How communities help to develop technologies

Andrew Gubskiy
Nerd For Tech
Published in
3 min readOct 17, 2022

When reading the announcements of the release of new frameworks, programming languages ​​and new services, our focus is the companies and development teams that work directly on their products. At the same time, we often underestimate the contribution the communities make to modern technologies’ development. Let’s see how significant this contribution of communities is and how it helps to develop technology.

The most part of developer communities is informal associations of specialists based on the enthusiasm of their members. These communities do not receive commercial benefits for their members or creators and are usually completely open — anyone can become a member by registering on the site or simply coming to a meeting.

What are the key goals for creating technological communities? Usually these are:

  • Communicating, discussing news and technologies.
  • Organizing meetings, inviting speakers and experts.
  • Creating and supporting open-source projects.
  • Helping in new members’ training.

If we look from the point of view of a community member, then we should highlight the following opportunities:

  • Possibility for members to ask technology developers for different questions.
  • Networking and new business connections — often community members can find a job or clients viareferrals from other members.
  • The opportunity to prove yourself as an expert by helping other community members, as well as developing your own projects that may be useful for the community.
  • The ability to influence the development process of the technology the community was created for.

Let’s take a closer look at the last point to understand how exactly communities can help to develop technology. There are three main points here.

First. The developer community makes a huge contribution to the popularization of technology. Speeches and publications in social networks, publishing books and helping your colleagues, creating, and supporting open-source projects — all of these have an incredible impact on how popular a particular technology is in the modern world.

Second. When it comes to open-source technology, it’s quite common for community members to be involved in fixing problems. The repository of almost each popular framework or library regularly receives dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of pull requests from the third-party developers who are often members of communities. It often happens that within the community, several developers start working together on solvinga problem, and then send their solution in the form of a pull request to the main project repository.

Third. Large companies that develop technological platforms are closely watching how developers perceive certain features of their technologies and what they expect. So, it is a common practice in Microsoft when independent experts from the MVP community can communicate directly with development teams and product managers. Thanks to this, a new version of a library or platform is no longer being developed “blindly” but considering the requests and recommendations of the developer community.

When we are talking about the current state of the IT industry in general and about communities, we can’t ignore the fact that when the COVID-19 pandemic started, a lot of things were changed in terms of communication. Previously communities and companies organized both online and offline activities, but now we can see that almost all events are online. Everything was moved to online, starting from the biggest tech conferences like Microsoft Build and Ignite conferences that are significant for the IT industry and ending with meetings and meetups of local user groups. These changes set new requirements for how fully and accessiblydeveloper communities should be represented on the Internet.

It is impossible to overestimate the benefit and contribution developer communities bring to technology development. Indeed, without this contribution, many beloved and popular technologies might not have become so.

Andrew Gubskiy
Nerd For Tech

Software Engineer, Ph.D., Microsoft MVP in Developer Technologies.