Time to give back to the Dev community

2 minute read

circles representing people, connected by lines, forming a network

After eight years in software development, I decided it was time to contribute more to the developer community. And you know what? It feels good. So in this post, I want to share a few ways I found to contribute.

When I first had this plan, the idea was to write lots of blog posts with many tutorials and “How to” content.

Well, that didn’t actually happen. But I’ve realized there are many other ways to contribute. And most of those are things that were part of my routine, I just had to do it for a broader audience.

Stack Overflow, there is more to it than just answering questions.

So another one of my first ideas was to start answering questions on Stack Overflow. Which I did, and still do, maybe not on a regular basis.

My strategy was to go through the list of questions quickly, and answer the questions I had the solution out of the top of my head.

After doing that a few times, I noticed that I couldn’t answer many questions. Not because the problem was too difficult, but because the question was not clear.

That reminded me of junior developers at work coming to me for support. And how many times I had to ask the junior developer to stop and start again. This time, I would ask the questions to understand the problem better. What are you trying to accomplish? What have you tried so far?

With this realization, I could see the real value of the edit and comment features of Stack Overflow. Even if I might not have the answer to the posted problem, I could at least help them make it more clear so other contributors could answer it.

1 on 1 coffee chats

On my journey to contribute more, I started to engage more on Twitter. There is where I found out about the #100devs, this great initiative from Leon Noel to teach new developers from zero.

The people doing the BootCamp formed an impressive big community, and somehow I was in one of their threads. And they were talking about coffee chats. Where they would have quick talks with developers already working in the industry.

So I started to make myself available for those. Quick 15~30 minutes call. And the topics can vary a lot. From how I started, to technologies and skills I think are worth studying.

And those talks were really interesting. Talking with these people eager to start a software development career can give you a real boost to your motivation as well.

Conclusion (TL;DR)

I believe many devs like me don’t know how to start when they want to contribute more to the community. And i hope that with this post you can see that you don’t have to answer really complex questions on Stack Overflow or write tech tutorials (I haven’t given up on that one, though).

Here I gave just two simple ideas of how you can easily start contributing without having to commit too much of your time to it. By simply being available for a quick call, or making Stack Overflow questions more clear.

If you have found other ways to do it, please leave your ideas in the comments.

Image by alvaro_cabrera on Freepik