunity to improve your public speaking skills. Or, you may have to deal with the logistics organisation of a meetup or a tech conference, and in this case to get to know the world of event organisation, like how to book a location, how to manage a catering service and so on.

Developer community management encompasses many skills and activities, from organising events to fundraising up to online and offline communication activities.

Furthermore, bringing a new talk to a meetup or a conference is often a pretext for learning and studying new technology.

developer community
developer community

Cultivating a community means knowing many people. Networking will help you expand your network of contacts and your knowledge base. You will be able to make yourself known and make your projects known as well. And, you will also be able to involve valuable collaborators in your projects.

Attending meetups, conferences, and any online event regularly will help you grow a valuable network of peers and professionals from are niches and boost the awareness around your community. Interacting, connecting and networking is key.

Communities are important to pass your passions and knowledge onto others as well as to learn more. In the tech environment in particular by bringing new members in you increase the chances to support the technology you most love. Coaching and mentoring is another integral part of being a developer community manager.

You and the other mentors in your community can become the coaches other people will ask for advice to on the most varied themes like the best programming languages to learn, the ideal projects to face, the current and future challenges to overcome, etc.

Codemotion’s own community managers created this simple eBook to outline all the basics about managing a community of developers. All the essential skills, best practices and tools herein are based on their 8-year long first-hand experience while building our great community!

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Sharing, the magic word developer communities are based upon. Share with tour members and peers your experience and the challenges you have overcome over the years or that you are currently facing. Not only will this help others, but you might also get unexpected support or inspiration from other people.

Sharing is also powerful because it creates an emotional connection with your members, who in turn will be more eager to share and get involved.

Another aspect that you should consider is that within every community, there are members personas. Without digging much deeper into this aspect, focus on the fact that some of your members will be there to contribute actively. In contrast, others will act passively, looking or asking for answers to their specific needs. Others will be there to socialise.

And that is why you should take socialisation opportunities as part of your developer community’s activities.

Socialisation is an opportunity to get to know people from different backgrounds. By acquiring new perspectives, everyone can learn to approach problems and find solutions from a totally different angle or study new frameworks and methodologies that will contribute to the experience and the knowledge of each individual.

community of developers
community of developers

Developer communities are a unique opportunity for growth. What’s most important, you can start one even if you don’t have a degree in Computer Science or Engineering. It really depends on how passionate you are about something, even if it’s outside your professional sphere.

There is no doubt that by attending a community, you will grow your knowledge and be pushed to wanting to know more and more. No matter what your level, you will most likely find someone who knows something you still don’t and from whom you can learn. In turn, you’ll do the same with other members.

This simple flow represents the typical growth path a community of developers creates in time. In a community like Django Girls Italia, most women and girls who took part in our workshops were first-time participants. Still, many then became coaches and helped many others and eventually became workshop organisers and, in the most fortunate cases, even conference speakers!

Last but not least, being part of a community of developers entices making your own contribution to the development of the very same open-source technologies that you use for your projects. It’s a way to return a favour. By helping to develop, grow and maintain these technologies, or by actively participating in their distribution, you guarantee their survival and their growth.

And, if you want to push the extra mile, you can always become a speaker at tech conferences and talks. These are incredible opportunities to share how you’ve developed a project and why you used a particular technology.

Or, if you prefer a less direct approach, you can simply be available for questions even to people outside your community using social media channels like Twitter.

tech communities
tech communities

Summing up on why you should start a community of developers and become a community manager, there should be no better drive for you than to help other people. Communities are like a beautiful yet fragile ecosystem that is kept alive and vital thanks to the work of the people who are actively engaged, investing their resources and energies out of their free will and in return of nothing.

The community environment generates sharing, comparison, connections, collaborations and spread knowledge while feeding growth in all directions — technological, professional and human. Furthermore, actively participating in community life stimulates individuals to become more aware of their skills and acquire greater confidence.

Community managers are often people for whom the community has done a lot and who want to return the favour. They do it either by creating local sub-communities to the one they are already part of or by launching communities that are related to sub-fields of major technology. Or else they “fall in love” with new technology. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that any tech community, if made with the right principles and constantly supported by its founders and members, can contribute significantly to the advancement of any given technology.

Of course, the community manager, as a (co)founder, is the main driving force behind this. So, if you feel that you have taken a lot from communities and that it’s time for you to return something, starting your community of developers is definitely your way forward. Whoever has taken this path before describes it as a call or a mission they could not say no to.

If you have read this far, it’s most likely that you did too. If you want to move forward, we suggest you read further to avoid any doubts. Start with our guide on how to become a good or a better developer community manager. And if you have any further doubt or need help, do not hesitate to contact us or subscribe to our free platform made for community managers where you’ll find many of your peers to exchange ideas and advice with.

Codemotion has a long history of helping independent developer community managers build thriving and engaging communities. If you think you too could use some help signup to our monthly newsletter to get dedicated contents into your inbox!

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You can read the orginal version of this article at Codemotion.com, where you will find more related contents. https://www.codemotion.com/magazine/dev-hub/community-manager/why-start-developer-community/

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