Connecting With Your Community

I wrote yesterday about finding my thing and how making the transition from designer to developer has enabled me to build a career that is not only more personally fulfilling, but professionally successful.

Identifying a career you’re passionate about does not, however, ensure happiness and success.

Even in careers we love, there can exist a lingering sense of dissatisfaction, of something missing. Sometimes, it is simply the case that we have misjudged our passions, that the positions we seek out don’t line up with our expectations, or that an industry that once felt like the right fit has changed. Alternatively, it can also occur that we find a job or position we enjoy, but encounter a community or coworkers that are stagnant, uninspiring, or worse, downright hostile.

Identify What Is Missing

I loved being a designer—color theory, balance, white space, typography—all of these were topics I could get really excited about. I relished the creativity and hands-on aspects of design, the satisfaction making things.

But there was still something missing.

My first job out of college was spent working for a small advertising agency in my hometown. There were five employees, including me; I was the youngest by nearly 20 years. The digital branding agency I interned for in Germany had roughly ten employees, but while my coworkers were all close to my age, the combination of being new to the area and the language gap again left me feeling out of place. Years later, I still struggled to find a position and a company that truly felt like the right fit.

For me, the missing thing was community.

Connect with a Community

Enrolling in code school is in an instant invitation to a community—fellow students, teachers, staff, alumni—suddenly everyone knows your name. It’s an incredible high to feel like you’re part of something bigger. But time flies by, and before you know it, you’ve graduated and have a new job at a new company in a new city.

If you’re not careful, that feeling of community can feel like it evaporated. Code school lasts only a few months, and without the intense pressure to learn and engage daily, you can start to feel alone.

Keeping touch with the developer community is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

This mandate likely sounds a bit domineering, and it is. But consider this: I’ve contacted dozens of people in the tech community over the last six months, and every single one has been willing to help. In almost no other industry is this the case… so get connecting!

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