What is personal branding?
Branding is not just something that companies need to worry about. Individuals can also establish a personal brand.
According to Wikipedia,
Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.
To simplify this, personal branding basically involves putting yourself out there in a particular way to help promote yourself better.
Why is personal branding important?
Establishing a personal brand is important because it gives you an identity in public places. People get to know you for what you do and the impact you have created, and this establishes what you want people to think of when they see you or your work. This can help increase your connections and lets you meet people in similar fields.
It also helps you advance your career. When people like your work and projects, and get a sense of what you can offer, they might reach out to you to offer opportunities or freelancing gigs. This can be valuable work experience as you look for jobs.
How to build your personal brand
Building out your brand is a step-by-step process – you start little by little then it begins to grow.
Here is an example scenario:
Esther is starting her journey as a developer, and she decided to specialize in front-end development.
Over time, she's able to successfully create her portfolio so people can see the sorts of personal projects she's worked on. She creates an organized, on-brand LinkedIn profile so she can connect with professionals in her field.
As she gains more experience in the skills, she starts a YouTube channel to share content and tutorials about what she knows. She also co-founds a female tech community where she mentors young girls starting out in tech.
With these actioins, Esther has successfully started building her brand, so people get to know her for her she does.
There's no limit to how you can build your brand – it's an infinite process. So start now!
Let's look in more detail at the steps Esther took to build her brand. I'll explain them one by one here.
Find your niche
In tech, there are different areas you can specialize in, such as front-end development, back-end development, UI/UX, Cybersecurity, Data Science, machine learning, and so much more.
As an individual, it is best to be skilled in a particular field, so you can continue to develop your expertise over time.
Finding your niche basically involves identifying the field you are skilled in, and knowing what best works for you. That way, when someone wants to found a women-led company that mentors other women, for example, they'll probably think of Esther if they've seen her work.
Create a bio
A bio is a description of yourself. It doesn't really matter how long it is, as long as you get the information across.
Your bio should include your full name, occupation, some of your accomplishments, and your hobbies (if you want). Having a bio is important for your brand, as it gives an overview of who you are.
When writing your bio, you should use the third-person perspective.
Here is are some examples:
Abiola Farounbi is a front-end developer passionate about creating user-friendly and accessible web applications. She also writes technical articles on various web technologies in her blog.
John Doe is a Fullstack Web Developer based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He has experience developing web applications and web technologies.
John specializes in various web technologies ranging from front-end to back-end and also speaks at tech events worldwide, where he leads workshops and sessions on new technologies that he works with.
As a philanthropist, he also volunteers in helping out various NGOs in different activities in his community.
John enjoys a good Netflix binge and can also be found hiking in the countryside.
Create your portfolio
A portfolio is your personal website that showcases projects that you've worked on. It is basically a way of putting together your projects and making them easily accessible.
Creating a portfolio and putting it out there lets the public see your work and how skilled you are. This helps you promote yourself and showcase your expertise.
Either way you choose, your portfolio has to be creative and organized.
You can also add your résumé, skills, testimonials, and links to your social media page on your portfolio.
Here is a guide to help you create your portfolio:
Create your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is an online platform that gives recruiters access to your professional information. It also helps job seekers find opportunities to network and connect with each other and potential employers.
It also functions as a social platform for people with various skills to connect with each other.
Your LinkedIn profile is a means of posting your résumé online in a particular format. Here's what you'll include:
Professional headshot for your profile picture.
About / Bio
Job Experience (both present and past)
Education, licenses, and certifications
By creating an organized profile and building the right network, you are also promoting yourself for future career opportunities.
You can share content in different ways, such as starting a YouTube channel to share video content, creating a podcast, doing live-coding streams, and so on.
Content sharing goes a long way in building your brand. It shows that you want to help others learn new things from the content you share.
One of the other main ways of sharing content with people is through blogging.
As we learn new skills and gain experience, it's a great idea to share that knowledge with people. You can do this through technical and non-technical writing
To start, you will need a platform where you can share your writing. You can also have your own personal blog.
As with a portfolio, you can either create a blog from scratch or set one up using open blogging platforms such as
Hashnode or dev to. You can also apply to write on large publishing sites like freeCodeCamp.
Once you have a blog set up or an account on a publishing site, you can start sharing content like technical tutorials, guides, how you solved a problem, and so much more.
Build or Join a Community
A community consists of a group of people with similar interests and goals. I can't over-emphasize the importance of being part of a tech community – you'll find so many benefits, including:
Career growth and job opportunities.
A platform to share problems and find solutions.
A way to find mentors to guide you.
A way to impact people and get motivated from other people's experiences.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.
A Tech Community can be a large (Global) community such as freeCodeCamp or Hashnode or a small community, such as a local meetup. Join a couple, depending on your location and skills. You can either start one with some other people or join an existing community.
You can go through this list to find some developer communities to join.
Benefits of personal branding
Now that you know how to build your brand, how can you benefit from it?
When you are able to put your work out there and also create impact, it gives you opportunities to get job offers. You might also get invitations to speak at events because people want to work with you based on what they see you can do.
Your brand speaks for you
If you can build a successful personal brand, it can speak for you in public. There's a clear image of what you do, the type of work you do, and the impact you have made so far. This makes it easier for you to put yourself out there.
You can influence others
Your brand can help you spread your influence and increases your value. You are able to lead communities, mentor other developers, speak at seminars, organize workshops, and more – all because people can see what you do and who you are based on your branding.
It builds your network
Finally, having a large network gives you an edge. It lets you connect and network with individuals who might be more experienced in the field, which helps you grow and develop your skills.
In this article, we looked at what personal branding entails, how to build your brand as a developer, and the benefits you gain from building your brand.
I hope you have been able to gain something new from this article. If you have any questions, you can reach out to me here on Twitter.