Personal branding thru social networking for software developers

This post is Day #1 in a series called Personal Branding for Software Developers.

Personal branding is not a new phenomenon. In fact the phrase was coined back in 1997 by Tom Peters and popularized by Dan Schawbel. However, the prevalence of the topic has skyrocketed in the past few years and now everyone is developing their own brand. But what is it exactly?

It can be defined in many different ways but essentially it is the act of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. It has as much to do with what you have done or are currently doing as with how other people see you in your profession. So even though you may not market yourself as a JavaScript guru others may see you this way and come to you constantly for help.

Social media is defined by Wikipedia as “media for social interaction as a super-set beyond social communication. Enabled by ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques, social media has substantially changed the way organizations, communities, and individuals communicate.”

The combination of using social media to create a personal brand has only become more prominent in recent years. Through the mistakes of many people we can see how slip ups in social networking can impact a personal brand. We can also see how a person can create a large following through the various social media outlets to become a well-known expert on a subject. It is the latter that you should strive for.

Many people can see the need for a personal brand for celebrities and for other professions who are constantly in the public eye. Jobs like sales people, realtors and health professionals rely on a public image to attract clients and to keep their name on the tips of people’s tongues. It allows then to set themselves apart from everyone else in a crowded marketplace.

Software developers, web developers and people in IT are in a different world. A great many developers want nothing more than to go about their business and be left alone to code. They want nothing to do with clients and they leave all handling of the client to the project manager. However this insulation comes at a price when it is time to change jobs. The old ways of blasting people with resumes and hunting through listings on sites like Monster, Dice and Workopolis are not cutting it anymore.

Today’s developers need to be online and connected. Everyone needs a social network and to work that network. Creating a network when we are unemployed or underemployed is starting too late. You need to build and maintain that network when everything is flowing smoothly. In fact, according to a recent study 80-85% said they found a job through a referral from a personal friend and 15% said they found a job through a social network.

By developing a personal brand you can attain the career goals you have set out for yourself. Perhaps you want to go from developer to senior developer to team lead to software architect. This could happen all within the same company or you may need to move around to do it. Along the way though you are going to meet and connect with people (your personal network). You will learn new things and become known for your knowledge in those areas (your image). You may then want to disseminate some of your knowledge (through a blog, Twitter, speaking engagements, etc.) and along the way you will be putting yourself out there as someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about their craft. And from there the sky is the limit.

In this series of articles I am going to talk about how to develop a personal brand through social networking tailored towards software developers. I will draw upon my own experiences of emerging from the background to developing my own blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn account, about.me page and connections with other services. I will share why I made choices to use certain products over others. I will also share some of the tips and tricks I have collected since I have started.

The articles in this series are listed below and I hope to publish one a day to this blog. Please follow along as I chart the creation of a personal brand:

Day #1: Personal branding thru social networking for software developers
Day #2: Developing your personal brand
Day #3: Creating a developer’s blog
Day #4: Using Twitter to promote your blog and your personal brand
Day #5: LinkedIn as your new digital resume
Day #6: Facebook – for personal or professional contacts?
Day #7: Using Google+ as a placeholder service
Day #8: Getting the most from your about.me page
Day #9: The many benefits of speaking at conferences
Day #10: Expanding your personal network
Day #11: Establish a uniform look for all your social media profiles
Day #12: Publicizing yourself on the web

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About Ken Cenerelli
I am a Programmer Writer, .NET Developer, Microsoft MVP - Visual Studio and Development Technologies, Public Speaker, Blogger, and Microsoft Azure Nerd. I blog regularly at kencenerelli.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

One Response to Personal branding thru social networking for software developers

  1. Pingback: 10 tips on submitting a conference session proposal | Ken Cenerelli

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