Tips on Building Your Personal Brand as a Developer

Published May 11, 2016Last updated Jan 16, 2017
Tips on Building Your Personal Brand as a Developer

Every now and then you hear the crazy valuations of startups (which have becomes brands), But how often do you sit down and think of the valuations of your own professional brand called “YOU”? Every big brand (company) constitutes of people having a different set of expertises, and it's actually the combined team effort of individuals people (like ”YOU”) that makes a brand stand out.

In today’s world, everyone has an online presence, be it to stay connected with friends/family, to express yourself, or to be discoverable by recruiters. So what is it that differentiates you from the crowd of many similar other online profiles? It's your own brand value that makes you stand out.

The consumer world is driven by brands. Your laptop, watch, shirt, mobile, etc. all are from brands that ultimately stood out of the crowd. These are the brand names that come to your mind whenever you think of a product these companies make. The same concept applies to us, i.e. people. Every good company wants to associate themselves with people who have higher brand value in specific skill sets, whether it is software development, marketing, sales, etc.

Startup and Entrepreneurs needs to stand out from the crowd to be a leader, to become visible to the world as a brand. You or your startup may be an expert in a particular field, but what is the use if no one knows about you?

In order for you to increase your visibility, you need to start projecting yourself amongst the decision makers in your area of expertise. Nobody else but you will go about telling the world that you know a particular topic really well. You have to do it yourself.

So What Exactly is a Brand?

A brand in simple words is your promise to deliver on expectations no matter what. You as a brand is a promise that you make to anyone who believes in you or your product. People stick to a brand because of the trust it has build upon them. Customers spends their time and money on a brand.

A brand resides more in the minds of people than as any tangible entity. It’s more about what customers think when they hear of a brand’s name, i.e. what (and of whom) do people in a professional will think of when they hear of a particular skill set. Do they think of you ? This is what differentiates you from your competitors.

Why You Should Invest in Branding Yourself

Everyone of us holds a brand-value of oneself. We represent our own professional brand. For example, If you are an employee at a company and decide to move from company A to company B, you carry your brand along with you. You represent your own brand. Therefore, your focus should be always on making the brand YOU bigger, more valuable and more visible to the world.

Are You a Brand?

How do you determine if you (as a professional) are considered a brand? Ask yourself what do you offer that others in your area of work do not? Here are few questions you can ask yourself to know that:

  1. Are you considered dependable when it comes to taking responsibility in workplace?
  2. Do people remember you for your insane work ethics that no matter what, if a task is assigned to you, it gets done?
  3. Do you deliver quality code?
  4. Do you bring innovative ways of doing things thereby saving time and money for your company ? (If you add value by delivering within budget, you will always be welcomed in any good team.)

If your answer to above points is a Yes, then congratulations! you are already a brand. Then comes another quick question set, you can ask yourself.

  1. Are you known in your professional community?
  2. Do you come to the mind of decision-makers in your field when they think of your skill sets?

If your answer is No, you need to market/sell yourself in order to be known in your professional community. In this internet age, your presence is not limited just within the region you are located in, but across the globe. So if you are really good at certain skills, you can be hired by anyone from any other part of the world.

Share Your Knowledge

In this age of social media, it is not hard to bring across to the world the knowledge which you have already acquired. This could be achieved in various ways. Some of them are:

  1. Write blogs: Blogging is one of the most impactful ways you can share your learnings with others. Start writing about topic in your domain. The topic of your blog could be as simple as Introduction to a topic of your interest.
  2. Use social media: You can regularly share your knowledge on various social media platform regularly, thereby building a follower list of your self.
  3. Be a speaker: Volunteer to give talks at local meetups (or conferences / events) on any of topic of your interest. The idea is to share your knowledge. There are so many meetup organizers always looking for speakers for their next meetup. This will make you stand out as an expert in your area of work.
  4. Become an author: Start writing books on any topic of your areas of expertise. There is so much help available online which will help you get started with it. You can even self-publish it online on various platform.

Tips on How to Stand Out

Introduce Yourself Differently

When asked to introduce themselves, most people normally use the name of their workplace in the first sentence of their response such as “I'm {name}, and I work at {company name} as {job title}”.

Although there is nothing wrong with this statement, it somehow overshadows one’s qualities by projecting the workplace first. Of course the company name is part of one’s professional identity, but projecting a quality which is independent of a company will be more impactful when it comes to projecting oneself as a brand. In order to make an impact on others, one need to be different and say something that is about YOU rather than about the company you work for.

Have Something You Can Sell About Yourself

Every field has a lot of people competing in the same space to be known. In order to stand out from the crowd, you should be taking an extra mile. Work on your own startup or projects. Go out and interact with people in your domain. This could be done by attending meetups, events, and conferences. You can also actively contribute to various social networks, forums, blogs and volunteer to help others who are facing issues in your area of expertise.

Be Confident About What You Offer

You need to be confident about your skills and have strong belief in your ability to deliver. It can only be achieved when you have a good understanding of what you're doing. This belief reinforces confidence in the mind of your employer about you. Ever heard of a good brand that is not confident about its own products? The same concept applies to YOU as a brand.

At the same time, be very cautious that you do not become over-confident to the point where you exude arrogance. You need to be very much aware about the level of your expertise and that you aren't always right. You should always be working towards improving your own abilities and staying updated.

Be Yourself

You can only make a lasting impact on people by being original and real to the core. Fake-ness does not last. Neither will it take anyone far in life. Few people want to associate with such a person, so your passion for any skill must be real. That is what will define you as a brand for your area.

Summary

Building your own brand is something you earn by investing time into improving your skills and nobody can ever take this away from your identity. This is what will separate you from others and make you stand out as a brand. You need to make people (your prospective employer or investor) aware of your skill sets. You also need to know how to market yourself.

Once you become a brand in your professional field, the world will come seeking you. Therefore, building your OWN brand is something which you should invest your time and focus into from today itself. Be a brand in your field and the world would want you !

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