When trying to break in as a web developer, one of the things that helped me get started was the local meetup. Once a month, I could meet other like-minded individuals of various abilities, and we would all learn together.
Fast forward to 2021, and things have changed. More and more things have moved to online communities, and with the pandemic accelerating the adoption of virtual solutions to do that thing.
Juan Cruz Martinez has made a list of Developer communities that are worth checking out. But I thought I would go into what I feel are good things to look for in a developer community. And to help me, I plan on highlighting things from my favorite developer community: The Lunch.dev Discord Server.
One of the great things about the Lunch.dev Discord Server is that everyone is sincerely welcoming. There isn’t an individual that joins that isn’t welcomed by name in the main general chat. Each welcome is sincere and brings with it an encouragement to start participating if so desired.
I have also seen Michael Chan, the creator of the server, personally reach out and take the time to get to know new individuals and try to understand their goals.
A good community will find a way to make you sincerely feel welcomed to be a part of it.
Resource of Knowledge and Growth
The Lunch.dev server was originally called the React Podcast Discord Server. Despite its name coming from the React Podcast, the community is not necessarily focused on React. It focuses more on creating an environment where people can safely ask for help from others without fear of toxic replies.
It also encourages others to share things they have learned about any subject, including frameworks other than React. The server regularly promotes events where community members can learn from each other. Events include book clubs, lightning talks, round tables, and lunch and learn.
A good community will provide and encourage you to grow as a developer and a person.
Encourages Healthy Self-Promotion
The previous section implied it, but I think it’s important enough to call out right now. Sharing information often includes sharing content that you have created yourself.
On the Lunch.dev server, people regularly share blog posts, twitch streams, Twitter threads, and podcasts that they participate in. Not only is this self-promotion not looked down on, it is also encouraged. There are dedicated channels to do just that, showcase what you have been working on.
A good community will acknowledge that not all self-promotion is spam and will encourage users to share, in a healthy way, what they are doing that makes them awesome.
One can look for many things in a community, but these three I feel are important when looking for and evaluating any community that you are looking to join or create yourself.