By Lauren SauserJuly 26, 2016

Join the Community: 8 Websites Where You Should Make Your Presence Known

Being active in an online community is a productive way to build connections and diversify your understanding and experience with software. We recommend these eight networks to get you started.

1. GitHub

Github is a must for programmers to share work and collaborate. With more than three million users, the network provides code hosting, version control, bug tracking, task management, and collaboration tools for a wide range of projects.

“The social networking aspect of GitHub is probably its most powerful feature, and is what allows projects to grow more than anything else. Each user on GitHub has their own profile, which can act like a resume of sorts, showing your past work and contributions to other projects via pull requests.” — How To Geek, What Is GitHub and What Do Geeks Use It For?

Pro Tip: GitHub lets you “star” projects (similar to a “like” on Facebook). When you follow someone, their stars show up in your feed. This feature lets you discover new and interesting projects. Watching an outstanding coder move from project to project will help you see new ways to improve your own craft.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is advantageous for its resume-hosting service (with recommendations and comments), and access to various industry-specific networks.

“Another advantage of LinkedIn is that you can follow companies. This will allow you to tune into their updates. Company profiles can also show lists of present and former employees…and tell you if you’re connected to any.” — Laurence Bradford, 11 Reasons Why You Need to be on LinkedIn as an Aspiring Techie

Pro Tip: Adding a professional photo to your profile makes you 14 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn.

3. Hacker News

<a href=“https://news.ycombinator.com/” target"_blank">Hacker News is a social news company focused on computer science and entrepreneurship. The community offers both intellectual curiosities and inside authority on trends in tech.

“Getting on the front page of Hacker News is the holy grail for people in the tech space. The front page can mean tons of downloads, page views, installs, etc., for your startup.” — Alexander Taub, How to Get on the Front Page of Hacker News

Pro Tip: Use the Chrome extension Hacker News OnePage, which provides users with the ability to browse Hacker News articles and comments without leaving the page.

4. Stack Overflow

<a href=“http://stackoverflow.com/” target+"_blank">Stack Overflow is the biggest and most popular question-and-answer site for programmers that highlights quantitative achievements (scores, badges, etc.). It’s a great place to ask questions and get help if you’re ever stuck on a problem. You can also share back your knowledge with the community by answering others’ questions. With help from programmers around the world, Stack Overflow is building a library of detailed answers to every question about programming.

“One of the best places to find software engineers is Stack Overflow, where nearly 2,000,000 programmers from all over the world ask and answer programming-related questions.” — Glen Cathey, Finding the Best Software Engineers on Stack Overflow

Pro Tip: If the problem you’re offering to the community includes code you’ve written, you should include relevant snippets. But don’t just copy in your entire program! You’re likely to get in trouble by posting your employer’s code and including lots of irrelevant details that readers will need to ignore when trying to reproduce the problem. Here are some guidelines to improve your chances of getting an answer on Stack Overflow.

5. Quora

Quora is another question-and-answer community, organized by the interests of its users. Quora emphasizes instant feedback, and by contributing both questions and answers for the community, you can practice your voice as a writer. Follow themes and users that interest you, and try to ask questions that you genuinely want the answer to, that haven’t been asked before, and that others will enjoy answering.

“Quora is easier to use [than Stack Overflow]. It’s designed with excellent attention toward front-end user experience and it’s clear that the backend is running some crazy algorithms to make sure the right people are matched up to the right questions without too much configuration from the user.” — Ben Wiley, Why Do People Use Quora for Programming Help

Pro Tip: Build a useful feed by following topics that interest you and engaging with developers who are insightful. By taking actions in the feed, Quora will learn what you like (See: How Do I Optimize My Quora Feed?).

6. CodePen

CodePen is a place to show off your latest code creation and get feedback.

It’s great for testing out bugs, collaborating, and finding new inspiration. The network works by allowing you to create “pens,” which are sets of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, with the finished product displayed. You can then feature those pens on your profile, take feedback, and continue to edit at any time. Like many live code playgrounds, CodePen allows you to learn in an open-source environment, and displays a live preview as the code changes.

“CodePen has been pretty awesome. It acts as an easily shared way to show your code and its result (and encourages the developer I share with to tinker themselves), it keeps all the experiments together, and it can instantly include Sass compiling, and common JS libraries natively without mucking around with files.” — Arley McBlain, Falling in Love with CodePen

Pro Tip: Your profile on CodePen is like your front-end development portfolio. You can showcase all your best creations there. Use the Hire Me feature to find freelance work.

7. Twitter

Twitter has more than 271 million monthly active users. Whether or not you tweet regularly, Twitter is an extension of your business and personal brand.

“By following other developers, projects, news curators, and thought leaders on Twitter, this allows you to stay aware of new practices and resources in a timely manner and provides access to diverse opinions. Developers can also promote their own projects—which may in turn help the dissemination of knowledge and an increased adoption of practices and tools.” — Leif Singer, How Software Developers Use Twitter

Pro Tip: Start gathering information and forming connections on Twitter by following these 30 interesting accounts for developers, and engaging with these 22 influential developers.

8. Reddit

Reddit, known as the “front page of the internet,” is a marketplace of ideas and advice. You can follow threads on learning to program and <a href=“https://www.reddit.com/r/softwaredevelopment/” target"_blank">software development, or engage with language-specific communities, including Full-Stack Javascript, Python, Swift, and more!

“The commentary [in Reddit] can be as interesting as the content. The huge user base makes for a colorful comment section, and, as with the content, the most insightful comments generally rise to the top.” — Jake Cunningham, Why Do People Love Reddit

Pro Tip: Both “IAmA” and “AMA” refer to the most popular feature of Reddit, the “Ask Me Anything” thread. In an “AMA,” a well-known person or group of people, like a former programmer at Zanga or the SpaceX developer team, submit themselves to the inquisitive minds of the Reddit community and answer questions live.

And when you do join any of these eight networks, make sure to find and follow the team at Code Fellows!