re: We're Stephanie Hurlburt and Rich Geldreich, ask us anything! VIEW POST

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Hey Stephanie!

I've really appreciated all your twitter efforts that center around inclusion of unrepresented voices in tech, promoting junior developer talent, and rethinking practices in our industry.

What motivated you to dive into engaging the industry and your network this way in your personal time? And do you have any advice for others that want to start doing more to make an impact in those areas ( for those who are new to the industry, as well as those with more experience + their own platform)?

 

Hi Niko! :)

I started a lot of my initiatives after I left the game industry, and had already started Binomial. Like the Mentor List here: stephaniehurlburt.com/blog/2016/11... .

It was motivated by processing some negative feelings about bad experiences I had in the industry (it wasn't all bad, but I had to work through these to fully appreciate the good), and wondering what to do about it. I saw a lot of people calling out issues, writing blogs and Twitter threads detailing problems in the industry, but that kind of work was so draining to me. I wondered, how can I help in a way that gives me energy?

And also, I originally started my platform as a way to promote myself and my work and meet other graphics programmers, but my business was doing well. More promotion was good, but I didn't need it as much as other people need it, so I wanted to amplify other voices. I remembered how hard it was to start out in the industry.

And lastly, the game industry tends to be very referral based. People refer people they trust for jobs, and don't necessarily even look at applications in the worst places! This is a really exclusionary practice. So I thought, if I can't stop these referrals from being so prevalent any time soon, what can I do now to help? I figured amplifying voices and connecting people to mentors helps build up the kind of personal connection to others needed for referrals.

At first I thought doing things like retweeting a bunch of junior coders' portfolios would lose me followers and I was willing to take that risk, but it's only been helpful-- to both me and others! Win-win! It's been absolutely heartwarming to see how much other people want to help those less fortunate than themselves. It totally brightens my day. It gives me energy.

If you're new to the industry and want to give back in this way, my #1 advice would be to do it, but be sure you're promoting your work too. Have a good website or github or portfolio or something, make it easy for people to find information on you, write about your work. Balance posts about yourself with posts amplifying others. As you keep rising, you'll be able to help more people.

And then you can share others' work! There's all kinds of ideas on how to do this, and happy to answer follow up questions too. One important thing I'd say to keep in mind is to reach outside your network as much as possible. See if there's a way to amplify voices who wouldn't otherwise get this chance, maybe who wouldn't have otherwise continued pursuing tech.

Hopefully that was a bit helpful! :) As I said, always happy to answer more follow ups.

 

Have a good website or github or portfolio or something, make it easy for people to find information on you, write about your work.

What part of this equation are new programmers typically lacking?

I see a lot of new programmers who understand that having a github is valued. But those that have a github often don't have a good readme, or documentation, or ways to learn more about the person who wrote it! And sometimes people don't have time to make a github (I've never had open source code online!).

If you don't have time to make a github, and even if you have one, make a technical blog! I'd say that's often better than a github. Write about projects you've done in detail, or tutorials on subjects you know. Tweet about it-- if you're a junior coder and you tweet @ me I'll always RT for more visibility.

And have a nice-looking website where people can see a summary of who you are and what you've done. You can use a template you've found online, it doesn't need to be fancy, especially if you aren't a frontend web coder. That's your introduction to strangers!

Join online communities too. Like The Practical Dev. ;) Or Twitter! Share your work and get the word out about what you do.

Tweet about it-- if you're a junior coder and you tweet @ me I'll
always RT for more visibility.

Do you have to be a junior? There are many of us getting started with blogging and other social endeavors in the development space.

For me retweeting it, yes, I'm putting a limit on juniors for now. I've already retweeted hundreds and hundreds of portfolios and blogs and such, if I opened it up to everyone I might completely overwhelm my followers. :P I might change that in the future though! And you should totally still blog and spread the world on sites like The Practical Dev.

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