The developer community is rapidly expanding. Nowadays you can find around 100 different tech meetups from angular over node.js to machine learning and hackers communities in Vienna alone.
Leading tech companies like FB, Google or Apple grow their own strong developer community, mostly because they are aware of developers’ value of turning simple products into giant platforms.
And while creating your own developer community might be challenging, it is definitely not impossible. The potential outcome would be highly rewarding.
6 key strategies for building a developer community
How to accomplish such a feat though? After running different communities & activities for developers in Vienna (chatbots hackathons, the chatbots community and the Facebook developer circle) for two years, I would love to share my experience:
1. Research what kind of developers you would like to attract
in order to draw them in with authentic interactions and relevance. Beginners or advanced levels, a tech stack, years of experience. You can create a persona (or a few) before you launch to be sure you’ve got perfect alignment on goals, audiences and execution.
2. Serve and curate,
but remember that your dev community belongs to its members, so don’t intrude with overt marketing.
3. Execute live community activities,
going beyond just online channels. I was co-organising 3 hackathons on chatbots and AI and a botbarcamp together with amazing developers and community shapers where the participants could not only explore new technologies but also meet other developers and collaborate with each other.
4. Always embrace your members’ feedback,
whether good or bad, given its validity.
5. Try to diversify your community
While organising meetups and hackathons, I’ve noticed how the men/women ratio becomes 9 to 1 if I don’t explicitly try to attract more female speakers or attendees, making collaborations and the support of such great communities for girls in tech like women in tech, coding girls, women in STEM, etc. an immanent necessity.
6. Have a code of conduct and follow it
A good code of ethics allows individuals to hold themselves to the highest standards in any given behavior or action. If you don’t know where to start, check http://berlincodeofconduct.org/, which is used by plenty of tech communities and conferences.
7. Be patient 😀
It might take time to start and grow your developer community, but you don’t have to rush it.
Collaborators and Future Colleagues
Most importantly, a developer community is just that – a community. And, like any community, it’s a work-in-progress. So stop thinking of developers as customers, and start thinking of them as collaborators and future colleagues. If you can find ways to reach and engage developers, they will seize the initiative and help take your product or service to the next level.
If you want to know more about building developer communities, you are welcome to join our upcoming event focusing on “Developer Relations: Best Practices & Experiences”, which will take place in Vienna on June 27th 2018.