A few years ago, Paul Ryan said, “Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” We’re almost positive that he wasn’t talking about web development communities, but his point still stands. No matter how good you are at programming, you have something to gain from connecting to the millions upon millions of developers around the world.
If you’re a pro, you can still benefit from seeing how other coders go about solving the same problems, and get some quick help on debugging a pesky program. If you’re just starting out, you can connect with plenty of coders who are happy to help you develop your skills just because they love coding so much. Seriously. Developers may sometimes get stereotyped as unfriendly, but the truth is that the online coding community is one of the friendliest and most supportive communities out there.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of communities to check out, so to get you started, we brainstormed our favorites. Don’t get the wrong idea: you should definitely do some exploring on your own. These communities are just examples to give you an idea of just how much information there is out there for you to access. Let’s go!
This is our current go-to site for getting better at getting hired. For us freelance developers out there, it’s often tough to market our skills. Toptal has a super useful list of potential interview questions (they’re actually geared towards employers, but equally useful for potential employees) that you should check out, as well as examples of acceptable answers. You don’t need to memorize all the information — just make sure that you can comfortably answer questions of that caliber, and that your answers display a high level of competency. Once you’ve done that, head to the Toptal Engineering Blog, where you can read up on the latest industry trends and pick up some more tips about how to market your skills and manage remote work.
For too long, the odds have been stacked against female developers — women were rarely encouraged to code, and were often not supported when they did. The Women’s Coding Collective helps tilt the scales by offering female coders awesome resources and inexpensive courses. They also have some awesome meetups so that you can share tips, exchange ideas, and get motivated!
We have no idea what the name stands for, but this is one of our favorite website for general coding inquiries. They have helpful forums for coding questions, business development, marketing, web design, graphic design, and social networks. Whatever topic you’re looking for, you’re guaranteed a pretty high chance of finding some useful information here. Browse the forums and, once you’re ready, start posting some questions of your own!
Digital Point is a classic forum for developers of all levels. Whether you have a specific coding question, or you’re looking for marketing advice or interested in improving your SEO, this is usually the place to go. It can be tough to navigate the sheer amount of information on the site, but once you get the hang of it, we’re confident this will be one of your favorite resources.
Coderwall is a great place to give or receive “protips” on a variety of topics, whether you’re trying to understand the difference between “==” and “===” in Ruby or the difference between $timeout and setTimeout in Angular JS. Coderwall has tips across a whole host of languages and platforms, so this is the place to go if you’re looking for some quirky information.
For anyone who thought Yahoo! Groups were dead, here’s a site to prove you (partially) wrong. Since 1999, this has been one of the best places to find information about any coding questions you might have. With nearly 6,000 members, DWDC is a more tightly-knit community than some others out there, so you can really feel a sense of camaraderie with your fellow programmers. Another cool feature is that you can see posting histories from all the way back to the group’s inception — if you have some spare time, go learn about what sorts of coding problems people were running into in the 90’s!
That’s that: six of our favorite resources for developers of all ages, levels, and skillsets. It’s hard to go wrong with any of them, let alone all of them, so check them all out and see which one best suits your need. If none of them interest you, go search on your own and see what you can come up with! There are so many communities out there that you’re guaranteed to find one, if not several, that fit your needs. Make sure to be an active member — one important part of being a community is “paying it forward” and providing the same help you’ve received!