because you WILL mature as a coder when engaging with a programming community
It’s no secret that the life of a developer, especially that of a freelance developer, can be pretty isolating. Truth is, the more into the code we get, the more we don’t get out. We spend all of our time eagerly plugging away at our keyboards, looking for that pesky bug or learning a new way to build an app so that it stands out from all the rest. Because we’re so focused on the screen in front of us, we tend to forget to think of our networks as a programming community when in fact, that is exactly what they are.
One of the reasons developers get so locked into their work is their passion; this shared passion translates into an amazing resource, as developers love to work together to find solutions, discuss new technologies, and share useful tips about networking and freelancing. Being a part of a programming community allows you to share and participate in this knowledge sharing.
There’s no doubt that you can benefit from joining some a programming community. What’s tough is finding the right programming or web development community for your needs. So we’ve pulled together a list of our favorites, making sure to include a range of useful sites fit for developers at any stage in their professional development.
Check them out and remember that these communities are all about give and take. Once you’ve found a niche that works for you, make sure to get involved by helping other developers solve their problems. Joining programming communities are a great way to connect to a support network of millions of developers, find answers to burning questions, and stay on top of your game by helping others.
- StackOverflow - the programming community to keep in your shortcuts
StackOverflow is an absolute must as a programmer community site for anyone who is serious about web development and programming. Since its founding in 2008, it’s been the go-to sites for over 4.7 million developers. It is without a doubt one of the best places to find an answer to pretty much any coding question, and you’ll be able to get over the hump very fast since the average response time is just ten minutes.
The site rewards users who answer questions often and do so thoughtfully, so you can rest assured that you are receiving top notch advice anytime you are looking for help. StackOverflow also helps ensure this by suspending users who demonstrate any unhelpful behavior.
The only drawback to this programming community is that there is so much going on, it can be especially daunting for the novice developer. StackOverflow also run other communities for programmers and developers such as StackExchange.
- Toptal an up and coming developer community
Toptal is the site to head to if you’re looking to join a network of extremely talented developers, if you’re in the market to hire a developer, or if you’re looking for a professional development tune up. Toptal is an elite network of thousands of remote freelance developers from over 100 countries, all of whom have passed a rigorous set of tests that prove they are the top talent out there. All the articles on the Toptal Engineering Blog are written by network developers, and the topics range from how to make remote work work for you to how the latest trends are changing the industry.
Toptal also has a resources page with hiring guides, interview questions, and example job descriptions for a wide variety of languages. These are all designed for employers, but they function as great interview prep tools to make sure you’re ready to put your best foot forward with potential clients.
Finally, Toptal hosts community events and meetups nearly every day all over the world. These are great chances to connect with Toptalers in person, whether you want to learn more about working remotely and the future of freelancing, about the screening process, or if you just want to dive into rigorous conversations about the direction of the tech industry. All in all a great up and coming programming community which will surely become a household name very soon.
- Developers Forum - a programming community forum
Developers Forum is an easy to use, no-frills programming community that hosts a wide range of forums on various topics from CSS and HTML to SQL and Ruby. The website doesn’t need much introduction because it’s incredibly straightforward. That’s why we we like it so much. The forums cover all sorts of questions, from client-side development to server-side development and site management, and while the discussions are rigorous, it’s definitely a less intimidating atmosphere than Stack Overflow.
We especially recommend Developers Forum for beginners.
Github is a different type of development community from the rest on this list, in that it doesn’t easily facilitate much back and forth communication between developers, but it does make it super easy for users to share their code. This makes GitHub an awesome coding and programming community if you want to find other developers to get down to the nitty gritty with you and collaborate on very fine details. It is also a great resource to help you find other developers’ code that might be applicable or helpful for in your project, sparing you lots of time by making it possible to cross-reference other projects and not have to always start at square 1.
GitHub is also a great place to spend time finding inspiration, as you can keep tabs on an incredibly wide variety of other projects developers in the community are working on. Because it’s not very conversation based, we might pair Github with a forum based community to maximize the support you’re getting on all your projects.
If you’re at all interested in building programs for Firefox, Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is the community to join. You can find out about the newest updates, common bugs, and how to craft websites for mobile devices on the site. MDN also provides a ton of information about all of Mozilla’s products and how to use them properly. The network also gives you access to a whole host of features that are useful more broadly, even if you have no background in Firefox development. They have a bounty of vibrant newsgroups, listservs, forums, news updates, and standards communities.
If you want to get the latest news on what’s going on in the development world, it’s definitely a good idea to sign up for a couple of these.
SAP Community Network (SCN) is the go to place if you’re a developer focusing on business coding. If you don’t know what that is, business coding is used for businesses looking to build powerful and efficient client-side servers. The primary language is ABAP, though you’ll definitely find that some business programmers use Java. If you already know all of this and are looking for a deeper dive into business coding, there’s no better place for you than SCN. This programming community hosts events and webinars, sets you up with a mentor, makes it possible for you to download some sample code. It’s a great place for business coders looking to sharpen their skills and for new developers looking to get started in business coding like.
Like StackOverflow, Experts-Exchange is a programming community forum that rewards users who are very active on the site. This makes it one of the most vibrant communities around, and because it requires a membership fee, you can be sure everyone on the site is a serious developer. Here’s how this particular rewards system works: every time you post a question, you have the power to assign a certain amount of points to all the users who provide an answer based on how helpful they were to you.
The downside with Experts-Exchange is obvious: you have to shell out some money, but by doing so, you get to cut through the mess of amateurs and get access to very high level discussions about major coding challenges.
These are only a handful of the programming communities that are there for you to explore. Each one has its own distinct personality and aims, which attracts certain types of users. This list should be used to get you started, filling you in on the vast variety of support networks available to you. But don’t let it hold you back. Remember, there are hundreds of programming communities out there, and there is absolutely no downside in getting involved in a few of them. If you’re interested in communities dedicated to particular languages or platforms, they are just a google search away. And don’t forget, there are plenty of meetups in person which provide a great opportunity to get out and remind yourself that developers are as helpful and amicable in person as they are passionate and dedicated to the work on their screens.
What about you? Which programming community are a part of and what others should we feature on this article?