There are very few great brands in the world. One that comes to mind in the bay area is Apple, the company has built a powerful brand, so powerful that the mere mention of a new iPhone makes fanboys and fangirls line up outside Apple stores. This is the result of the company’s obsessive pursuit of perfection, which stems from the passion of the people who run Apple. Building a personal brand is much like building a corporate brand on a much smaller scale. The central part of building a brand is showing your passion in an authentic way. If you are a programmer like me, you have to show that you are so passionate about programming that you program in your spare time on your own projects.
One of the biggest problems I ran into while applying for internships in my sophomore year was that I had no way of proving to employers that I could program. I had done programming assignments in my introductory classes, but they were quite generic and nothing to brag about. In order to mitigate this problem, I learned Python by doing tutorials on code academy. I started solving problems on projecteuler.net, these are mathematical problems that require knowledge of algorithms to solve. I solved about 20 of these problems and put the code in a public repository on GitHub so I could show it to prospective employers. GitHub is a great way to build a personal brand for coders. After doing these problems, I moved on to a website called HackerRank that rates coders based on how many problems they can solve. One of the things I have always wanted to do as a coder is to build a complete app or a website. When Apple announced their new Swift language in the summer, I and a former colleague built a rudimentary Tic Tac Toe game for the iPhone. This project taught me how to learn a language and/or technology fast, one of the most important skills to have for a programmer. We used stack overflow to fix the many problems that we ran into. All of these efforts have helped me create a portfolio of work that I can use to show prospective employers that I know how to code and how to work with other people.
The most important aspect of creating a brand for a Computer Scientist/Coder/Software Engineer is that you must show that you are extremely passionate about writing and shipping code. An essential part of this is coding in your spare time. In addition to having a LinkedIn presence, coders should also have a presence on stackoverflow, it is one of the few websites that can show your interpersonal skills. In the present day, personal online branding is absolutely necessary for programmers. In the near future, it will become necessary for all professions (Bauer, 2009, p. 8). Another important aspect of having a personal brand is making it authentic and believable (Hillgren, 2011, p. 27).
Marquardt, S. (2013, April 2). Personal Branding through Social Media. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
7 Personal Branding Tips from Apple. (2012, January 19). Retrieved November 3, 2014.
Bauer, R. (2009). Construction of One’s Identity. A Student’s View on the Potential of E-Portfolios. na.
Hillgren, G., & Connor, K. O. (2011). The Authenticity of Personal Branding.