Don’t Be a Ghost Coder: How to Make Social Media Work for Your Career
Why social media is important for developers to advance their careers and earn more money.
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If you’ve ever come in contact with programmers before, you’d have noticed that their entire lives are built around codes. There’s no socializing (including social media) because they practically sleep, eat and breathe codes.
Most programmers that I know have had to cut family and friends out of their lives at one time or the other to maximize coding time. At times, food and sleep are sacrificed at the altar of coding. You’d be forced to ask if coders really have a life or they only live for others.
If you ask me, I’ll tell you that I know how it feels to write code because I’ve been there. My very first challenge with programming was during my third year in college. We were taking classes in C, and each student was required to write a program as a mini-project that would form part of his assessment.
While some guys got pretty easy topics, some of us weren’t so lucky. In my case, I was to write a program that would calculate the cumulative GPA of students for a whole semester. Not so easy, you would say.
I found myself completely immersed in an assignment that I wasn’t well grounded in. For 5 straight days into the project, I couldn’t concentrate on any other thing. Food slipped from my priorities. I wasn’t even conscious of hunger. Sleep, too, was irregular.
I just wanted to write code. I was basically jumping from one C programming textbook to the other, and watched a handful of video tutorials, with the hope of getting a clue. After fourteen days of serious toiling with codes, I finally ran the code for the umpteenth time, and there I was. The program ran successfully, to my greatest surprise.
Hurray! It was a deeply engaging experience for me.
Although, the joy that I derived from successfully completing my project had over-shadowed the challenges I faced. All that stress didn’t count anymore.
That’s the typical life pattern of an average coder. Even the best coders know that the only way they can be better is by writing code all the time.
If you’re a freelance coder, you need to be at your best to be able to attract more clients. And that’s where you need to consider the business part of what you’re doing: sharing your works, building connections, doing proper accounting (no need for anything technical; a simple software like NumberCruncher is enough) and legally protecting your work.
The reality’s that being a talented coder is only a half of the battle; the other half is promoting your talent. This is where getting active on social media comes in.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about those gangs of social media users who go online to gossip about girls with the hottest hips.
I’m talking about you showing up on professional platforms such as LinkedIn, GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Discus where prospective clients and employers can easily find you. Believe me, if you’re not active on social media, you’re probably a little ghost coder and your business won’t expand. Although your lack of social media activity won’t make you a bad programmer, it can only limit your chances of excelling as a programmer.
Two Ways Social Media Can Help Your Career
Here are two ways you can use the social media to your advantage.
1. Earn More
Sincerely, no one will ever notice your genius if you don’t stick out your head and interact with other people. Making yourself more visible exposes you to more challenges, and also improves your career prospects.
To do this, I strongly recommend that you start a blog that you can monetize. You don't need a huge budget or some genius to do it; there are blog hosting guides and tutorials online to help you all the way. Even if you don’t know a thing about SEO basics, engaging people on your active social media page can drive tons of traffic to your blog.
The more engagement your blog gets, the more your chances of earning a decent income. Soon, you could upgrade from doing free works and paid freelancing to actually forming your own company, landing juicy contracts and hiring other programmers.
2. Learn More
Share knowledge, interact with other developers and leave a legacy for upcoming ones. Create a public profile with Stack Overflow, the largest programming site on the Internet, where millions of programmers from around the world ask and answer highly technical programming questions.
You could also get on GitHub, (a programming and code-sharing community) and work collaboratively with other developers to build software in the way that works best for you.
These are great avenues where you can learn from other peoples’ experiences and get discovered too – instead of hiding in your cocoon and hoping to get picked.
Because you’re a programmer, you’re part of the reason why social media is the biggest thing on the Internet today. So it’s time to turn your focus on it and make it work for you too.
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