As you start to get into the development world, you’ll find a lot of people who likes the same stuff as you do, who does the same work as you do and also you’ll find people with passion. I believe that’s the core of every software community - you love what you do, and you want to help other people to accomplish great things.
The idea of community is way older than you think - since the creation of men we can spot communities, neighbors and people trying to survive together. The human being is a social being from its nature, we live and do stuff in groups.
Among software development it’s no different. You’ll find a dozen of communities - they’re distributed by languages, frameworks, methodologies, or volunteer groups; you name it! And the main part of those communities are engaged with social causes, or with teaching people.
To start getting along with a community you don’t need to master anything - besides that, you can get along to learn, to improve your skills; and they’ll love it, and help you in the best way they can.
I’m from Curitiba, Brazil, and I’ve seen a lot of software communities around the town. We have a lot of meetups, some events and great hackathons during the year - 2020 is being a tough year so far, but the communities are still having presence.
I started to notice those communities when I created my GitHub account - I believe it was somewhere in 2015 or 2016. Open source is a great community as well, where people create stuff to the world, not only for themselves. Languages, frameworks, libraries, pieces of code that will help you accomplish your tasks and goals, that’s what you’ll find on open source. Of course, you’ll find a lot of nice people who can help you learn something new. Also you can find people to mentor you and help yourself develop as a person, as a professional…
GitHub, GitLab, Codepen, Glitch, The Practical Dev, Slack workspaces, Discord groups, Podcasts, Medium publications, Facebook (or any social network) groups… You’ll find communities in different ways, on different places. You will find “physical” communities as well - in events, meetups and hackathons.
Here in Curitiba, for example, we have ReactCWB, CuritibaJS, CocoaHeads CWB, Women Techmakers Curitiba, Tech Ladies Brasil… From web to mobile development, entrepreneurship, female protagonism and a lot more topics! You can find those groups near you using Meetup and even your LinkedIn account.
You can also find global communities, like BrazilJS, which helds the biggest JS conference in the Universe!
Since the main goal of communities is (or it should be) help people, you’ll find there a lot of them. From beginners, curious people, to experts and masters of knowledge. But, beyond their knowledge level, or their experience level, they’re all people like you! And most of them are willing to help and improve each other.
Quite often I see some jerks inside those communities, joking about beginners’ doubts or the lack of information about a topic - unfortunatelly it’s part of our human perverted nature. It may scare newcomers - and it scares me sometimes. What do I do about it? I separate the wheat from the chaff and try to absorb what’s good - also, I report some behaviors to the communities’ leaders.
Taking part on a community
There’s no secret in joining a community - you go there, interact with people, and repeat. For many people, who don’t have access to information, communities are a nice way to taking part of their place in society.
After you start to get along, participate on discussions, start to learn and get mentored, you’ll be recongnized, and it can be a turning point for you - to contribute, teach, speak and help other people.
Communities can help you in a lot of ways, I can’t even talk. Also because every person will have a different experience in joining a community.
It’s common to see those “external” communities with some glimpse. But yourself can create a community with your friends, your colleagues by simply keep in touch with them. Studying the same subject, creating projects, helping each other. It’s a community as well as any other.
One of the greatest odds you win when you get along with a community is that you start to become a better person, and it has no price!