Hackernoon logoHow to networking as a self-taught developer, a real-time experiment by@gilmrjc

How to networking as a self-taught developer, a real-time experiment

Gildardo Adrian Maravilla Hacker Noon profile picture

@gilmrjcGildardo Adrian Maravilla

Prelude

Here goes the TL;DR (believe me, it is the TL;DR) version of my story . . . I always loved science. When I was about 12 my parents got a computer with Internet access. I learned to program the hardest way posible (if you want to know, I heard about hackers and the papers I got were about reverse engineering, so my first language was x86 ASM via debuggers. IMHO the best thing to understand computer, I don’t regret that). After not knowing anything I get the sensation of power and I became addicted to programming. As time passed I learned about web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS), backend (PHP & SQL), Sysadmin (Linux, bash, the life inside a terminal) and the must-know (C, Java). I learned a lot more stuff, but this is the short version of the history.

All of this was before 2010. Things were pretty simple in those days. I entered college that year and remember, I love science. Because that I studied physics, no CS. I discovered that I don’t like physics much but my real love are mathematics. Almos a year ago I get an idea and tried to run a startup. It failed but I returned to programming. Things have change a lot in half a decade. After that, I got a job in a Web Agency but was a terrible experience. We worked with WordPress and for me it wasn’t exiting. I didn’t quit, my boss moved somewhere else and suddenly all of us were unemployed. It was that bad. When I was there I met some really interesting people and we started our own company this month, but some of the people I met work remotely for startups (I live in Latin America) and they told me to look for a job like them. This is what happened in my life the last year.

The experiment

I decided I want to work as a programmer. People around me say I’m good at it. The problem is that I don’t know anyone outside my friends in this business, I have no experience besides my terrible job and my own experiments, I am not in USA or EU, I don’t have a CS degree (or any degree at all because I haven’t finished college but that’s another story), and I’m scare to send my non-existent CV to job boards. I have to be honest, I’m not sure what I want to do as a coder. Freelancing? Work remotely? Run another startup? Stay with my friends and run a development agency? What I’m pretty sure is that I need to know people to make any of those ideas to work. Want a job? Seek for contractors. Want to run an agency/freelancing? Seek for clients. And after meeting people I need to show my skills.

I’ll do an experiment. I am going to do some networking to meet people and try to show my skills as part of this networking. This is my plan:

  • Reach out people on Twitter. Follow them and get up-to-date with the latest news.
  • Blog about my experiences. I am thinking of blogging in Medium the steps of this experiment and the results, and blog about technical stuff in my own blog.
  • Blog about TDD and Python. I loved Python and I haven’t seen anything related to testing that I like, maybe this can be my contribution back to the community.
  • Blog about JS stacks. If I could I would use Python for everything but JS is the new leader and you need to know it to be employable.
  • Become part of the Reddit community. I’m not sure how to use Reddit or how it works, but for me this point means looking for interesting post and comment on them. I want to join the discussion with people that don’t get comments because I know how it feels to be lonely when you post something. Some stories I’ve seen in Medium say Reddit is full of haters and flame wars. I want to participate in topics that people doesn’t find provocative but are worth discussing.
  • Be an active member of StackOverflow and Quora. Answer at least 5 question a day. This is the best way to show your skills and help people at the same time. I even can learn a lot surfing these sites because, well, I’ve learned a lot in theses sites.
  • Make a portfolio. I want at least one front-end project a week and two back-end projects a month. Maybe one project for every major framework, that means for me: Angular 2, Ember, React, VueJS, whatever people tell me about, for the FE; and Django, Flask, Rails, and some NodeJS (I don’t know about frameworks for Node, it seems like you glue several parts together but Express and Sails are good references points for me) for BE.
  • Write something about Project Management. I enjoy the agile way of doing things. Maybe some portfolio projects are going to be used as study cases for best practices in project management.

This is what I want to do for the next three months. I hope I can build a name for my self, meet interesting people, learn a lot about programming, and I am open to whatever may happen as a result. Maybe someone offers me a job, maybe I get a client and run my own company, maybe I find a place inside a new startup as founder. Who knows? What I am sure is that this can be a fun experiment.

My first task

I don’t know who is who in the different areas so my first task is to create lists in twitter for every topic I’m interested in, add people, and ask them to recommending me more people to follow. This looks like a good way to start a network. I will blog about the result in a couple of days. Any suggestion about what else should I do is welcome.

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