Success in Programming: How to Gain Recognition, Power, and Influence through Personal Branding

Summary

Frédéric Harper gives software developers or programmers the perspective of envisioning themselves as top famous actors or musicians in an effort to care about their own brand. The core message throughout the book is: "Think about yourself as a brand".

As a technical evangelist at Mozilla, the author writes with passion and shares a contagious motivation about building an excellent reputation to enhance the reader's career and become a "go-to" person for programming jobs and opportunities. All of this oriented in the direction of achieving personal goals and dreams.

The book is primarily written for developers. Harper starts explaining the concept of branding and how companies use logos as visual signatures of their brands. Then this idea is applied to think about oneself as a brand.

One of the aspects emphasized by the book is the fact that whether we realize it or not, everyone is already being branded and it is better to be conscious of it and start now actively working to build a powerful and strong personal brand.

Harper devotes a chapter to help readers to define their brands based on their personal specific and measurable goals and dreams. This is analyzed by examining two components:

  1. Who you are
  2. Who you want to be

Using tools such as social media or StackOverflow combined with different networking strategies is a suggestion found in the book to help readers in the process of building their personal brands.

This book can be seen as a marketing tool with the difference that instead of selling a product, the goal of the book is to help readers to sell themselves and become famous as part of the process of developing a successful career as a software developer.

J: Just citing the book - M: My conversion from theory to practice (10) - CR: Created - LU: Last Updated. (YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS GMT).

J:

"Thinking Beyond Yourself

Funnily enough, personal branding isn’t just about you. The main focus of thinking about yourself as a brand is you, of course. The goal is to improve your situation and reach new goals, but it’s not just selfish. By branding yourself, you’ll have an impact on others’ lives, and more than you think.

Ever hear the expression dumbed down? You may have seen this at school when the level to pass an exam was lowered so more students could pass their tests, a process called leveling. Dumbed down isn’t the only direction for leveling, and what I’m proposing to you is to change the trend, as I firmly believe you can also level by the top. Did you ever notice that you don’t get better if you’re the most knowledgeable person in the room? What happens if you’re suddenly surrounded by people who are more brilliant than you (at least with regard to a specific task)? You learn from them. You want to become better, to surpass them. You’ll improve your skills in that situation. By being that person, you will help others—you’ll be leveling by the top. This is why I think that by working on your personal brand, you’ll help others achieve their goals, too." (Chapter 2).

M:

I am easily the last one to leave the office but usually not the first one to arrive. All I need is to be the first one to arrive and start working and I will become "the first one to arrive and the last one to leave". This will be a way for me to "lead by example" so that I can "level by the top" in a way that I would not expect others to do what I do in terms of arriving early and leaving late, but at least I would be a good example to everybody about not being late at work. CR: 2019-01-23 16:59:59 LU: 2019-01-23 16:59:59 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1088149311429455878

J:

"Are you on Twitter?" (Chapter 3).

M:

Yes, I am. I had deactivated my account but I am back. I joined again on December 2018 and this time it is to stay! CR: 2018-12-31 22:00:21 LU: 2018-12-31 22:00:21 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079860835047165952

J:

"Sr. technical evangelist at Mozilla, web lover, T-shirt geek, music aficionado, public speaker, social beast, blogger, doing epic shit!" (Chapter 3).

M:

I included "Sharing my journey with books" in the summary of my résumé. CR: 2018-09-12 16:27:27 LU: 2018-12-24 04:20:59 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077057680131440641

J:

"Start a blog" (Chapter 5).

M:

I started http://www.jaimemontoya.com/books/, my blog about how I practice what I read. Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077051913512861696

J:

"Use social media." (Chapter 5).

M:

I am using Twitter. CR: 2018-12-31 22:24:29 LU: 2018-12-31 22:24:29 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079866590852771840

J:

"Remember Your name is your brand" (Chapter 5).

M:

I use my name as the domain name of my website and the logo is my name too. Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077052567887245313

J:

"Blogging is a good way to have an online presence on the Internet and get the search engines to admit that you exist." (Chapter 6).

M:

My blog is defining the content for my online presence and it is helping me to get the search engines to admit that I exist. CR: 2019-01-12 10:47:56 LU: 2019-01-12 10:47:56 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1084042365382393857

J:

"StackOverflow is great if you’re looking for an answer to a technical question. No matter the technology, if it’s a technical issue, you’ll find one or more tags (an example is shown in Figure 6-3) you can use, and probably someone who knows the answer and can help you. On top of being a great resource for you and your application, it’s an excellent resource for growing your brand. Why not start answering questions?" (Chapter 6).

M:

I have found good answers to my technical questions and I am an active contributor to help other programmers too. I have been answering questions since Nov 12 '14 at 3:47. My public profile is https://stackoverflow.com/users/4242086/jaime-montoya. CR: 2018-12-30 03:32:55 LU: 2018-12-30 03:32:55 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079220646721323008

J:

"Summary: Think about your elevator pitch. This is a good place to add some catchy sentences about who you are, what you do/did, and what you are looking for." (Chapter 7).

M:

I added this section to my résumé as my elevator pitch. LU: 2018-10-17 23:09:23 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077052936822378496

J:

"What could cause friction? Maybe you followed my advice on using Twitter because I mentioned it’s my blog’s biggest source of views after search engines. Maybe you started using Twitter more, but you don’t like it. Should you continue to use it in that case? No—even if it’s working. Going out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean doing things you really don’t like—it’s about silencing the little voice that says you are too afraid or not good enough to achieve something. If you don’t like it, stop using it and move to the next thing: there are plenty of ways to get visibility online. This is what I’m doing with Google+. As a technical evangelist, I should be there because many developers use it. Some only use Google+—no Twitter, Facebook, or anything else. The problem is that I don’t like it, so I’m not really using it. Use the tools that make sense to you." (Chapter 8).

M:

I am on Facebook. However, it was causing friction because I did not want to devote the time and effort that it takes to monitor and maintain the account providing new personal content regularly and staying active communicating with everybody. I kind of abandoned my Facebook account (except for programming purposes and to use the Facebook login feature for websites I visit) to focus on my website and Twitter instead. CR: 2018-12-31 22:43:59 LU: 2018-12-31 22:43:59 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079872076956270592

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