Working in the field of web development has a much different feel than graphics design. The work is more task-oriented and requires a higher level of concentration and detail. Not to mention bug fixes, maintenance, or getting sites running live on a web server.
It seems the job of a designer is more creative and freeform. This holds true for development as well, except in a different ideology. The open source movement has dramatically changed the web design industry at its core.. And social media is a related industry with a tremendous backbone. Once you understand how social networks can help you as a developer you’ll be hard-pressed taking the Internet for granted!
When I first got started in coding websites it was much easier to work with a group of people. This is still the case with any modern-day large project. But with so many open source content management systems floating around, you are no longer required to work with people in the same physical space.
Network around and try to meet other passionate developers working on similar ideas as yourself. There are online forums, bulletin boards, and blog discussion threads where you can share ideas together. This is the best way to teach yourself new techniques as well.
But one of the biggest advantages is using one of these infamous open source CMS’. Most of the popular examples have been running for years now, and are coupled with a populated support forum. I’ve included just a few links to check out:
The Stack Network
To signup for an account you should visit the Stack Exchange website. From there you can connect directly to Twitter or Google, or register using an e-mail address. But once you’re in you can connect the same account details over each of their different sites. A couple popular communities are the pro webmasters and ux stack(there’s even one for WordPress).
You have the option of including some extra contact details on your profile page. It makes communicating easier, especially with other helpful members who can answer your questions. But the community isn’t just about grabbing quick fixes for problematic code.
You can also go through some of the recently asked questions and help answer folks who are struggling. If you’re a beginner then you likely won’t have as much knowledge to do this. But as you have more time to practice these skills should become easier to memorize.
Coding on Open Source
The recent trend of open source code has allowed for major improvements to rendering engines in web browsers. Webkit standards are being adopted by most 3rd party developers, including Microsoft and Mozilla. Web developers can host their code online for free and share it with a huge network of other devs from around the world.
The most popular example is GitHub which acts as a Git repository for open source code. This includes much more than HTML/CSS/JS – even up to software development with Java and C++. But the whole website also acts as a social network where developers may connect with each other via e-mail, chat, or personal message. You can setup teams of developers and work coding projects hosted on their servers.
Another cool resource Bitbucket is more private for personal projects. The system behaves very similar to GitHub, although profiles aren’t a huge aspect. I personally haven’t used the site very much – however I have read great things about their service in a few blog articles.
Write About your Experience
If you have some years of experience it may be worthwhile to setup a small blog of your own. Even if you just have a simple portfolio website, or nothing at all, you can still write tutorials and articles about coding practices and web development. Write about anything you know which would be helpful for others to understand and build products for the web.
Over time it’s possible you will aggregate a small following. Curious web developers will always be interested in learning about new techniques. If your content is good then it’s easy to draw in and captivate a small audience. You can further this success by running profiles on major networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Marketing is just as important and you can’t ignore the girth of social media.
Check Social News Websites
In the same vein as social media there is a popular sub-culture devoted to social news. This is a type of web application where the community of users becomes the editors. All stories are voted on and only the most popular articles will publish onto front page. Digg is possibly the pioneer in this industry – yet the web development niche has seen progress.
My favorite network is Dzone as it has been around for years and supplies great front-page content. Another popular choice is PHP Camp which is more devoted to PHP web applications. You can signup for free on either website and submit tutorials you find online, or alternatively submit your own blog posts.
A newer launch Source Canvas has been online for just a few months now. Their network is invite-only and requires administrator’s approval to register. But this leads to much higher quality submissions, which ultimately provides an excellent source for networking with like-minded people. Check out any of these brands and see if you can relate to the community.
These are just a few suggestions to get your name out there on the Internet. It’s important to keep trying new ways of marketing, and feel free to experiment with anything and everything at your disposal. The advancing Internet technologies as well as mobile devices will play a huge role moving forward into the 21st century. If you have similar ideas or websites for networking with web developers please share with us in the post discussion area below.