I recently started a new role as a remote front end developer. The majority of my colleagues are a 4 hour drive away, and some would require a long haul airplane ride to visit. Whilst it is exciting to productively work with people from all around the world on a daily basis, working remotely does not come without its difficulties.
Personally, for me to feel productive at work it is important that I am surrounded by enthusiastic people that are passionate about development and general tech. I want to have that discussion about “yet another front end framework” and I will be the first to admit that I enjoy a bit of bike shedding. These casual, “water cooler” interactions are often the most difficult to initiate in a virtual environment.
That may sound a little negative, so let me reiterate that I do genuinely love my job. However, I also accept that due to the nature of my remote position it is sometimes going to be difficult to achieve casual “banter” with my workmates. Which is why I have recently been seeking other developer communities online.
You may have noticed that there are an abundance of free online developer spaces, usually hosted on Slack or Discord. Your mileage my vary, but I usually find them too noisy to be enjoyable places to spend time. It seems to me that there is a sweet spot for the amount of people within a channel before it becomes a chore to keep up with.
With all that in mind, I was seeking a small community of enthusiastic front-end developers to sling some divs with. Thankfully, I found that in the form of the ShopTalk Show Discord. The ShopTalk Show is a long running front-end development podcast hosted by Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert (It is very good, give it a listen if you haven't already!). The Discord server is currently only available to any listener who supports the show via Patreon. It's neat that I get to support a show that has been very valuable to me during my career, whilst getting access to an awesome developer community.
Let me give you a run down of what I dig about this Discord server:
- There are less than 100 active members within the server, making it easy to keep up with ongoing conversations.
- Users are paying for access via Patreon, so you can be confident that people genuinely takes value from being an active member of the server
- Everybody that I have come into contact with on the server has been friendly, interesting and enthusiastic
- Industry news is often shared as “hot drama”, so I am always kept in the loop of the hottest new web development drama
Honestly, the above points make the $8 a month to access the server (and support the show) well worth it for me.