Why a Personal Brand is Important for a Developer

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Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Personal branding is often conceptualized as how you view yourself but in fact, it is the opposite. It is about how others perceive you.

Hello everyone! In this article, let's talk about what is personal branding, why does it matter to you as a developer and how you can get started developing your personal brand.

Just a side note...

Before we get started, I'd like to mention that this article marks the 100th article I am publishing on Hashnode! It's truly been a blessing to be writing on this wonderful platform. Thank you to the Hashnode team and community for their hard work and support!


What's a Personal Brand?

A personal brand is a combination of your unique skill sets, experiences and character traits that people perceive and say about you.

Unlike a simple cover letter or resume, a strong personal brand can enhance your social presence, credibility and reputation. A personal brand not only creates an impactful impression on people, it also allows you to voice your values, missions, visions and goals to the public.


Some great examples of software engineers with solid personal brands:

Why does it matter?

Some may probably think:

But I'm a software engineer, can't I just focus on improving my skills and building my portfolio? It's such a waste of time to be building a personal brand.

Here are some reasons why it matters.

1. Visibility

In 2019, Bill Gates stated, "If you don't exist online, you don't exist at all." He mentioned this in terms of businesses, as a way to encourage them to start setting up online stores and connect with their customers better through social media.

I think this quote also applies to individuals. After all, a personal brand is like your own company, where you are the CEO and you are in charge of developing your own brand. Having a personal brand lets you stand out from the crowd and be more visible.


2. Opportunities

The biggest benefit of being visible is that opportunities will naturally come to you; because credible online reputation will make you more trustworthy in comparison to those without any online presence. You are more familiar, more respectable, and so it is easier for others to approach you and offer opportunities.

A CareerBuilder survey found that over 70% of employers today use social media to screen potential candidates and about 47% of them said they would not call for an interview if the candidate does not exist online. Many candidates with an online presence that indicates their qualifications will easily stand out and are more likely to receive offers.


My current job at PayPal was highly attributed to my blog and social media. If it weren't for my consistent efforts on my blog, which showcases my passions, interests and skills, it would have been hard to stand out and find a job here.

Besides receiving more opportunities, a personal brand also lets you create your own opportunities. If you have a side project, you can leverage your personal brand to showcase and promote it. Or if you wanted to reach out to a more well-known developer for collaboration, it will be easier to get a reply if he/she has heard of you before.

Ultimately, you can go beyond your daytime job with a personal brand.

3. Engage with your community

As you build a personal brand, you will naturally start communicating and engaging more with your community. This can help you learn faster and more deeply in topics you care about. By sharing your content, participating in discussions and consuming others' content, you are reinforcing your learning actively. Instead of only passively reading, active learning is more effective and long-lasting.

Plus, you can meet lots of amazing people online that you could have never met if you do not have a personal brand. The world is now connected via the internet. If you are not on the internet, you are not part of this highly connected world, and you would miss out on discovering wonderful people and communities.


Getting Started

If you are now convinced on the huge value having a personal brand can bring, how do we get started? Here are some tips.

1. Choose a Medium

First, think about what kind of medium you want to use to start being more visible. If you're comfortable speaking on camera and don't mind video editing, then a video medium would be great. Use platforms such as YouTube to start building an audience and become more discoverable.

If you just want to stick to speaking with no video, then an audio medium would be fine. Start a podcast on a topic you like and stick to it. Eventually, you will attract like-minded people who want to hear from you.

If speaking is not for you, then write. A written medium is also another great path to choose. It doesn't matter if you think you are not very good at writing. I have a series on Blogging Tips to help you get started.


2. Share Valuable Content

After you've chosen a medium, start sharing valuable content. People will follow, subscribe and read your content if it provides value for them.

Types of content you can share are:

  • Personal experiences
  • Tutorials
  • Dev Logs
  • Today I Learn

Try to start with a niche, something that you want to be known for. If you are learning something new, why not create some content about it as you learn? If you know something that you think may help others, why not share it? As long as you share any content that others can find value from, people will start coming back to your blog, channel, podcast, etc.

