Personal branding isn't a thing that is discussed much in a programming world. Actually, I know very few guys who have strong personal brands and only two guys who can explain what personal branding is for software developers. One of them is Frederic Harper with his book “Success in Programming.”
Why is personal branding important?
OK. Have you ever saw a guy who got a job in a big tech company without passing all their interview rounds? I know one. Headhunters from one well-known tech company pleased him to spare them a minute. Not for starting an interview process. No! To discuss what project he wanted to join in the company.
He isn't a genius. He is an experienced and very clever developer. However, there are a lot of more clever and more experienced guys. Why the company tried so hard to hire him? The answer I found is a strong personal brand. That's it.
As I know he has been working on his personal brand for 9 or 10 years already. He has a blog, a podcast, an amazing GitHub account. He invests a lot into networking.
Even me, after a couple of years of blogging and social networking, I have much more strong positions among average back-end developer. I can't say that I have a strong brand. However, I've got first results.
Success in Programming
Branding is important. So, is there any easy way to build it? Yes and no. In Frederic's book, you'll find a lot of information how to do it as easy as possible. However, there is one the most important and the most difficult thing, finding your identity. It is crucial to succeeding in a personal brand building. The first half of Frederic's book covers this topic.
Basically, you have to answer two “simple” questions:
- What do you want to do?
- What are you doing?
It is all about your goals, your passions, your dreams and your personality. For me, it isn't easy at all to find answers. Fortunately, there are several tips in the book that guide you. For example, I wrote a twitter bio, my elevator speech, in 140 symbols.
My “85% Python, 15% Java, 100% Backend” forms the base of my brand. It is not the final version. I'm working on it. However, using it I can stay focused. By the way, your brand isn't something constant. It doesn't mean that if you promote yourself as a backend developer, it will be impossible to become an Android developer tomorrow.
There are a lot of tough questions in this book. However, when you find answers, all other things will become easier. They will transform from unclear scary things into precise tools. At least it will be possible to understand which of them are useful for you.
Unfortunately, the second half of the book is not so cool as the first one. Maybe, it happens because reading it, you already have answers what to do. Nevertheless, there are some very interesting and helpful topics covered by this part, for example, “learn to say no” paragraph with a flowchart representing the algorithm for it.
Although sometimes there is too much Harper on pages, it is a really helpful book. There are a lot of step-by-step tips for software developers how to build a strong personal brand.