Today, I want to briefly touch upon a topic I think is of utmost importance for serious software engineers. By serious software engineers, I mean the ones who want to take their careers to the next level and stand out from the pack; maybe you want to be the CTO of a big company or want to run your own startup. If these are not your aspirations, this topic may still be helpful to elevate your career and increase your earning potential. I like to keep my blogs and ramblings short and sweet, so I break them down into smaller parts to not bore people too much…So this is only part one.
The question is: Is your name SEO proof? Or what are you doing to build your personal brand?
Few software engineers think about their personal brands or SEO proofing their names. How easy do you make it for people to find you (the product) and your awesome creativity and ideas (your services)? Even though we have all the tools and know all the SEO techniques, few software engineers use this skill to improve their marketability. Meanwhile, we work everyday on projects that increase the visibility of the companies and clients we work for. Going so far as to make sure people can quickly find the clients’ products and services with a simple Google search. Yet when it comes to our own personal brands, we rarely think about that. Even when we know what people find when they google our names, we rarely take steps to build a solid brand.
The primary reason is because most of us are honest, humble, quiet, and shy away from attention. We prefer to build the software and let someone in sales or marketing run the show.
I absolutely understand this phenomenon and sympathize with it. I think it’s because most software engineers would rather work with computers, something without emotions, something that will not judge them by their appearance, something that will let them experiment without big consequences. If a program fails, we refactor, retry until we get a green bar (success!). Something that isn’t present when dealing with people. Usually, dealing with people means we get judged by our first impressions and we don’t get to refactor and try again.
Sometimes we get judged by factors completely outside of our control. For example, the biggest misconception out there is that software engineers are poor communicators, don’t have client management skills or project management skills. I want to argue against this view. I think software engineers make the best project managers and can usually sympathize with other developers since they have been in their shoes. However, they do need some training in developing the tangible management skills, dealing with office politics (that will be another post), back stabbing, etc… Because of the various misconceptions, few software engineers are given a chance at being great project managers.
Back to the personal branding question, as a software engineer what are you doing to be a leader in your field? Do you work on pet projects of your own? Do you contribute to open source projects? Do you attend meetups? Do you have a github account? Do you read great books? Do you blog? Do you share your knowledge with others?
For most software engineers (and me…surprise!), the answer is an emphatic NO! We are happy to have a job and don’t have the time. Further, with the structure of most jobs, we’re happy to come back home after a 9am-6pm shift (on a good day!) doing mindless programming. When we get home, we barely have time to exercise, eat dinner, and relax. We get up the next day and the loop continues with the same thing.
As as said earlier this is part one. In part 2, I will talk about actually SEO proofing for software engineers and how to make it easy for people to find us and our awesome services! I’m also open to others’ ideas about this topic…