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JC Smiley
JC Smiley

Posted on • Updated on

Thoughts on the ripple affect of giving back to the tech community

I want to share some advice on why giving back to the community is beneficial.

The Cause

Several years ago I attended a Free Code Camp tech meetup in Memphis, TN. It was there that I met Ted Patterson, founder of the tech community Code Connector, and he listened to me talk about my personal projects. It was truly the first time anyone ever took interest in what I was doing and gave me positive feedback. I can make a direct correlation from that point to my success today.

This led to an informal mentorship as in not official or decided on. But he took time to critique my personal projects, answer questions that I had, and listen when I needed to rage against the unfair world. He was open to his career and path which exposed me to what was possible. I followed him on every social media to soak up knowledge. This led me to emulate his style as in how I present myself in the tech community. I love when I read those "I got a job" posts in our community and the following thank you to everyone for the support.

The Ripple

I say all this to scream how important it is to make time for others and to talk about what you do in tech. Even in small amounts this can make a powerful difference for others. An example is his kindness led to me getting a job in tech which led to me teaching others at a boot camp and they getting a job in tech. This doesn't even account for the effect on my family, the satellite families that I support, and those boot camp students family’s that are now supported from our jobs that were a direct result of his kindness.

AKA, Kindness creates ripples !!!

The advice is:

  1. At minimal, be willing to let someone know that they belong in this space.
  2. Sharing your journey into tech is a powerful way to expose others to what they don’t know and a potential path forward.
  3. Social media is a great way to unofficially mentor and support lots of people.
  4. Please take time to be curious about others and ask questions. Similar to a beautiful rose, just a little attention can cause someone's potential to bloom.
  5. Finally, find ways to give back and teach.

Top comments (1)

mackfitz profile image
Maciek Fitzner

Thank you for this post, I needed some positivity today - as I've been feeling a bit under the weather and lazy, too tired to be productive. I'm still new around here, and not a fan of social media - but I have been making attempts to get out there and reach out to the world. I don't really have a mentor, I'm more of a quiet observer type, and rarely have the courage to even strike up a conversation - but there are so many people in the general tech community that I look up to. Me, I am quite obsessed about some rather obscure aspects of CSS, and had serious doubts they'd be of interest to anyone else - but got some really heart-warming encouragement and a suggestion to start a blog. And so here I am. Haven't really gotten far yet, but working on it, and excited to be writing.