Programming communities are so valuable because the life of a programmer can be isolated, especially if you opt to work as a freelancer or in a remote-first position. Even if you don’t have a solitary position, getting in touch with other programmers can make it much easier to improve your own skills and learn about new and exciting projects and technologies in the works. Luckily, there are a ton of amazing communities out there dedicated to helping novice programmers improve their skills, meet like-minded devs, and efficiently network with other experienced professionals.
Reddit is a massive community that touches on virtually all topics. It boasts thousands of sub-communities called subreddits, so finding a place to have endless conversations about niche programming activities is quite easy to do. Even though the site is fairly anonymous, networking can be done easily via the platform’s user-friendly mail and chat functions for users. Some popular Reddit communities for programming include:
You can find subreddits dedicated to everything related to programming, from beginner’s courses to advanced code resources, and casual chats to advice columns. The platform is easy to use and operates like a traditional forum, just more modern and user-friendly. You’ll get honest answers and helpful critiques, although trolls and users with chips on their shoulders pop up periodically. You can save, upvote, downvote, and share content with ease through the website.
The rules on some subreddits can be very strict and a little annoying. Be sure to read the rules before posting as you could find your account banned or your content restricted.
It isn’t the most diverse platform and you’re likely to interact mainly with programmers under 35 years of age– which can be a pain if you want to connect with professionals that have been in the industry for a longer time.
Designed like a social news website, this platform focuses specifically on computer science and the community does a great job of only sending high-quality content to it’s famous front-page. With HackerNews, you can submit links to technical content and show off your work to a large base of viewers. And it isn’t resigned to just coding– it’s a hotspot for discussions about hardware, branding, and even physics. The more technical the content however, the better it seems to do generally.
Perfect for experienced and established developers to further improve their knowledge and get the advice and feedback they need for their projects. It’s pretty easy to get engagement from other users on the platform. Because the community is smaller and well-kept, you won’t run into excessive spamming. Constant in-depth and open discussions about self-published projects and highly relevant technical topics.
The graphic design and UI of the site has left a lot to be desired and is frankly quite ugly. This was likely by design however, and the site is actually quite easy to use once you get over it’s early 2000’s look.
Lobste.rs is a community that is computing-focused and centered around discussion and link aggregation. This platform has been around for a few years and is quite popular with established and experienced programmers. It utilizes a tagging system to help filter submissions and has a “flag explanations” feature that makes having civil disagreements more enjoyable and helpful.
- Ideal for established programmers who want to learn more about coding and industry news.
- The user invitation tree has been very effective in combatting spam and trolls.
- The website and its user base have a strong commitment to remaining as transparent as possible.
- Tons of features, which may be overwhelming at first, but are ultimately quite useful.
- The vibe of the platform is very similar to Reddit, except it is smaller, more intimate, and only dedicated to programming news, advice, questions, and other content.
- The design of the platform is outdated like HackerNews or old-school Reddit, though some people prefer this
- Invite-only in order to post. You need to find someone in the cool-kids-club to get you a link.
Dev.to is a decent community of software developers with a focus on troubleshooting and advice. If you need help with a project or need some collaboration, Dev.to is a good spot to be. Even if you aren’t a super experienced developer or you’ve just started learning, it’s also a great resource for learning more about code.
The user base is one of the kindest on this list and is usually filled with developers who genuinely want to help each other. Can be a great place to network and get some much-needed exposure. The voting system for content is very forgiving, no downvotes and there are multiple ways to upvote content.
- Getting comments on your posts can be quite easy.
- Dev.to allows you to auto-repost from your own developer blog using an RSS feed. Something we use with this blog actually!
The community is quite inexperienced. Sometimes it can feel like the blind leading the blind. Developers with 3 months experience are writing posts about “how to do X”.
- URLs are automatically left as relative when importing markdown from RSS feed.
- Lack of post analytics is a serious loss for hardcore bloggers.
It might be a bit of a surprise to see this social media giant on our list. However Twitter can be a pretty great place to not only network with other programmers but also to keep your thumb on the pulse of the industry. Twitter is simple, you can use it to share content on other platforms, draft short tidbits to share with your followers, follow important figures in the development community, and contact or network with other developers in your niche.
