Whether you’re an advanced developer or you’re just learning that a “string” isn’t just a piece of thread, there’s one word that doesn’t always come to mind when you’re thinking about software engineering: community. Web development communities, though, are the backbone of programming. They’re places where developers can learn new methods, get some advice on debugging, and stay up to date with the latest trends in tech. It can be difficult to navigate the world of web development communities, since there are hundreds out there, each with their own flavor and target audience. We definitely recommend that you do some surfing of your own and see what sorts of communities might fit your particular interests. That said, we suggest you check out some of the communities below: they cover a range of topics and levels, and there are good odds that at least one will help you, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Check them out!
Anyone familiar with Reddit knows they have threads about pretty much every single thing in the world, so it’s not surprising that they have a thread dedicated to web development. The thread has anything you could want as a budding developer: opportunities for meetups, how-to’s for debugging, and job postings. While Webdev doesn’t have as much information as some other communities, it’s a great way to get started.
Toptal is the best place for learning about employment as a developer. Whether you’re looking to hire or get hired, it has what you need. Check out their sample interview questions: if you’re an employer, it’ll help you figure out what sorts of answers you should look for, and if you’re a developer, it’ll give you an idea of what you should be saying in an interview. The Toptal Engineering Blog is also an incredibly helpful resource. It covers everything from how to make it as a remote freelancer to the latest tech advances, and all the articles are written by Toptal engineers. Toptal has a super intense screening process that weeds out all but the top 3% of applicants to its network, so you can bet that these resources are pure gold when it comes to developing your own expertise.
While developers are extraordinarily creative with coding, they’re a bit less creative when it comes to names. Still, Webdev Forums is another great resource whether you’re a budding programmer or John McAfee. You’ll need to create an account and read their terms of service before using the forums, but it’s definitely worth it. You’ll have access to a wealth of information from some of the best coding minds out there. Threads are organized by topic, which range from search engine optimization to monetizing websites. Anything you need will probably be here — you just need to do a bit of digging.
The above link directs you to an NYC meetup, but whatever city you’re in, there are good odds there’s a meetup by you. While you can generally get information you’re looking for online, sometimes it’s a good idea to get a nice stretch of the legs and interact with some people in real-good-old-fashioned life. Being able to have a dynamic discussion with like-minded developers will get your neurons firing, and is a great way to get motivated for your next project!
Dev Shed Forums is a lot like Webdev, except that the threads are organized by what you’re trying to program (generally language and platform). To give you an idea of the sheer size, here are some numbers: there are nearly 120,000 threads about PHP development alone. The website boasts nearly one million threads in total. That’s insane. While sometimes having so much information can be daunting, it also means that you’re pretty much guaranteed an answer when you’re looking to fix a pesky bug.
The downside of developerWorks is that you have to pay for the full service. The upside is that it has tons of resources for advanced developers, as well as plenty of free demos. It also has articles and information on all sorts of interesting topics ranging from internet security to cloud computing.
The above communities are just a small sample of what’s waiting for you online; as we said, there are hundreds more communities out there for you to check out. It’s important that you get an idea of the range of communities available to you, so do some googling of your own to see where you fit in best. Before you get sidetracked, though, make sure to check out some of the ones we mentioned. They’re a great jumping off point for most people. Most importantly, don’t forget that just because you’re working behind a screen doesn’t mean you can’t be social and find a supportive network! Web development communities are vibrant, cheerful, and friendly networks of developers who all love what they do. There’s nothing more exciting than realizing that there are millions of people out there who are just as passionate about coding as you are. Go find them!