Best way to market my self as a dev

You've heard it before. As a dev how can I get better at marketing? For me marketing is just posting my buildinpublic on X. But I constantly feel like im posting into a void.

How should I "up" my game? 

Things I've thought of but haven't tried yet:
- A twitter feed trying and reviewing open source projects (keep productive but for open source)
- Build in public video journals for youtube

What do you think would be best? 

best devs never market themselves, never saw one that was REALLY good that did any marketing.....sound silly (I know) but it's the truth :)

If your goal is to become a good programmer, I'd say the best marketing is just creating great code. Contribute high quality code to open source projects you use and love, meet the maintaners and other contributors, etc. The programmers I have the most respect for are the ones that consistently pop up on Github as being related to projects I use and love. I've never admired any programmer that just goes on Youtube and says "hey look at me, I'm a good programmer!"

I'm in the same boat as you. The advice I'm going with so far is go with more volume in one space instead of going wide with Twitter, youtube, etc.

So focus on posting and engaging (and getting more engagement) on one platform at a time before expanding.

I recently asked this same question in my local tech community, and largely the response I got was that a lot of freelance developers, especially if solo, will mostly get work through their professional network. That's been the case for me and others I know.

So on top of social media/content marketing, are you building your network as well? Start locally in your region and expand outwards.

Fellow freelancer and marketing strategist. :)

  1. Are you selling web dev services (a freelancing brand), web dev products/what you build (product brand), a combination of the two, or something else entirely (i.e. like content monetization through YT/Twitch)?

Basically this boils down to: What are your goals? And if you have multiple, what's your primary goal right now?

Of course you need to also clarify your branding -- what you do, who you do it for, what they get as a result, why it matters.

  1. Think about the people who will support you in reaching your goals.

If you're freelancing -> clients
If you're building products -> customers
If you're monetizing content -> YT/Twitch/Medium/Substack/whatever subscribers

Where do they hang out the most that you can capture their attention?

(Important distinction because, sure, my SaaS clients might be on TikTok, but they're probably not looking to hire a writer while scrolling TikTok so that's not a good use of my time to market on there.)

If you're building multiple things with different audiences, think about it for each.

(For ex: I'm building a membership for creative service providers + many of them are on Facebook and Twitter. I'm also a service provider for corporations, so I'm on LinkedIn and in cold email. Two audiences, different spaces.)

  1. What are other web devs already doing on those platforms, and how can you set yourself apart?

Even if it's just one thing you're doing that others aren't doing that you can do (and do well), that's a great way to bring attention to your content/brand.

(For ex: If you want to monetize your content on YT and most web devs are teaching web dev skills, you could have videos where you're working to show the process while you have a voiceover teaching what you're doing, but it's showing people PRACTICAL skills in a realistic way.)

  1. Think about who's in your professional network who can refer you to potential clients/opportunities.

Chances are you already know people who know people who need your service/product. Leverage that.

Final thought: If you need clients ASAP, focus on outreach 80% and organic marketing 20%. Organic marketing is great for long-term sustainability, but if you need cash now (JJ Wentworth commerical, anyone? lol), then prioritize having conversations with people. That's coffee chats, networking meetups, cold emails, etc.

This is very valuable

I'm glad you find value in it! It's a lot, but it's actually really simple once you put it in practice. :)

Nice answer Cat, your answers always make me think!

@Tom that's one of the best compliments! I'm glad you enjoy my ramblings.

Low effort:
Get testimonials / recommendations from every single employer / client when you wrap up the work.

That helps in the long run and the result compounds over time. Especially when we do not have code to showcase.

Medium effort:
Write on or your personal blog, I see some great devs who publish rarely (1-2 article a year) but that still helps.

High effort:
Then comes open source contributions, building projects. Building projects in public in great but you need to have atleast one polished project/app people use.

Now curate all these on a personal website / social media / resume.

How's your LinkedIn? Maybe start by asking old collegues for testimonials. I never done that myself until for my last job. I thought to myself "you never know" and it's better to have something there.

Do you write a blog? Then you might want to start. I regularly get featured in newsletters and I would say plenty of people "know me" now in the community. Sometimes I get a job offer too.

As for X posts, maybe you haven't reached a critical number of followers or you simply need to change what/how you tweet. Experiment more.

As a software company owner and dev, I used to find excellent developers through "#buildinpublic." However, since August last year, it has become much less useful. Therefore, I will now rely on it to find wip. Seeing the projects someone has worked on for their own ideas before workin' with them becomes the most reliable portfolio.