Establishing An Online Presence
How to establish a legitimate web presence as a junior software developer
As Flatiron students, in just a few weeks we will be graduating and entering the world of job hunting. Throughout the course, we have built many projects to showcase our knowledge and abilities. However, it is a good idea to have more than just some projects in your back pocket when building your resume. Writing blogs(like this one!), making YouTube videos, and even hosting your own website are a few great ways to establish a prominent online presence and make yourself a more marketable junior software engineer.
Blogs are a great way to demonstrate your knowledge on any variety of topics. Websites like Medium give developers a free platform to show off their knowledge and understanding of different aspects of software engineering to literally anyone with access to a computer. More importantly, a blog is a good way to demonstrate that you not only understand the topic, but can explain it thoroughly to those who can’t. Teaching is a huge part of any career, but especially in software engineering, where many programmers are self-taught, or at least have taught themselves something at some point in their career. Blogs provide a format that can include text, pictures, gifs, and links to other websites when necessary.
Another great way to establish your presence on the web is through YouTube. Let’s face it, every-one everywhere has used YouTube at least once in their life. Assuming whoever’s reading this a software engineer, you have definitely used YouTube as a resource to grasp a concept you don’t quite understand yet. By hosting your own YouTube page, you can upload video demonstrations of programs you have built, make “vlogs” or video blogs to talk about your journey, and even establish a fan base. If an employer sees you have a YouTube page demonstrating multiple projects you have built, this is a huge plus. Just as writing a blog, this shows that not only can you write the code, you can talk about it and explain it to people who don’t yet know what it’s about.
YouTube also allows for a unique experience in the sense that you can easily connect with other software engineers and talk about your projects. Personally I have looked up many algorithm explanations on YouTube and began following the channels that gave the best explanation. After following these you tubers, there is nothing to stop you from reaching out to talk about your experiences and trade ideas back and forth. That is the basis for networking.
Hosting Your Own Website
In a previous blog, I talked about how to buy a domain name and host your own website. I can not stress the importance of this enough as a software engineer. For instance, who remembers MySpace? A blast from the past right? It may seem impossible at the present day, but platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube have the potential to become completely irrelevant in a short period of time. Owning your own domain and a static space on the web is a great way to avoid having to rely on another platform to host your content. In addition, you can demonstrate your abilities by customizing your website with the very code you wish to demonstrate.
Aside from being able to showcase your experience and portfolio, a website also allows you to choose your content however you wish. As some of you may know, YouTube has gone through several dramatic overhauls leaving prominent YouTuber’s with demonetized channels. Certain content is no longer allowed to be monitored and is either removed or exists with no benefit to the poster. Terms and conditions change and update, and restrict what you can and can’t do. It is always a good idea to have your own website and domain name, not to mention you can establish a store or monetize the site in any way you see fit if it applies.
Clean it Up
On a final note, I want to briefly talk about the importance of keeping your web-presence clean. No matter how much fun you and your friends had at the beach last summer, maybe posting all your party pictures on your Facebook or Instagram is not a good idea, especially if potential employers will be viewing it. I recommend keeping your social media as employer-friendly as possible. If you absolutely HAVE to post that picture of your wild night out, consider something called a “finstagram”. This is an Instagram account that is private and only followed by the users very close friends. It is a safe space to share whatever you want without judgment, and it’s an easy and free alternative to jeopardizing potential employment.
Establishing a web presence as a software engineer is important, but in reality not that difficult. Write some blogs, make a few YouTube videos, create a simple website, and clean up your Facebook or Instagram. Of course, while you’re at it, it is a great idea to link your GitHub within all of these things. By following some of these simple patterns you can create a professional online presence that is both easy to research and enticing to employers.