Yes, you heard me right, Even a programmer like me needs a “brand.” Everyday, the world is becoming more and more interconnected and this is becoming even more important with success of LinkedIn. Traditionally, developers were stereotyped as antisocial geniuses that hid from the light, with a pocket protector and broken glasses. You can’t be that guy anymore and compete in today’s workplace. You need to be out there. More and more every day, recruiters are using social networking to find their hires. Your resume is no longer the only thing people look at when they try to decide if they are going to hire you.
Think about this for a second, You are a recruiter, you get two applicants, Bob and Tom, both have good resumes, they both have good job history and experience. You do a quick search on Bob, nothing comes up. You search for Tom, you hit the jackpot. You find his LinkedIn, his Twitter, even his Github. Tom has been a busy boy, He has a lot connections on LinkedIn, he has been productively contributing to groups, lots of people have given him recommendations and confirm his skills .You find our he is a core contributor to a relevant open source project. Which person do you think you should more interested in? Bob? Or Tom, whom you have great deal more verifiable information on? You got it, it’s Tom all the way.
Ok, you got me. How do I build a brand?
Start doing. One step at a time. What are good at? Do you like writing? Start a blog. (If you hate writing, don’t start a blog)
What should you write about? Stuff you know a lot about, stuff you are passionate about. If you are good at embedded development, if you love it, write about embedded development. Don’t write about things you don’t care about. If you have don’t care, it will bleed through and you won’t be doing yourself any favors.
I recently wrote a blog post, it was the first time I had wrote a blog post of that type. It was a subject I really cared about. I have gotten way more reaction to that blog post than I have for any other blog post that I have done. The reason I got such a good reaction to it, was simple, I really felt the subject matter and it was personal to me. I was even lucky enough to have Itamar Haber of RedisLabsInc, pick it up and think it was worth telling the Redis community about it. Moral of the story, talk about what you care about it, in a positive way and good stuff will happen.
Get on social media, get a Twitter or a LinkedIn account use it. Be positive, Talk about things you know and are passionate about. Don’t get suckered into flame wars. Follow people who are in the know in your field social media. Interact with them. The first time is always the hardest, it gets easier each time. Check out people like John Sonmez, and how he brands himself as a programmer. Learn from him, try to do better. Follow influencers in the general social media space, like Gary Vaynerchuk. The majority of my social media knowledge(I am not an expert, yet) comes from him.
Just go out there and do positive, constructive things, watch what happens, learn from it. Then do better. You will be amazed by what will happen over time.