Guest post by D³: LIVE & INTERACTIVE guest Sue Varty.
Have you done your homework? If not, download the worksheet and read Part 1 – it will help you complete the five steps below to implement your personal brand. Do you see any common threads or themes about what you’re all about in Part 1? This theme is important to keep in mind when you need to be consistent with everything you do online and off. Let’s get to work.
Write down your long-term vision for your software development career. Do you want to focus on architecture behind the scenes? Lead a team or become CTO? Do you want to start a developer community around a specific technology? Imagine your retirement party and all of the kind of accomplishments you would like have and write it down.
Find out how people describe you. Think about how you introduce others and how they might introduce you. Be straight up – ask some people close to you what they think you are known for. Request some references on LinkedIn. This will give you insight as to what people remember about you and your skills. Is it what you want? Will their descriptions help you achieve your long-term vision?
Write three statements about what problems you solve for non-technical people. For example, “I make it easy for our clients to access our software from any mobile device”. Have others read them and provide you with feedback. Which one did they like the most? Adjust your favourite statement or “pitch” accordingly to ensure it fits your long-term vision from step one.
Now it's time for a plan of action. You have a long-term vision, you are more aware about how others describe you – plus – you are now armed with statements that help tell the story of what you're all about. Whether it is blogging, participating in social media, writing a book, lighting talks, creating a series of YouTube videos on a topic or interest – what will you do to tell others about your brand? The key is to participate – and participate consistently. Use the themes and topics from Part 1 as a guide to plan what you’re going to talk about.
Do it. Use the plan created in Step 4 and showcase your interests and strengths through the channels you selected. By getting your brand “out there” people will start understanding (directly and indirectly) what you are all about. In time, your personal brand will grow. When you position your skills and interests on your terms – you won’t have to work so hard to prove to others you’re perfect for that next role.
Examples: 5 Steps to Implementing Your Personal Brand
Your long-term vision:
Become a team lead and eventually a CTO in a start-up or post-start-up focusing on cloud computing/SaaS product.
How do people describe you?
“Frank helped me with Azure. He got it done fast - before our target due date.”
Look at other’s Twitter lists (categories where they feel you belong).
Ask someone to introduce you to someone else or provide a recommendation – what do they say? Is it what you want?
What problems can you solve for others?
“I can take any website and turn it into a mobile app.”
“I streamline our code so people can access our software on any device.”
“I’m a developer who also studies web browser accessibility standards to help the blind.”
Plan of Execution (Monthly)
Build a following of experts to generate interest in an open source project you’d like to start.
What can you showcase and how/through what channel?
Code sharing/fork on GitHub
Before this blog series, how much of the above did you already have figured out? How much of it did you already have implemented?
Share them with myself, Sue, and the larger Canadian developer community – start a conversation in the Canadian Developer Connection group on LinkedIn.
Sue Varty Susan Varty, Director of Digital Strategy for HeadStart Solutions, is a social media and career development educator, non-traditional marketer, and an established blogger. She spoke recently about Personal Branding at ConFoo, a developer’s conference in Montreal and is the co-founder of HeadStart Social.
This is an excellent article on branding yourself as a developer. I agree that a long term vision for your business rather than the product is going bring you more ideas and opportunities. I have also been learning more about the process of software engineering in a non-technical book entitled, Digital Work in an Analog World, by John R. Fox. One of the points the author makes is to learn how to make Virtual Teams work for your organization. I highly recommend this one for anyone who wants a better understanding of the profession. You can find the author's website here: www.analogdevelopment.com
So glad you enjoyed the series on Personal Branding. Yes, long-term vision is key - and the earlier devs can figure out what they want to do "in general" - the better. I checked out the book and I'll pick it up - thank you! ~Sue