- Setting up an account is easy and quick
- It’s an excellent place to marketing your own work or launch your coding publication
- There is a massive amount of traffic on the platform (with over 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users)
- The relative anonymity makes it easier for people to critique each other’s code, though this could be seen as a con as well
- The platform is known for being a hub for stress and negativity– even if you’ve only followed development and coding accounts
- Trolls, bots, and spam are an ongoing issue that can put a damper on your everyday experience with the site
Discord has many different servers where developers can chat in real time. We have our own Discord server for Qvault, so feel free to hop into that.
- Real-time chat
- One account, many servers and communities
- Channels can have many purposes, share content, promote projects, work on open source, etc
You probably want to use the desktop client, meaning it’s not easy to access the communities from the browser.
Slack doesn’t need much explanation due to its fame, and the key points are similar to Discord. The main differences are that Slack requires a paid plan to unlock some important features like persisted message history. There are many good servers, but one of my favorites is the Gophers server if you are into the Go language.
Github is a unique community in that communication between users isn’t all that simple. Rather, the focus of this platform is to allow developers to share their code in an open-source environment. While it may not be a great community for networking, it’s an excellent community for finding projects and people to collaborate with on the code itself. If you are looking to meet people you can:
- Get involved with conversations on new issues in a project you care about
- Open pull requests and contribute to existing projects
- Start your own project and invite your network to help
This online community is dedicated to helping developers share knowledge and improve their individual careers. A global platform, Hashnode is discussion-based, meaning users can communicate openly for networking, write stories, ask anonymous questions, launch polls, etc. Think of it as a social media platform for devs.
They also recently launched their ambassador program. You can use my referral link here: https://hashnode.com/@wagslane/joinme
- You can create your own personal blog with very few steps and no paywall.
- All posts are backed up.
- The site uses a comment/like/share system, so only the best (and valuable) content reaches the top.
- Their republishing system can’t be automated via RSS
- The sign-up process has too many options and can be overwhelming
Like Reddit, Medium is a large blogging platform that touches on pretty much every topic imaginable, it’s not specific to code at all. While the programming community on the platform is pretty small, that can actually make it easier to connect with programmers for the purpose of making friends or networking. It can be an excellent place to write and read programming content.
- It’s very easy to make an account and start writing and publishing well-formatted content right away.
- The website design is clean, simple, easy to read, and aesthetically pleasing.
- Importing articles from RSS is very easy and can be automated.
- The analytics and stats dashboard is free and accurate.
- The development and programming community is small and intimate.
- It can be difficult to get comments on your posts.
- The Medium paywall makes accessing a lot of content on the site difficult, and has angered the development community in recent years
- The premium content monetization system, while admirable, won’t make you much money unless an editor likes your article and gives it front-page exposure. In many cases, the best way to get “discovered” is by being invited to join a publication on the platform.
Facebook groups are easy to search up and find for any niche in programming you might want. This can be especially useful if you want to find geographically local groups so you can connect with other devs in your areas. You can do pretty much anything with Facebook groups, depending on the group you join– post code for critique, explore programming content, network, ask for advice, rant and rave about the industry, etc. Facebook also has Developer Circles, a program designed to help developers connect with local colleagues and share content.
- Members of groups tend to be more vocal and engaged with comments, rather than simply liking or sharing content.
- Closed groups tend to be more intimate and less riddled with trolls and spam, making them an excellent place to make friends and start learning code as a beginner
- Facebook’s groups are one of there most well-cared for product, mostly because it’s a huge money maker for the corporate giant
- It’s Facebook. Facebook kinda just sucks. Privacy issues and targeted ads are the name of the game.
- Groups are moderated like traditional forums, but there can often be little in the way of accountability
- Google searches won’t show Facebook groups, so it can be difficult to market them and increase their user bases
If you’re more interested in meeting very talented developers, Toptal could be the spot for you. Especially if you’re interested in hiring a freelancer for your own ongoing project. This network of freelance developers has users from over a hundred countries, and the blog section is written entirely by the userbase.
- Community events and meetups are posted around the globe.
- Access to high-quality connections and coding articles.
- The resources page makes hiring a freelance developer (or posting your own services) a breeze.
- Freelancers get a free trial at no cost to experiment with the job-seeker system.
- Everything is IP protected, vetted by many freelancers, and offers flexible invoicing.
- Freelance developers can access a wide range of potential clients based on experience, project type, and programming language.
- The platform is only web-based with no mobile app options.
- It can be difficult for small businesses and startups to connect with potential freelance developers, which can be a bit of an ethical issue for some.
How was our list of these awesome online programming communities? Which platform have you personally tried and enjoyed? We want to hear from you in the comments below.
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