A few months ago when I began school and started training to become a Web Developer I decided to create an Instagram coding account called @kaykay.codes to track my journey, share my thoughts and experiences and network online with others in the web dev community. What I’ve gained and learned since then is much more than I could have asked for. I’ve grown to really appreciate and understand how important a community is (especially as a newbie) in the coding world. I would even argue that it’s the backbone of programming – we are nothing without each other! Community gives us purpose, understanding and knowledge. There are many benefits to belonging to them and I would like to share some of those with you.
We get each other
A community allows us to support one another and empathize in our struggles. As Web Developers we are often behind our computer screens plugging away at projects creating functions and debugging code. The frustrations we experience while doing these things are unique to our profession and sometimes only other Web Developers can understand. Your mom and boyfriend don’t really “get it” a lot of times. Sometimes you just want to be able to explain how frustrated you are because the console is not logging the information properly from the function you created and have someone give you some useful feedback on how to solve it. Other developers will get this and can help you.
There’s a flavour for everybody
There are a lot of communities out there and it can be difficult to navigate some on your own, especially as a newbie. The good news is there’s a flavour for everybody based on your interest, race, specialty, ethnicity, location etc. I belong to a small Telegram group called Coding Queens which is a group of underrepresented Black women in tech. The group came together as a way for us to share experiences and resources and to support one another. It’s basically a sisterhood of amazing smart women who’ve come together in support and solidarity while we all navigate through our careers in STEM. Women in the group hold a range of positions including but not limited to Web Developers, Data Scientists, Engineers and students. We’re located all over the world and I’ve learned a lot from these women through storytelling, tips and resources we share with one another. Here are a few more communities that I belong to:
- Dev Community
- Tech Ladies Facebook Group
- Women in Web Dev Facebook Group
- Instagram (you can start your search with #webdevelopment)
- Diversify Tech
- Coding Queens (Telegram group)
We are each other’s biggest fans
The Instagram community that I’ve become apart of is literal gold for me. I’ve made friends and been able to network online and follow the journey of other developers and those in the tech space. People post a lot about their progress which includes sharing what new languages they’re learning and projects they are working on. We are each other’s biggest fans and I always get a load of compliments and words of encouragement when I post about a project I’m working on, frustration with a new language or accomplishment. It’s like we all want to see each other win, including me. It feels great to see others who are senior in their experience to mine doing what I’m working towards. Knowing that their careers have allowed them some wonderful opportunities to do workshops and speaking engagements, travel around the world, and make valuable contributions to cool projects they work on feels great. It shows me that I can dream big and gives me more things to aspire to.
You stay on the beat of what’s going on
Belonging to a social group centered around a mutual interest will keep you up to date on what’s going on in the industry. There are countless conferences, meetups and workshops happening at any given moment. The groups you become apart of will likely make announcements regularly about these events and could also have inside details on scholarships and discounts you might not otherwise know about. Conferences also sometimes give out special tickets to members of certain groups.
Job opportunities, scholarship opportunities, speaking opportunities. Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities! I can’t say it enough. There are countless opportunities that can become available to you when you’re apart of certain communities. The Women In Web Dev group I belong to sends out a weekly newsletter that points to a list of job opportunities available. I love it and look forward to it dropping in my inbox every week.
I would encourage you to seek out a few communities of your own to join based on your own unique interests. I promise you won’t regret it.