Looking to learn new things? Meet like-minded programmers or developers? Want to share ideas or argue over new technologies? Our list of 15 essential programming communities can be all those things and more!
It’s no secret that the life of a programmer, especially that of a freelancer, can be pretty isolated. The more into the code we get, the more we don’t get out. We spend all of our time plugging away at our keyboards, looking for bugs or learning a new way to build an app so that it stands out from the crowd that it’s easy to forget there is a whole world out there.
The life of a freelance programmer
One of the reasons programmers get so locked into their work is a passion for what they do. This shared passion translates into an amazing resource as developers love to work together to find solutions, discuss new technologies and share useful tips about networking and freelancing.
Being a part of a programming community allows you to share and participate in this sharing.
There’s no doubt that you can benefit from joining a web developer forum. The challenge is finding the right programming or web development community for your needs. That’s why we have pulled together a list of our favourites.
A list of 15 essential programming communities for every web developer that include a range of useful sites fit for developers at any stage in their career.
Check them out and remember that these communities are all about give and take. Once you’ve found a niche that works for you, make sure to get involved by helping other developers, contributing to conversations, sharing ideas and getting yourself out there.
Joining programming communities are a great way to connect to a support network of millions of developers, find answers to burning questions, and stay on top of your game by helping others.
15 Programming Communities You Should Check Out
StackOverflow is an absolute must as a programmer community for anyone who is serious about web development.
Since its founding in 2008, it’s been the go-to sites for over 4.7 million developers. It is without a doubt one of the best places to find an answer to pretty much any coding question.
The site has a carrot and stick approach that works well. They reward users who answer questions often and do so thoughtfully. StackOverflow also helps ensure this by suspending users who demonstrate any unhelpful behaviour. You can rest assured that you are receiving top notch advice anytime you are looking for help.
The only drawback to this programming community is that there is so much going on, it can be daunting for the novice coder. Take your time, spend a little while lurking and reading and then jump in when you’re ready. The community is a friendly bunch.
Incidentally, as a developer, wouldn't you want to know what we look for when hiring an app developer? Have a look at this article here.
Toptal is the site to head to if you’re looking to join a network of extremely talented developers. It is also useful if you’re in the market to hire a freelancer or if you’re looking for work.
Toptal is an elite network of thousands of remote freelance developers from over 100 countries. They have all passed a rigorous set of tests that prove they are the top talent out there. This means your audience is the cream of the crop and most engagement should be valuable as well as entertaining.
All articles on the Toptal Engineering Blog are written by a network of developers. The topics range from how to make a success of remote working for you all the way to how the latest trends are changing the industry.
Toptal also has a resources page with hiring guides, interview questions and example job descriptions for a wide variety of languages. These are all designed for employers, but they function as great interview prep tools to make sure you’re ready to put your best foot forward with potential clients.
Finally, Toptal hosts community events and meetups nearly every day all over the world. These are great chances to connect with Toptalers in person, whether you want to learn more about working remotely and the future of freelancing, about the screening process, or if you just want to dive into rigorous conversations about the direction of the tech industry. All in all a great up and coming programming community which will surely become a household name very soon.
Developers Forum is an easy to use, no-frills programming community that hosts a wide range of forums on various topics from CSS and HTML to SQL and Ruby. The website doesn’t need much introduction because it’s incredibly straightforward. That’s why we like it so much.
The forums cover all sorts of questions, from client-side development to server-side development and site management. While the discussions are lively and rigorous, it is definitely a less intimidating atmosphere than Stack Overflow!
We especially recommend Developers Forum for beginners.
Github is a different type of development community from the rest on this list in that it doesn’t easily facilitate much back and forth communication between developers. Instead, it’s a place that makes it easy for users to share their code.
This makes GitHub an awesome coding and programming community. If you want to find other programmers to get down to the nitty gritty with you and collaborate on very fine details, GitHub is where you go. It is also a great resource to help you find other open-source code that might be applicable or helpful for your project.
GitHub is also a great place to spend time finding inspiration, as you can keep tabs on an incredibly wide variety of other projects that people in the community are working on.
As it’s not very conversation based, we suggest including Github with some of these other communities to provide a more rounded experience.
If you’re at all interested in building programs for Firefox, Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is the community to join. You can find out about the newest updates, common bugs, and how to craft websites for mobile devices on the site. MDN also provides a ton of information about all of Mozilla’s products and how to use them properly. The network also gives you access to a whole host of features that are useful more broadly, even if you have no background in Firefox development. They have a bounty of vibrant newsgroups, listservs, forums, news updates, and standards communities.
If you want to get the latest news on what’s going on in the development world, it’s definitely a good idea to sign up for a couple of these.
SAP Community Network (SCN) is the go to place if you’re a programmer focusing on business coding. If you don’t know what that is, business coding is used for businesses looking to build powerful and efficient client-side servers.
