How do “rockstar” developers build their brand online

Posted on Leave a comment

Apparently, some “rockstar” developers are easily able to find time to write quality, long articles, and post multiple, meaningful updates on social media. In contrast, the rest of us “struggling” developers find it difficult to take out time to even share photos from our last vacation. Why is it so that these rockstar developers manage to go about their daily job as well as building their own robust brand with relative ease?

I have multiple times unsuccessfully tried to emulate this, blaming my own approach after each failure. But is that a fair thing to do?

So what do the rockstars do differently? A few possibilities to mind:

  • The rockstars are super-humanly hard working, and sleep for only 3-4 hours every day.
  • The rockstars have mastered the art of time management.
  • The rockstars have discovered the mystical ways of doing work or writing blogs in sleep.

Possibilities #1 and #2 are very much plausible. Still, can we add something else to this list? It turns out, we can:

  • The rockstars build their brand as part of their day job!

Weird. Does that make rockstar developers just as much human as you and I? Is that undermining their capabilities and powers? I don’t think so.

Just look at the contributors page on the once extremely popular web development learning resource, HTML5Rocks:
https://www.html5rocks.com/en/profiles

Almost 90% of all Google profiles are members of “Developer Relations” team. Popular guys such as Addy Osmani, Paul Irish, etc. are all part of this elite group. As it turns out, Developer Relations is Google’s dedicated group whose only job is to engage with the community. We may call them evangelists, teachers, speakers, consultants or developers, but their primary job is to learn new things, solidify their strengths, write great stuff, teach people, speak at events, help clients, and promote products of their organization.

There are a ton of similar examples. The next time you read a good Medium article or follow a popular developer on Twitter, take a few seconds to note their professional profile especially when they are active posters. Every great company you can think of has a team akin to Google’s Developer Relations. Microsoft, Adobe, Amazon, Airbnb… you name it.

And then there are rockstars who are freelancers or have their own startups. They are able to work on their own terms and so are able to find time to build their brands. After all, the more robust their brand the more business they are likely to get.

How cool is that!

I wish I had a job like that, even for a few months, so I could work on building my own brand.

Disagree with my analysis? I would love to hear different perspectives.