Since the word self-branding — a continuing process of self-packaging, marketing oneself to create an impression on others — was coined, it has been a center of conversation among professionals of many realms. Still, there are only a few successful professionals who can dictate how the world perceives them, which, in simple words, what self-branding is. This is especially true for developers, since most of their time goes into skill-set development, as the technology consistently undergoes changes. It is hard to be updated and competent in a technical discipline. They are engrossed in their work, expending energy on writing on some efficient code, going through existing code repository, and understanding what the new developments are.
However, given the importance of self-branding for the growth of professional life, it is imperative for developers to have an image, online or offline, which can distinguish them and throttle their career forward.
This article provides a systematic approach that helps you build and manage your professional reputation.
The first step is introspection; try to know who you are
As it is for most things in life, genuineness and authenticity are the ultimate mantras in self-branding. Creating a spurious perception of yourself and bragging about your accomplishments will only going to expose you in the long run. If you are not authentic, all you efforts will go in vain. Therefore, it is important that you know what you are and what distinguishes you from others. This step will help you to define your niche, since development involves many fields such as front-end coding, back-end programming, front-end designing, webmaster, PHP, Ruby, UI designing, web applications development, database engineering, or database administration.
The other part of this “know yourself” step is to understand what others think of you. At this step, getting feedback from others is critical. You must be mindful and aware of external perceptions while unmasking and detailing your brand. Experts have been saying for long — brands are not created, they are uncovered.
Showcasing your skill-set
The next step is to show the world who you are. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to effectively propagate what your specialties are; no one wants a jack of all trades, master of none. You must concentrate on mastering elements of your skill-set. However, you may encounter a roadblock, as, apparently, almost every individual has personal brands that may not be cultivated consciously. You need to regulate your digital footprint and create a signature message or document to tell the world who you are.
For the signature message, developers need to have a personal brand identity system, which involves details like profile, photography, imagery, font(s), and colors. Use this system in all of your communications and online profiles consistently, which will bolster brand characteristics and shape recognition.
Credibility is hard to come by, and to cement your specialty, you need to lead a user group or be a gatekeeper, create a popular open-source project, or to participate in open competitions. Such activities are a great way that will make you a known face — a go-to man — of the developer community.
However, these efforts will make you an established name in a closed community, which most people would be ignorant about. The ultimate aim should be a recognisable name or brand among the informed public. For this, you need to have a parallel strategy, which involves the use of traditional means such as articles and opinion in newspaper and magazine. The other useful mean is social media like GitHub, Reddit, blog and, especially, Twitter, where you uninhibitedly interact with individuals.
Consistency and repetition
The secret of effective branding is repetition. You need to reinforce your message consistently to expand the breadth of your brand. Device a communication plan and execute it in a way that you can capture the attention of decision makers in your fields. Help people to resolve problems in your niche, and share your personal stories to connect with people at emotional level — it is the key. If you are able to resonate emotionally with your audience, you will make a formidable brand that will last longer.
Learn to use search engine optimisation and use social media optimally. This includes the usage of hash tags to communicate with a larger audience, mainly in your field of expertise. Also, use a suitable username for your profile; there are many websites to choose one. There are sites like BuzzSumo, where you can check which articles, videos, and stories are popular in your niche.
The author has worn many hats across both the technical and creative fields and is currently a copywriter and developer for Whiter Smile, a leading online store in the teeth whitening space in Australia.