3. Leverage Social Media

This is a fuel you will need to drive the growth of your personal brand. Your social media channels will represent you as a person. It is your online identity.

Start with channels where you know you can find your target audience like:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Quora
  • Github


Setting up social media accounts is just the first step. The next step is to consistently be active on the platform. Post, comment and actively engage with the community in the platform. Share other content creators' work. Build and make new connections. Gradually, you'll be involved in the community as a valuable contributor and people will spread your content and support the value you bring.

4. Be Present in the Community

While it is great to be active in social media, you can take it further by increasing your presence in your community.

You can:

  • Collaborate in hackathons
  • Contribute to Open Source
  • Participate in Tech Talks
  • Get involved, build relationships with others

By really participating in events and showcasing more of your knowledge or skills on a certain topic, you are establishing yourself as a reputable brand. Collaborating with others can help you learn from others and gain insights from them. Again, it is about creating value for others. Sharing your knowledge, experiences and skills to help others grow is how your personal brand can have a solid positive image.

In Conclusion

Building a personal brand is not an easy feat. But the ones who work hard, genuinely wants to help others and give back to their communities are the ones who will deserve the great opportunities and achievements that will come their way.

I'll end this article with one last advice: start now. It's always better to start than never. You may think you're not ready now and will make mistakes along the way. But to be honest, no one is ever 100% ready when they start. So start.

Thanks for reading this rather long article. There're still some points I'd like to add but it's getting too long so I'll save it for another article. If you find this article insightful or helpful in some way, please share it with your community and give a like! Stay safe and cheers!

Lauren Lucero's photo

Thank you for the advice. I liked this article but the examples of software engineers with solid personal brands were all men when there are so many impressive women & non-binary devs out there with awesome personal brands!

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks Lauren Lucero for pointing that out. I just picked a few ones that I learnt a lot from but please, if you know some great people with incredible personal brands, let me know so I can include them here :)

Nick Bull's photo

Love it Victoria!

Here is my take on thei question: "What's a Personal Brand?"

Fundamentally brand is emotion.

Personal brand is an emotion that arises in people when they hear about you.

Strong personal brand is a strong emotion.

Want to build a strong personal brand?

Decide what emotion you want to evoke in people. The fewer words you can use to describe that emotion, the better.

Victoria Lo's photo

Nice one Nick Bull! Those are great points to add about personal brand too :)

Tyler Durham's photo

And bookmarked!

Thanks Victoria Lo, great practical advice.

Victoria Lo's photo

Glad you enjoyed the read Tyler :)

Michael Adebambo's photo

Thanks. O think I'll get started particularly on carving a niche for myself...

Brett Thurston's photo

Great article Victoria Lo! The advice is spot on and should help other up and coming devs it's far better to give than to receive and you get what you give.

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks a lot Brett :) Yes, giving is always better than receiving!

Efrén Vázquez's photo

I think your last advice is key in this article, you need to actually start in order to achieve some result, and now is when. Great post, thank you!

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks! Glad u find it useful!

Tapas Adhikary's photo

Victoria Lo, Congratulations on your 100th. Well deserved. Thanks for sharing this awesome piece of information.

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks Tapas! :)

Phillip Ninan's photo

Great read!

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks for reading Philip!

Favourite Jome's photo

Congrats on your 100th article once again and Happy New Month.

I guess I'm already in line with your tips on personal branding but hope to improve on my branding 😊. Thanks for always sharing insightful articles.

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks Favourite! Yes, keep going! :)

Sunrit Jana's photo

Well written, and really makes a strong point of why you need to have a personal brand. Keep writing and teaching us :D

Victoria Lo's photo

Thanks for reading Sunrit :)

Hayoung Lee's photo

Hi! I am leaving this comment to tell you that I fell in love with your blog.....! I am a programmer from Korea, and I always wanted to have a nice blog but didn't know how to start, and how to write. But your blog helps me visualizing my future goal..!

Rene Cocom's photo

This is just what I needed to read; I have been thinking about the building blocks for my brand and removing pieces that I felt least represent me for some time now. Thank you for your insight.