Personal brands for software developers

Reflecting on the progress we have made in our "nurture a culture of individual growth in a software team" initiative, I realized there is much to gain from candy wrapping our efforts. As per our plan, we'll be (and are) giving talks, doing research, and writing itch-scratching code. Coming out of shadows and presenting our efforts in a nice frame present many fold benefits.

My proposal is to invest energy in making our efforts more visible. To focus this emotion on a more concrete goal, I have chosen

Establishing a personal brand

I believe a person is a brand when (s)he is recognizable for the value (s)he carry and can contribute, without fresh proof. Building a genuine brand need genuine efforts. Efforts we are already making, and which can gain a boost if we focus on this short term goal.

Doing so will also incentivize us to engage more in our chosen activities. Our objective is personal growth of individuals involved in our team(s), and I believe visibility of this growth is important for its sustenance. The organization we work for, if it can see us growing new skills, will be able to leverage them, hence contributing more to our growth. Before I start fantasizing about all the good this can bring to us, let's brainstorm on

How can we establish ourselves as brands?

Being a brand is a completely dependent value. Unlike our technical skills, it is not something that can independently stand on its own. It is almost entirely dependent on other people. People decide how valuable you are as a brand. Thinking along these lines, I suppose the first natural step turns out to be

Step 1: Building an online presence

It boils down to having a home to showcase all the value we are delivering right now. For starters, this can be a personal website which can showcase the talks we are giving (since that is where we are investing most of our time). Eventually, I imagine at least incorporating all the steps we have chosen in our personal websites:

  1. Talks/Presentations section for the talks we deliver. Perhaps we can have "Review" section for the talks we attend
  2. A blog for sharing the discussions we have on Trantor forum, our research notes, thoughts, opinions and just about anything. Blogs are great for making noise and gather attention to yourself.
  3. A Portfolio for showcasing the open source(?) work we do, as a demonstration of our growing skills

Even though there are platforms for creating and sharing content, I firmly believe in having complete ownership of the content we generate.

Once we have a platform where we are creating and sharing content, then we can focus on

Step 2: Creating online visibility

Just creating content is not enough, there is too much noise all over the internet to get noticed organically. Once we have the bare minimum content creation pipeline, we can then focus on polishing things like how it looks, SEO, automatic sharing across social media platforms, analytic and data gathering, automatic updates for new content. I wouldn't delve too deep into this right now.

Step 1: Building an offline presence

Another great first step along with aiming to build an online presence is to build an offline presence. Local brands are very valuable, probably more valuable than internet celebrities to local communities and organizations employing us. Building offline presence require engagement in local community, organizing and attending meetups, hackathons etc.

We are in a unique position in this regard, the tech "culture" in our city (Chandigarh) is yet barely blossoming. It used to be a rather gloomy picture around here, but I believe people have now started seeing the exploitation going around in the tech scene of the city for what it is. More and more meetup groups are blossoming for the good. Participating in these groups can be a great source of content for our online presence. Before I start day-dreaming about how we can hack for Chandigarh, I'll shut up about it : )

For this, I suppose the next course of action is to open the sessions we have been doing for public to attend. Trantor is one of the few companies I have seen being quite open for organizing meetups in Tricity, so this shouldn't be a problem from that front.

Here is what I am imagining for our next goal is to attain our grand objective of nurturing the culture of growth. Please do share your ideas, opinions and thoughts. You are also always welcome to join us in our endeavor.