This is part II of a multipart series titled How to get a developer job in Seattle, or Anywhere.
- Part II – Build a resume
- Part III – Get some creds
- Part IV – Strut your stuff
- Part V – Tap into some resources
- Part VI – Put your community to work
There are many powerful tools online that will help you quickly and easily create and raise your profile within a targeted community. Luckily as a developer there are a few industry standard ways to gain visibility. The following are the list that I recommend. When Steve first started on his journey to being acquired by a WordPress shop he was not using any of these tools. Within 6 months of starting this process he was well known enough that when people saw his name they associated him with a WordPress developer who is active and known in the community.
IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat and has been around for a very long time. Freenode is one of the largest chat networks in the IRC world, and possibly the internet as a whole. Freenode hosts chat rooms for many open source projects, and many other development groups in general. If you are a WordPress user or developer get on and join the #wordpress room. You will find people on IRC generally have a wealth of information. Joining a chat room can be intimidating. Feel free to join rooms and sit and watch (called “lurking”) until you understand how the room works and feel comfortable talking. When you are comfortable chatting watch for any easy questions you know the answers to, feel free to also ask your own questions. This give and take will help people appreciate that you have something to offer and will kick start relationships you can benefit from when looking for a job, or it may even directly provide a job if someone in the room is looking for an employee.
Many people scoff at the idea of Twitter. I did too, but regardless of naysayers Twitter has marched on and amassed a huge user base. Most companies and professionals now have Twitter accounts. Twitter is a useful way of following professional news and learning who is who in the community. Twitter has the concept of hashtags, hashtags are a way to group related content together to make it easier to find as a user. Get on Twitter and do a search for keywords in your field. In the WordPress field you would search for #WordPress. If you know of a specific event it is likely that the event will have setup their on Twitter hashtag. Be sure to follow that hashtag to learn who is participating in the events. Another WordPress example is the annual Seattle WordCamp conference, which uses the hashtag #wcsea. Start following the people you see tweeting about the hashtags you are following. Pretty soon you will start seeing who is interacting with who and can form an idea of the relationships within the community and how they work. Now you need also to start tweeting using the hashtags and responding to other peoples tweets also. This will put you on the community’s radar and if you are putting out useful content people will start following you back when they see you are an active member of the community.
Every project Steve subcontracted on, and every company he interviewed with, asked for examples of projects he worked on. Having a handy place to point potential employers to to see examples of what you can do is important. GitHub to the rescue! GitHub is a social coding website. It provides near limitless free repositories under your account where you can host projects and any other code that you think may be useful for potential employers to see. An additional benefit to using GitHub is the experience you will gain with the git code versioning system. Almost every company is using some sort of code versioning system today, and git is fast becoming the system of choice. Go sign up for a free GitHub account today and start sharing your code with the world.
Those are three of the big tools used in the developer community. Your community may have more, and it may not even use all the tools I listed here. That is why it is important to start plugging into the communication systems in your community. You will quickly see what tools are being utilized. And do not forget about mailing lists! I know they are pretty oldschool, but they are still very heavily used on many project, such at WordPress, MediaWiki, and Meetup.com, so do not cast them off too quickly.
Stay tuned for the next article, coming out tomorrow!