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Complementing your professional journey with community involvement

Nick Rout
September 21, 2020
320

Complementing your professional journey with community involvement

There is no single route to improving your skills and becoming technically astute as a developer/designer, especially today. Traditional academia, self-taught courses, mentorship, portfolio projects and open source contributions - all of these (and more) can be seen as "pins" on your career map. And what of community involvement? Does it have a place in the busy schedule of a growing professional?

This presentation covers why community involvement is no longer a "nice to have". Through reflecting on my own journey through GDG, GDE and beyond, I attempt to motivate how it can have real effects on your abilities and lead to career opportunities. I also share my own approaches to allocating time, finding a niche and avoiding burnout in the process.

This was presented at GDG DevFest South Africa 2019:
https://youtu.be/9Z93b0aZDrM

It was also presented at Google's SSA Community Summit 2020:
https://youtu.be/WNGhva-vps0?t=277

Nick Rout

September 21, 2020
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Transcript

  1. Complementing your
    professional journey
    with community involvement
    Nick Rout
    @ricknout
    Developer Advocate at Google

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  2. “I am ${career.now}”
    “I want to be ${career.next}”

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  3. “I am ${career.now}”
    “I am interested in
    ${career.passion}”
    “I am working on
    ${career.sideHustle}”
    “I am learning
    ${career.newSkill}”
    “I probably should be
    ${career.childhoodDream}”
    “I want to be ${career.next}”

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  4. “I am ${career.now}”
    “I want to be ${career.next}”
    workExperience
    mentorship
    portfolio
    academia
    selfStudy
    sideProjects

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  5. career.community.allocateTime()

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  6. What/where/who is
    community?

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  7. • Meetups and user groups
    • Conferences
    • Workshops
    • Blogging & writing
    • Social media and online communities
    • Open source
    • Outreach

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  8. People!
    career.type == community.type

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  9. Do I have ⏱?
    Will I reach ?
    Will I benefit?

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  10. Do we have ⏱?
    Will we reach ?
    Will we benefit?

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  11. My journey...

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  12. “I am a junior Android developer”
    “I want to be a developer/designer at Google”

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  13. Engaged with Google+
    •R.I.P.
    •First taste of using
    social media for career
    things
    •A glimpse into the
    broader Android
    community
    •Curating posts and
    ensuring correct info

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  14. Attended first GDG Meetup
    •Discovering there is a
    local community
    •Forming a voice and
    opinion
    •Learning (from others)
    outside of work
    •A time to unwind

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  15. Spoke at GDG Cape Town
    •Combatting nerves
    •Public speaking and
    responding to debate
    •Deep-dive into a
    particular topic
    •Companion GitHub
    projects for portfolio

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  16. Helped to run a workshop
    •Hands-on teaching and
    people skills
    •Entirely about helping
    others
    •Realizing the
    complexity of the
    basics by explaining to
    beginners
    •Tiring yet rewarding

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  17. Became a GDG co-organizer
    •Responsibility
    •Event co-planning,
    catering and “on-the-
    ground” work
    •After-hours motivation

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  18. Engaged with Twitter
    •Ah, so that’s where
    everyone on Google+
    went
    •Heightened visibility -
    as an individual and
    for GDG
    •Online etiquette

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  19. Became a GDG organizer
    •More responsibility
    •Sourcing and
    encouraging others to
    speak
    •Event planning and
    community management
    •Linked up with GDG
    Johannesburg

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  20. Joined a Slack group
    •OMG - Extreme imposter
    syndrome
    •So. Much. To. Learn.
    •Mustering confidence to
    ask (and answer)
    questions
    •A bit too much
    idolising...

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  21. Started blogging
    •Re-ignited a passion
    for writing
    •Solved needs at work by
    generalising a problem
    •Improved general
    professional
    communication
    •At first, a broad
    variety of topics

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  22. Went to Google I/O
    •Huh, the people I was
    idolising are just
    normal folks IRL
    •The first taste of a
    conference...
    •Realising that “you
    can’t know it all”
    •Interactions with other
    GDG members and
    Googlers

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  23. Found a niche
    •Went back to what I
    loved... Material
    Design
    •Filled a gap where
    knowledge was lacking
    •Deep familiarity with
    the design system and
    library
    •More consistency in
    engagement and content

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  24. Spoke at DevFest SA 2018!
    •The first “big stage”
    •The nerves again
    •A step up in quality of
    content and delivery
    •Great coverage on
    Twitter, YouTube and
    SpeakerDeck
    •The conference

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  25. Spoke at droidcon Kenya
    •Independent, purpose-
    driven travel
    •Keeping the quality bar
    high
    •Speaking to an
    international audience
    •Panel discussion

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  26. More overseas conferences
    •GDD Kraków (Poland)
    •droidcon Boston (USA)
    •mDevCamp (Prague, Czech
    Republic)
    •droidcon Berlin
    (Germany)
    •Overcommitted and had
    to pull out of some

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  27. Experienced burnout
    •Too much travelling
    (first world problems,
    sorry)
    •Not enough time at home
    with family/friends
    •On top of work, monthly
    blogging and normal
    life...
    •Manage your time and
    wellbeing

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  28. MDC-Android contributions
    •Further deepening of
    knowledge in a specific
    area of interest
    •OSS procedures and
    etiquette
    •Improved programming by
    considering that you
    are impacting other
    developers/users

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  29. Became a GDE
    •Failed the first time
    •Either: give up or try
    harder
    •Yay! Recognition but
    also responsibility
    •Interactions with very
    smart, helpful people

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  30. Joined Google
    • ✅
    •Ultimately a
    continuation of GDG,
    conferences, blogging,
    OSS, GDE, etc.
    •Community engagement
    can be a career

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  31. • Sharing knowledge with others - online, locally and
    globally
    • Improved public speaking and people skills
    • Recognition and greater confidence in abilities
    • Deeper knowledge of niche/focus areas through writing
    and teaching
    • Improved dev/design skills
    • Event organising and etiquette
    • Awareness of wellbeing
    • Travel opportunities

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  32. Some final words...

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  33. ssaCommunitySummit.enjoy()

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