From Zoom and chats on Slack to networking at conferences and meetups at coffee shops, I have found nothing short of a supportive community. I started my programming journey a few years ago and after receiving so much help from other developers, it feels great to be able to give back.
Every Wednesday I chip in at Ref Code, a place that aims to help refugees and immigrants find community in the tech sphere and learn to code, whether as a hobby or as a career. It's made up of many volunteers. Volunteering is a very rewarding experience, and I would recommend that everyone, regardless of developer status, tries it at some point.
In my experience, it has helped me:
Feel more confident
- Everyone experiences imposture syndrome at some point. But if you put yourself out there and lend a hand to others, you'll find that you know a lot more than you thought.
Learn from others
- When I show up to Ref Code, I don't just go there to assist others but to also learn from them. As developers, we are constantly learning new things, because tech is ever-evolving. And maybe the person you're helping will find a solution to a problem you may not have thought of.
- Volunteering shouldn't feel like a chore––find yourself a place with people who share common interests and can learn together. Make friends and connections and support one another. If you're looking for a job, you'll want references.
Looks great on a resume
- Speaking of references, having volunteer experience on your resume is always a plus. It shows your dedication and you'll go above what's expected from you, your willingness to try and learn new things, your compassion and that you want to help others.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try new things! We're developers, after all.