If you are interested in reading this article in Spanish, check out my blog:
The Developer's Dungeon
One of the things that took me a while to figure out, unfortunately, was that I was not alone out there.
I was a programmer in the wild, walking around catching bugs, reading documentation, and developing geeky products, some of them that people actually liked, still I was feeling quite lonely.
That changed for the better in the last year and a half, let me tell you why.
I realized that there was a whole set of people like me, feeling weird when talking about software, some of you probably don't have a group of friends who share the same likes as you do. You share articles that no one cares or you get excited by new tech that any of them have ever heard of, or maybe you are just starting and need some extra guidance or help on some specific issue.
Well let me tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, there are tons of us out there that live this way, and luckily, there is a way to get to know each other, Dev Communities. The fact that you are reading this blog post here is already a good start, but it is just the beginning.
No, I am not talking about an old shack in the woods where everyone grows their own food and code open source projects, although that doesn't like a bad idea either 🤔.
There are tons of places where you can meet other folks from the IT field, discuss, related, make relationships.
Before Corona was a thing I started going to meetups, you know, a few guys and girls seeing a talk, discussing frameworks, and eating pizza. Yes, my friend, that was THE good life, and we didn't know it until it was gone.
The days of the in-person meetups have long passed, but that doesn't mean meetups are still not out there. The good old meetup website still works, a lot of meetups still function although in an online manner. Start small, pick your city and tech you really like.
Maybe by checking my stickers you notice a pattern, Full Stack Antwerp sounds like a meetup, well it is. Everywhere I go, there will a new meetup to go and new people to meet.
Conferences are harder to meet people, everyone is super busy rushing for the next talk that you usually don't get to talk to a lot of them, lunch though is a perfect opportunity to do so.
I know, I know, there are no in-person conferences happening anywhere. Then maybe now is the correct time to assist some online conferences. Get the feeling of how they are and which kind of talks are presented there, do you think you can go to one when everything goes back to normal? now there are more free online conferences than ever, feel free to get your feet in the water without the risk of drowning.
It is also a great opportunity to get to know, at least by name, the personalities in our industry, maybe a new tech, a new book, something you would miss otherwise.
Yeap, can't get more simple than that, a moderated chat where all developers can express their opinions and share their thoughts. I think this is actually the best place to make friends right now.
Last year I joined a Discord community for Spanish-speaking techies, if you been following me you probably already heard me mention them once or twice before. It is called frontendcafe, but don't let the name trick you, there is a lot more than frontend happening there. Backend, IT, Hardware, Frontend, Linux, English practice, Algorithms, Design, even some healthy habits group and a channel where you can join while working and listen to music (yeap, like a real coworking space).
Joining this community has helped me meet some fantastic people. Expats like me, scattered around Europe, people from back home that we went together for pizza when I was visiting my parents(and so I could get a frontendcafe sticker of course).
I have met people that I can talk about tech, about sports, about investing, writing, whatever tickles my brain really. In times like these where relationships are hard to come by, especially being in a different country, this has become priceless to me.
Not only that but it has brought me a few opportunities that I never had thought I could get. Since I joined I:
- I talked about my experience moving to a different country on a Twitch live stream.
- I gave a talk on learning and improving your career through self-mastery for an NGO in Argentina.
- I joined freeCodeCamp as a writer.
- I currently meet with developers that need an extra hand as part of a mentorship program twice a week.
This might sound like bragging, but it is not. I am not an extroverted guy, I don't have many friends and I am usually scared of talking with other people outside of the virtual world, but being part of these online communities has helped me realize that there as a lot of folks like me out there, so I am using this as practice.
Eventually, things will go back to a pre-covid state, and when that happens I will make sure to bring the things I learned while on lockdown to meet new people, and also to get to know all of you in person. You can't go wrong with 🍕, 🍻 and 💻.
I hope you liked this blog post, if you did, don't forget to share it and tell me about it in the comments.
If you didn't I would also like to hear your input, please do so in the comments, I answer each one of them 🙂