If you’re new to coding and are struggling to know what to do, how to move forward as a developer or are feeling like you are stuck. Getting involved in real life (IRL) might just be the answer.  

For the past several years I’ve been learning to code off and on. It wasn’t until this year that I felt that I really found out that I’ve been missing out on so much. Today I’ll share how you can take your coding journey to the next level by getting involved in the coding community in your area.

Before I get started this is also great advice for people who are new to an area or just want to make new friends. 

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Finding the Community

There are plenty of great communities to join on Facebook and even great Twitter chats that you can be a part of. But to really find a community in your local area you’ll want to start at Meetup.com

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This step takes some time.  You’ll need to really browse all the different options. 

A great way to start is to type in a language you are learning or want to learn. Then you’ll want to check to see how often they meet. Most of them will meet once a month. Something I’ve really looked for is to see if they have a website connected. If they do you may find a slack group invite or even more information about other groups

I’d recommend going to a few of them over a span of two months. In that time frame you’ll get a sense of what they are and which one you should spend really giving back in. 

Connect with People

I know this might be stupid to say but I can’t stress this step enough. Talk to people. 

I’m a really social person but because I’m just “learning” I found myself going to these and not really talking to anyone. I then would leave the meeting with a little bit of imposter syndrome.

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The moment I started turning to the person who sat next to me and introducing myself was when I really became aware that everyone who was at the meetups was there to learn and share what they know. 

People from all sorts of backgrounds show up. Sometimes there is even some sort of refreshment. Take the to mingle. Bring business cards or swap contacts. 

The key here is to follow up via email, text, or social. 

Important note: If you’ve attended several of one meet up and you find a common thread that you might know about well enough to teach. Offer giving a presentation. Meet up orginizers will love it and you’ll be able to realize that you know enough.

Use groups to connect IRL

As you attend different groups you’ll often find that there is either a slack group, facebook group, or even just on Meetups.com that people are having conversations. 

Get involved, introduce yourself and most importantly ask questions. People want to help you and some even get together in real life to do so. Things like FreeCodeCamp meetups are great places to start but often lack direction and consistency. 

Be sure to ask around and see if there are other options. If not set one up on your own at your local library or university. 

Recap

Getting involved with people in real life will help you realize that you aren’t alone in your journey. That you most definitely know enough and that connecting with new people is refreshing. 

If you have any cool stories about how meeting people offline has helped you in your coding journey I’d love to hear them. 


Daniel Rubio

I'm a digital content producer. I believe everyone has the capability to inspire someone. I'm a husband and father, a mormon, and a lover of cookies.

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