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Building your brand in the developer community

Left half: Building your personal brand as a developer. Right half: me, standing on stage giving a talk at a conference

I have spent quite a few hours over the last few years publishing tutorials, podcasts, newsletters, and videos in an effort to share my knowledge and expertise with the world. I've done my best to be intentional about establishing who I am online and in the working world, and I've tried to do it all in a way that feels natural to me. Fundamentally, my goal has been to build a personal brand that reflects who I am and what I care about, and attracts the kind of people I want to work with.

In doing so, I've learned a lot about what it means to build a personal brand, and it turns out I've developed some strong opinions on the subject.

By sharing your working expertise with the world, you can differentiate yourself from others in tech and gain recognition for your work. One of the best things about this strategy is that you don't need anyone's permission - this is especially helpful if you don't have a fancy college on your resume, or you are moving into a technical career path for the first time.

Boiled down to its absolute core, this is my advice for you:

Figure out what feels most natural to you, and do that.

Whether you're writing articles or a newsletter, building demos or tutorials, producing videos, making memes -- the medium doesn't matter. What matters is that you are consistent and authentic in your approach. If you're not sure what that looks like for you, consider this approach:

  1. Keep a list of people whose voices you value, whether they're in your field or not. What draws you to them, and not someone else? What do they do that you identify with?
  2. Start writing down things that interest you day to day - when you find yourself going on a deep dive in wikipedia or google, make a note. That can be a great seed for something to write about.
  3. Set a publish date for yourself (when I started, it was every Friday morning). Smash some words onto the page (or whatever makes sense for your medium of choice), and hit publish. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be out there.

You'll get better with time, and you'll find your voice. You'll also find that you'll start to attract the kind of people you want to work with. That's truly one of the best things about putting yourself out there.

Resources I use to manage my menagerie

As you might imagine, one consequence of me publishing stuff all over the web is that it gets a little complicated to manage it all. I have done my best to be super intentional about keeping my processes minimal and functional - I don't want to spend a lot of time managing the information I share. I want to spend my time creating it.

Here's some of the things I use to keep an eye on what I'm making:

  • Detailed SEO Extension - this is a Chrome extension that I use to do a quick audit of the SEO metadata for web pages. It's super helpful for checking the SEO of new articles on my site before I publish them. cop

  • Sketch - I use Sketch to create all of my the images and illustrations I use on my site. It's a great tool for creating vector graphics and it's super easy to use. If you're not a mac user, or work on a teamFigma is a great alternative.

  • Squoosh is a utility I use all the time for reducing file size for images. It's a drag-and-drop web interface that can help you shrink big images by as much as 95%!

  • 👾 Do you have a README set up on your GitHub account? Do you have a personal website? This week I shared a tutorial on how to sync your GitHub profile page with your next.js site, so that you can have a single source of truth for your About me brand.
  • 🎙️ My philosophy on creating a personal brand: I spoke with my Pals CJ Avilla and Colin Loretz on their podcast Build and Learn this week. We talked about how I built my brand, and how I think about building a personal brand. You can listen to the episode here and subscribe in your podcatcher of choice.

Thanks for reading Tiny Improvements. If you found this helpful, I'd love it if you shared this with a friend. It helps me out a great deal.

Until next time - be excellent to each other!

Mike Bifulco headshot

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    Building your brand in the developer community

    Learn how to build a personal brand as a developer or product builder to differentiate yourself in the tech industry and gain recognition for your work. Authenticity and consistency are key to attracting the right people and opportunities. Follow these steps to get started.

    © 2019-2023 Mike Bifulco

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    Disclaimer: 👋🏽 Hi there. I work as a co-founder & CTO at Craftwork. These are my opinions, and not necessarily the views of my employer.
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