You have to monitor your reputation as a web developer because most of the time it's all you have. There are some certifications, but not all companies recognize them and that makes it a little harder to prove that you know your stuff. Here are a few things to keep you in the good graces of the tech community and the people that pay you.
Your code speaks for itself. If your websites and applications suck that means your code sucks. Being able to convince clients and employers to hire you starts with what you show them and that's going to be something related to your code. Even if they just ask you programming questions, your code is still relevant because that's where you draw your experience from.
There shouldn't be certain people that talk about how great your work was on one project and a different group talking about how terrible your coding skills are. Consistency is the key to writing quality code and being seen as someone who writes quality code. Doing one project incredibly well isn't an excuse to skimp on the next one. Be consistent.
Staying up to date is another way to keep your code at a high quality. Some of the updates to programming languages fix security issues or make it easier to write certain functionality. Your code should show that you are able to keep up with the times and you are making an effort to continue learning.
Going to professional events is one of the best ways to build your reputation as a developer, especially if you're in the job market. Networking is one of those weird things that most people don't like to do but it actually works. Just show up a few times consistently and somebody will talk to you if you don't talk first.
This is how you find out what the web development scene is like in the area and you might meet some people you end up working with. Talking with and listening to other people will teach you the stuff that you really need to know as a developer. You'll also be teaching other people the things that you know and it could be more helpful to them than you know.
After a while people will start to recognize you and next thing you know, you're the person people are looking for. Most of the time it's not about who you know, but who knows you. Make sure you're becoming known for the right reasons.
Don't commit to deadlines that you can't meet. Don't take on clients you can't handle. There's a difference between taking a challenge and setting yourself up for failure. Taking a challenge will push you to your limits but accepting a project in a language you've never seen with a seven day deadline is eminent failure.
Your reputation is largely dictated by your clients and employers because they're the ones that see your work at almost every stage of the process. When you sit down and tell them what you can do that’s exactly what they expect and then some. The second you start to miss delivery dates or submit half-finished work is when you upset the wrong people.
Know your skill level and plan accordingly. One of my mentors always told me it's better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and under-deliver. Take that for what it's worth. 🤷♀️ Don't bite off more than you can reasonably chew and you should be fine here. On the flip side, don't forget to accept a challenge from time to time!
As a web developer you will never stop learning something new. There will be new programming languages, new frameworks, and new stuff we haven't thought of yet. That's the exciting part about web development. It never gets old and neither can you.
Staying up to date is a necessity and it shows how adaptable you are. That's why your reputation depends on it. If you only show people the work you did 10 years ago they're going to think that's where you're stuck. Learn some of the newer frameworks because it will come in handy.
The point is to show people that you are constantly learning and you enjoy it. Once people see that you like to keep moving forward and growing they feel like you know what you're doing and start to have confidence in you.
Most of your reputation as a web developer is going to come from your work and the people you worked with. You can make it through your career without very much of a reputation at all but it's a whole lot easier when you have a good one. 🙂 Has anybody else had experience with a good or bad web developer reputation?
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