Be Thankful and Show Gratitude
It's highly unlikely that you're a software developer who works in a vacuum. Here are a few tips for showing your gratitude to the people, companies, products, and tools that help you to be successful.
Sponsor - DevIQ
Thanks to DevIQ for sponsoring this episode! Check out their list of available courses and how-to videos.
Show Notes / Transcript
Last year around Thanksgiving I published an article about showing gratitude as a software developer. I'll link to it in the show notes and I encourage you to read it if you find this topic interesting. The topic of showing gratitude and being thankful, specifically as software developers, remains relevant today, so I thought it worth revisiting.
Since you're listening to this podcast, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you're a software developer. A programmer. A coder. Maybe that's not your title, and maybe it's not even your main responsibility, but you've built software. In building that software, regardless of your platform or language of choice, you've almost certainly leveraged a wide variety of resources that helped you along the way. You may not even realize, or perhaps you've taken for granted, some of the things that helped you. As the saying goes, sometimes you don't know how much you miss something until it's gone. Many of the most valuable resources we have available to us are provided freely by others. If those others feel unappreciated, they may take their passion and energy elsewhere, so don't assume that just because someone isn't charging you money for their efforts, that they don't value things you might do, non-monetarily.
Let's consider a few simple examples to highlight this point. One is StackOverflow. You've probably used it, since it's the de facto standard question and answer site for software development. When you find that answer you were looking for, try to give it an upvote. And while you're at it, vote the question up, too, since someone had to ask it in order for you to get the answer you needed.
Some publications, like Medium, provide a way for you to show appreciation by liking or clapping for an article. Be sure to show your support for content you find valuable by taking advantage of these features. In addition, you can share content you find interesting on social media with a quick tweet or post on Facebook or your own blog (thus producing some additional content of your own).
Of course, for a podcast like this one, leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher is highly appreciated (assuming it's a good review). Reviews help your favorite podcasts get discovered by more people, and also encourage publishers to keep producing content. It can be difficult sometimes to record content in a vacuum and send it out to the Internet, not knowing who is actually listening to it, or how they're feeling about it. It's very different from public speaking because of this lack of feedback. Reviews, as well as comments on individual show pages, are one way you can let publishers know they're being heard and appreciated.
You're probably using some open source tools as part of your development. Most open source projects I work with today are hosted on GitHub. If you find a particular project helpful or interesting, see if you can help support it. In GitHub, starred repositories are easier for you to find later. In addition, from their docs, "Starring a repository also shows appreciation to the repository maintainer for their work. Many of GitHub's repository rankings depend on the number of stars a repository has. For example, repositories can be sorted and searched based on their star count." Of course, you can also take to social media or any of the other things I mentioned to show support, as well as offering to help by adding issues, fixing issues via pull requests, or offering to help document the project. Often end users can provide extremely valuable documentation since the maintainer of the project may not realize the ways in which many developers use their library or tools.
By showing appreciation for the tools and resources you use to be successful, you're doing a few things. You're helping to ensure these (generally free) resources continue to exist. This is obviously good for you. You're also setting an example for others, who may do the same, which magnifies your own contributions to further help support these resources. Again, good for you. You're also potentially developing positive relationships within the developer community. Who knows which tweet, comment, or pull request of yours that expresses gratitude will lead to a connection that culminates in a new contract or job opportunity. People get invited to help support projects they support. People want to work with supportive, helpful people. Aside from "being nice" or being "the right thing to do", actively showing gratitude within your professional community costs you nearly nothing but can yield tangible benefits in your career.
If you found this particular episode helpful, please consider leaving a comment on the show notes pages. If there's a way that you like to show gratitude, or if you're someone who offers their time for free and there's a way you like to get positive encouragement from your users or audience, please share it.
Additional Ways To Show Gratitude (add yours in comments below):
- Follow person/project on twitter
- Like their Facebook page
- Follow individual/project on GitHub