The primary language is ABAP, though you’ll definitely find that some business programmers use Java. If you already know all of this and are looking for a deeper dive into business coding, there’s no better place for you than SCN.
This programming community hosts events and webinars, sets you up with a mentor, makes it possible for you to download some sample code. It’s a great place for business coders looking to sharpen their skills and for newbies looking to get started in business coding.
Like StackOverflow, Experts-Exchange is a programming community forum that rewards users who are very active on the site. This makes it one of the most vibrant communities around. The site requires a membership fee, so you can be sure everyone on the site is serious about their business. That’s a negative in that you have to pay to join but a positive as you know that everyone there is there for a reason.
Every time you post a question, you have the power to assign a certain amount of points to all the users who provide an answer based on how helpful they were to you.
The downside with Experts-Exchange is obvious. You have to shell out some money. By doing so, you get to cut through the mess of amateurs and get access to very high level discussions about major coding challenges.
No list of programming communities would be complete without mentioning Reddit. The internet giant has communities for every conceivable topic and web development is no different. The Webdev Reddit is one of many development communities on the site and is definitely the most useful.
The Reddit covers most areas of development with some light hearted conversations as well as some more involved ones. This being Reddit, you also have contributors from across the world with a huge variation in skill level.
The Bootstrap Slack group is a collection of like-minded Bootstrap fans and developers that like to hang out in a Slack channel. There is a free flow of ideas, opinions, help and advice from across the world. It is sometimes quiet depending on the time of day but there are usually a few people around with the population really picking up in the afternoons and early evenings.
As most of us use Slack anyway, adding the Bootstrap group to your list is a great move if you use the platform or are interested in learning it.
The group is invitation only and while that makes it more difficult to get in, it also means the calibre of people you’re going to meet is going to be much higher.
Dev is ideal for beginners to programming and development as the community is exceptionally helpful. There is also a formal leaning towards advice, tutorials, and how-tos. While more experienced developers will still find a home there, it is a great place to learn more about development.
Coderwall is another rich and varied community that covers the entire spectrum of web development. It has a specific tips section to help solve problems or learn new things and a ton of resources for newbies and more experienced coders. The community is mostly helpful and productive and you could learn a lot here.
12. Designer Hangout
Designer Hangout is mainly concentrated around UX and UX design. There are developers and coders in the community but it is mainly around user experience. The membership is practical, helpful, productive and seemingly intent on helping each other out, sharing ideas and driving UX forward in meaningful ways. There is, of course, lighthearted banter too which helps lighten the day.
The community has a job board, holds regular in-person events, has Q&A sessions with insiders, a chat section and a mentorship program where you can be taken under the wing of an experienced developer and learn new skills.
Designer Hangout is invite-only but you can request an invite on the website. Like other invite-only communities, it adds an exclusivity that means you’re in great company with others determined to be genuinely useful.
Bytes is more a traditional forum for developers and IT. It’s a thriving forum with lots of posts across the full range of technology, web, development, languages and other pertinent subjects. The community is genuinely helpful and good-natured and while there is a lot of banter on the site, there doesn’t seem to be any toxicity at all.
Bytes is free to join with no invite needed so you will see people from all walks of life and all levels of skills and experience. That contributes to a wide and lively atmosphere. It also means many areas of web development, coding and programming will be discussed at one point or another.
CoffeeCup has a collection of forums across a wide range of topics, including software and web design. This is another traditional forum community but seems lively and has frequent posts from around the world on a variety of subjects. It is free to join and you don’t need an invite so you could begin posting right away if you like.
Subjects range from general chatter to programming languages, responsive design, CSS, Bootstrap and other subjects. The community is a real mix with some very experienced developers down to hobbyists and those considering it as a career. Most of the chat is positive and productive, which is a good sign for an open forum.
Hashnode is our final programming community that you should consider. It’s a mix of self-contained community and dispersed blog platform. It differs from many communities as users are actively encouraged to offer opinion-based questions and answers and to share news, ideas and drive the industry forward.
Hashnode also has a blogging platform where members can post their own articles and posts and share their knowledge with others. It also holds Q&As, events and chat to round out the experience. While inhabited by people at all skill levels, there is a real welcome to newcomers and beginners. This is great to see in an already established programming community.
Programming communities for everyone
These are only a handful of the programming communities that are there for you to explore. Each one has its own distinct personality and aims, which attracts certain types of users.
This list should be used to get you started. There are hundreds of programming communities out there, and there is absolutely no downside in getting involved in a few of them. If you’re interested in communities dedicated to particular languages or platforms, they are just a Google search away.
If you want to take things further, there are plenty of meetups in person which provide a great opportunity to get out and remind yourself that developers are as helpful and amicable in person as they are passionate and dedicated to the work on their screens.
What about you? Which programming community are a part of and what others should we feature on this article?
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