Developers don’t get out a whole lot — we spend most of our time eagerly plugging away at our keyboards — so it can sometimes be strange to think of our networks in terms of “communities.” That is, though, exactly what they are — vast webs of like-minded programmers who are happy to help each other simply because they share a small connection. Whether you’re an old pro or just learning the basics of Python, joining web development communities is a super helpful step in becoming a great programmer. Join the millions of other individuals who’ve contracted the coding “bug” — help people halfway around the world fix their code, ask questions about a program that’s not working the way it’s supposed to, and share useful tips about networking and freelancing. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of web development communities to choose from, but we’ve pulled together some of our favorites. Check them out, get involved, and then try branching out on your own!
Top Web Development Communities:
Toptal is the best place to go if you’re looking for info on how to hire or get hired. In addition to having a robust and elite network of the world’s top freelancers, Toptal has a lot of great information about what questions to ask a potential developer, and what acceptable answers might look like. If you’re a developer looking to get hired, this is also a great resource, since it’s incredibly likely some of these questions might come up in an interview. You can also check out their hiring guides to make sure you have all the qualifications that make for the most cutting edge developers. In addition to all that, Toptal also has a great blog that’ll help you stay abreast of the latest in tech advances. Check it out!
This is a pretty standard, no-frills community. Once you sign up, you can participate in any of the forums, which cover an incredibly wide range of topics. Whether someone’s trying to figure out how to optimize a particular function or wants to hire a front end developer, there’s always something exciting and dynamic going on in the forum. They also really focus on fostering community. There’s even a calendar which shows which users’ birthdays are coming up so that you can send them a little celebration message.
Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) gives you access to a whole host of features: newsgroups, listservs, forums, news updates, and standards communities. If you want to get the latest news on what’s going on in the development world, it’s definitely a good idea to sign up for a couple of these. If that doesn’t cut it for you, you can also check out their helpful developer tools. If you’re at all interested in building programs for Firefox, this is the place to go. You can find out about the newest updates, common bugs, and how to craft websites for mobile devices, among other useful tips. You can also find a ton of information about any of Mozilla’s products and how to use them properly.
Dream in Code is a great place for veteran programmers to show off a bit or get a little help from time to time. Aside from a healthy and robust forum, Dream in Code features a great handful of useful blogs that any serious programmer should check in with periodically. For beginners, Dream in Code has a great tutorial section that covers everything from Ruby to Perl, as well as a “snippets” section, where you can find helpful sample code to get you started.
There are hundreds of in-person meetup groups around the world, so if you don’t live near the Big Apple, don’t despair! Just google your city, and there’s sure to be a meetup nearby soon. In any event, we just added the NYC Web Development Community to give you an idea of the benefits of an in-person meetup (and this is truly a great one). We do so much of our work on the computer that we forget that it can sometimes be helpful to pick other people’s brains in person. Meetups are a great place to network, brainstorm, and get a healthy dose of inspiration from the talented coders who might be working just a few blocks (or floors) away!
Is that it when it comes to web development communities? Of course not! There are hundreds of more options just a google search away. These are, though, some of the most exciting ones out there. Make sure to check them out, get involved a bit, and see what works for you. If you end up deciding that these communities aren’t your fit, do some exploring and experimenting and see where you end up. It’s hard to go wrong — though us coders sometimes get an unfair reputation as unfriendly, these communities are the best proof that we can be personable, helpful, and amicable. If you’re not interested in these web development communities like the ones above, you can also find great, lively ones dedicated to particular languages or platforms. Good luck!