In this post we will look at why one should look closer at all the possibilities we have as developers to make ourselves known to the world.
As you might know being able to do something is not all to it. If no one knows about what you are able to do, it is at least as worthless from an economic point of view, as if you would know nothing at all.
What this post covers
- Why you should market yourself as a developer
What this post will not cover
- How to market yourself
- Detailed analysis of what marketing techniques work best
- All possible marketing channels to exploit as a developer
As you might know from my post about Make decisions easy, I am quite the advocate of asking yourself WHY before you do most anything in life.
So it makes sense for me to write about marketing as a developer and asking why you should market yourself as a developer first.
What does Marketing do for you?
It does not matter if you are an employee or a freelancing developer, it always makes sense to market yourself. Simply because I would argue that there are much more products and services out there that are the most successful regardless not being the best product, but because they made themselves more widely known by means of marketing than their competitors.
This is just an economic reason to market yourself, if you bare with me on this one, you will see that marketing gives you much more than economic benefits. With that said I argue from mostly an economic point of view, because it makes sense from where I am looking at this and it is my personal WHY to market myself in the end.
So Marketing obviously will help to increase your reach as a developer and therefore also your earning potential. This alone can be a good motivation to immerse yourself into marketing and branding of you as a developer. But in my view there is much more to it, beneath the surface which gives you much more benefit than simply increasing your income in a direct way.
I would argue that creating marketing content for yourself makes you a better developer and a better and more complete human being in general. This might be a bold statement. But let me explain.
Actions that are associated with marketing are of sorts which we as developers do not do often. We talk about all the technical details, and sometimes communicate with product owners, tech leads or scrum masters. But one of the most important things about marketing is to know what your market wants, where your market is and how to signal to your market that you can provide those demanded skills.
So this requires some particularly good skills in terms of communication, empathy and reflection. Not something we as developers are often associated with.
But with higher skills in this regard you can make most interactions with other people much more human. Much more human in the sense of a natural interaction where people talk with one another instead of talking to one another without understanding. This will lead to a more natural behavior, more confidence and ultimatively to much more enjoyment in life.
Why do you want more earning potential ?
This might be individual for everyone, but for me it is a question of what does more money and more natural interactions do for me? In my view those two things do help me to feel more alive.
Also a higher income correlates with more interesting work which for myself translates directly to more enjoyment with my work. Furthermore does higher income also correlate with the value you provide. Which in turn also can mean that you are helping more people with having an easier life, which also can lead to more enjoyment from your side.
So as you can tell I have quite the hedonistic view on life, but in the end that is what it is all about, interactions with people and a rich and fulfilled life. This is sort of my baseline and market yourself to increase your income will will lead to a more fulfilled life, even though your income should probably not be the only thing that defines who you are. It is still a big part though.
So this are all pretty speculative and highly indivdual emotional responses to this idea. Lets have a look at what marketing will give you besides that.
More direct improvements
As mentioned above for the creation of marketing content you have to learn new skills on the way. We will look closer at this in the following post about how to market yourself. But for starters, the most obvious marketing stunts as a developer are social media related like twitter etc. and developer specific social media and message boards like stackoverflow and such. Obviously this blog is also a vehicle for marketing purposes (although I do it also for the fun of writing about stuff, and exploring new topics). Then you have conferences and youtube, courses on plural sight and much more.
Marketing can be quite diverse, so you can find what fits and works for you relatively easy. But all the skills you have to learn in the wake of marketing, can be summarized to the following three:
- technical knowledge
- social skills
The first is quite obvious, if you write, tweet or teach about technical topics you sorta have to know what you are talking about. So you will deepen your technical knowledge during this process.
Social skills are not that obvious at first, but creating content that provides value to other people needs some empathy and a little bit of knowledge and experimentation with what other people want. This will help you to see the world from different angles and perspectives and lets you understand other people more. Which in turn will lead to much more interesting and engaging interactions eventually.
Communication plays also a role in social skills, but I created an extra category for this because social skills are kinda on a meta level. And communication itself is more concerned with focusing your thoughts and condensing abstract ideas into words and sentences to convey those ideas in a way that other people can understand and utilize.
For pretty much any marketing technique you will learn something in each category. Some have more emphasis on technical, some more on the other two categories. But in the end is each new or deepened skill worth all the effort. And if you find a marketing channel that fits you and that you can enjoy, than you get even more benefits from it.
Try, fail, win
Besides learning new skills there is probably not much in life that will increase your earning potential as much as confidence and self esteem will do. And confidence in my experience is build the simplest (not easiest) and best way when you try new things, fail at those things but do not stop until you are succeeding with those new things.
And with most marketing stuff, like writing a blog, making video content for youtube, creating profiles or simply answering questions on message boards, you have to learn and grow each day and will often fail while doing so. And with each skill you learn you see more what the world has to it and that in itself boosts your self worth and confidence. It will create some forward momentum, which also will make you feel more alive and more happy, which again will create some more forward momentum and so on and so forth.
In the end..
.. marketing obviously will increase your income, but not just because you are more widely known, but because you improved your skills, your confidence and your enjoyment with work, which will inspire other people and make you a nice person to work with.
In this post I looked at reasons why we as developers should create marketing content that creates a brand for our personal skills.
This included economic reasons like a higher earning potential but also things like being more engaging and inspiring to other people and enjoy your work more as well as being more confident in general.