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How to Help your Local Developer Community


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communityPart of being a developer evangelist is helping support and nurture the local community. When you’re just starting something new, like developing in a new language, starting your own company, or even starting a new habit like reading a book every week, being a part of a community can be the difference between having a great…or having an awesome experience. But the thought of it may seem a little intimidating, so here are some tips to help you get started.

Look for communities

First things first–look for existing communities. There are a myriad of social networks /community sites that you can look into, but some starting points would be:

  • Facebook (searching or asking for friends–people love helping)
  • Google+
  • Google Groups
  • IRC

You’ll usually be able to find something searching for “Interest + City/State/Country.”

Look for events

After joining a few communities, try to search for and attend some events. There are countless websites you can try to search, but a few starting points:

  • Meetup.com for meetups
  • Lanyrd.com for conferences
  • Eventbrite for events in general
  • Social networks like Google+ and good old Facebook

Look for key people

Now that you’re starting to get a feel for how the communities are and how the events work, start to follow key people who are part of those communities, those who are constantly helping others and participating in healthy discussions. Look for them on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook (yes, you may follow some people on Facebook! But, don’t send friend requests to people you don’t know.)

Volunteer

Help your local community. Usually, small community organizers do what they do because it’s their passion. They usually have a full-time job, and do what they can in their spare time, so offer to help. Try and give a talk about a subject that you love regarding that community (just started using Go in your project? Give a talk about how the transition went!), help other participants in those communities, take pictures and help spread the word about meetups or events, connect people who you think might have things in common or who might help each other.

Organize your own events

Okay, so that’s all assuming you find a local community or events near where you live. What if you don’t? Well, the answer is simple, start one! All the websites and social networks are just as good to find things, as to help you organize your own. Even if there isn’t a community already in place, you can probably find communities elsewhere. Reach out to those people, ask them how they started, how their first meetup/event was, and build your own. Start a chapter of an already existing community, like:

  • Silicon Drinkabout (http://silicondrinkabout.com/)
  • Code.org (http://codeclubworld.org/)
  • RailsGirls (http://railsgirls.com/)
  • BlackGirlsCode (http://www.blackgirlscode.com/)

And most importantly, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, you can always make it better next time. If you have any questions or are interested in more advice, find me on Twitter @heitortsergent


Heitor is a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Passionate about hackathons, games and entrepeneurship.

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