The Importance of Developer Communities

The impact they have, and how to build them

Jennifer Wadella | @likeOMGitsFEDAY

Jennifer Wadella


  • Front-end developer
  • Girls in STEM/Technology Education Advocate
  • Founder of Kansas City Women in Technology
  • Organizer behind CoderDojoKC

So, why are developer communities important?


  • Growth-oriented?
  • New Technology?
  • Innovative Projects?
  • Open source work?
  • Time for R&D?
  • Full stack development?
  • Dev Ops?

Maslow's Hierarchy


Surround yourself with greatness.

Knowledge Sharing.

No man(woman) is an island.


Community Examples

com·mu·ni·ty [kuh-myoo-ni-tee]

a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists



Workplace User Groups

Other Workplace Communities

  • Thought Leadership Groups
  • Centers of Excellence
  • Lunch & Learns

Online Forums

User Groups

  • KC Geek Night
  • Wordpress KC
  • NodeKC
  • Girl Develop It!
  • Kansas City Code for America Brigade
  • Lambda Lounge KC
  • Kansas City Women in Technology
  • PythonKC
  • Upfront
  • Greater Kansas City Drupal User Group
  • Kansas City Mobile App Developers Group

How to Build a Community

Active vs. Passive ways

Passive Community Building

pas·sive ['pa-siv']

tending not to take an active or dominant part

Make Connections.

"Networking for developers"

Lunch it Up.


Evangelize Your Workplace

Love your job? Preach!

Actually Go to Stuff

Champion Developers Around You.

When someone does something fantastic, help them get recognition for it.

Social karma.

Give Feedback.

But do it right:
"I think this problem might be solving by xyz" vs. "This sucks."

Use Social Media.

I'm not kidding.

Active Community Building

Just Ask.

Start a Group.

Start a Chat Group.




(shameless plug for CoderDojoKC)

Plan an event

Hackathons, Conferences, Bootcamp, Civic Hacks

Things that can DESTROY a community

The 'Gray' Area

The goal is to create communities that feel incusive, not exclusive.

But there's always "that guy". What then?

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

Brilliant A**holes

Cycle of Competence.

Beware of "FNG" mentality


Wrapping Up