Building a Public Profile as a Programmer

A few months ago, I watched the documentary “Get Involved!” by Rob Conery and Scott Hanselman. It is available as a free video course from Pluralsight. In the feature, Rob and Scott provide advice on becoming a “social programmer” in order to enhance one’s career prospects.

Below are my thoughts on the different channels they talk about.

Blogging

This is definitely my favorite medium. In my opinion, blogging helps me improve my writing while also providing a means to archive the knowledge that I am acquiring on a daily basis. On the other hand, it is not without challenges. I find it difficult to come up with good topics to blog about. Additionally, I often feel self-conscious about my writing style and the level of my knowledge of the topic I am writing about.

Twitter

There is an excellent walk through of this service in the documentary. I must admit that I stayed away from Twitter till recently. I was not sure that I wanted to deal with the flood of information given that I can barely keep up with my email. Also, the ephemeral nature of the medium makes it a very synchronous activity drawing away focus from anything else I may have going on. I finally signed up but I am not very active yet.

GitHub

This is probably the best option to showcase my programming abilities. I can help other open source projects or publish my own projects. While I have some work uploaded, I plan to be more active in the future.

StackOverflow

I use it a lot but have no interest in being a contributor.

Events

This includes the big conferences as well as regional user groups. As a regular participant in several local meetups, I have been getting value from networking and learning about new things. However, I realize that the real key to building authority and reputation is by being a presenter. I plan to do that soon, starting with lightning talks.

Others Not Mentioned

  • Slack: The local developer community is very active and I contribute where I can.
  • LinkedIn: While I have been sharing short blurbs and links, I have not yet utilized the option to publish long form posts.
  • Medium: This is definitely the blogging platform of choice at the moment. I am staying away just because I don’t have the time to create separate unique content for it.
  • Book: This is one of the highest forms of achievement especially if published traditionally. I do dream of doing it one day.

At this point in my career, my primary focus is on learning. However I do realize that I need to build and maintain a public profile as a programmer and that process can take a while. So I have been allocating some of my precious time to blogging, putting up code on GitHub and attending local Meetups of interest whenever I can.

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