AMAs December 10, 2019

Hi, I'm Jessica Chan and I'm a self taught web developer and founder of Coder Coder, AMA!

Jessica Chan @thecodercoder

Hi, I'm Jessica Chan and I'm a web developer who got into the industry without having taken a class, bootcamp, read a book or watched a video (spoiler alert: I learned on the job).

Now, 7 years later, I run Coder Coder, a website that helps self-taught coders learn web development. I have an Instagram account with over 30k followers that I've built over two years, and have recently started trying to grow on YouTube and Twitter.

I'll be around on Tuesday 17th of December starting 10:30am Central Time (US) to answer any questions you might have!

  1. 3

    Hey Jessica,

    Thanks for making AMAs.

    How to build a strong personal brand on Instagram as newbie developer ?

    What kinds of post are most engaging in IG ?

    Thanks Again,
    Ilias

    1. 1

      Some cool things I've seen devs on Instagram do are:

      • Sharing their coding journeys and what they're learning, often with the #100DaysOfCode hashtag
      • Posting small tips using gallery posts (I do this a lot)
      • Creating cool-looking front-end code demos and posting a short screencast of the resulting code. Sort of like what you see on Codepen
      • Writing about struggles that they go through

      Hope this helps!

      1. 1

        Thank you so much for sharing these insights. I am sure it will helps

  2. 3

    Hi Jessica! I’ve stumbled upon your IG account a while ago and I often cite it as a successful example to follow.

    I still hear people dismissing IG because you can’t have links other than the one in your bio.

    What has been your experience so far? Have you been able to monetize the audience you built on the platform?

    1. 2

      Hey Andrea, thanks for the support! For Instagram's one bio link limit, most people are using a free Linktree page, or creating their own. I've built my own links page and host it on GitHub pages. I think it's worked well because users are used to clicking over to a links page for Instagrammers now.

      Monetization on Instagram is definitely possible but it's quite difficult to make a full-time living just off Instagram. If you have a big enough following (> 10k) you can work with brands and charge for sponsored posts. Or get free products to write about on your account, which I've done a bit of.

      However I think Instagram can work very well as the social side of your overall brand. It's great to interact with your audience on a more personal level through creating content, discussions in the comments, and answering DMs. I've also gotten to know my audience a lot better and understand their pain points through the questions I get, either by reading comments or doing Q&A's on Instagram stories. So for that aspect I think Instagram is still valuable even if it's not directly generating me any money.

  3. 2

    Hey Jessica! Props to you for climbing your way up. I too am self taught. I learned to code doing freelance work. Then took a year to build an app for a basketball league I was in, this taught me the most. Then I took off to San Francisco from a small town in Illinois.

    I'd like to grow my following. I don't want to use my personal account https://www.instagram.com/michaelaubry/. Would it be a good idea to create a separate account that is focused around coding and building my app (a video editing tool)?

    Also do you follow a protocol for posting and interacting? I am wondering if you have X amount of posts you try to hit per week and X amount of time engaging on Instagram? If so what is that?

    Keep up the good work!

    1. 2

      Hey Michael, thanks for the question! I definitely recommend creating a new Instagram account for your brand. If you have a Facebook page you can get a business Instagram account which lets you see analytics and other extra features.

      As for if Instagram is a good place for your brand, I would check around and see if people in your niche and target audience are on Instagram. Particularly if you can find people who would be potential influencers, it might be a good place to grow.

      I think what's more important than the volume of posts and activity is staying consistent. It'll be better to post 2-3x per week consistently, then posting 3x a day for an month then burning out. I'm not sure if this is proven, but I've read that Instagram will rank you higher if you are consistent. So try to stick with whatever you can do on a continual basis.

      Hope this helps!

  4. 2

    What do you think are the advantages of creating an audience on Instagram over the likes of YouTube?

    1. 1

      I wouldn't choose either/or, but I'm trying to grow both in the coming year. YouTube I think of as similar to my blog, in that I can create more potentially long-term content that I believe my audience is typing into the search bar.

      Instagram content has a very short shelf life, but it's been great for me to interact with my audience and be a bit more casual in sharing thoughts. And at least for my niche of coders, there's a pretty great community on there. So it's been a really fun outlet in that way, and I think I've been able to position myself as a helpful, educational coder there.

  5. 2

    Hi Jessica! First off, congratulations on building such an incredible community. What you've been able to accomplish with Coder Coder is inspiring.

    My question is: What is one problem that you see self-taught programmers struggle with the most and how do you recommend those people overcome those challenges?

    Thank you in advance for your time! Selfish plug - I'm the founder of The Bit, an online platform that matches self-taught learners, specifically women, together to complete online courses. If you're interested in collaborating, I'd love to connect via email.

    1. 2

      Very cool! The Bit looks like it's actually meeting what I see as a huge struggle for self-taught coders-- which is the difficulty in finding community and support. I love that you're helping match learners like that :)

      1. 2

        Thank you, that means a lot coming from you! I look forward to continuing to follow your journey with Coder Coder next year. :)

  6. 2

    What do you think are the underrated marketing channels for reaching developers?

    1. 2

      Hm, not sure about underrated, but one that I found out about more recently is Dev.to. It's a pretty friendly place to read and discuss programming topics with other devs.

  7. 2

    Would you like to come on my Code and Bootstrapping podcast?

    The last two guests were Arvid Khal (@arvidkahl) of Feedback Panda and Derrick Reimer of Drip, Codetree and now StaticKit.

    Basically anything about coding (including your learning or teaching experiences) or bootstrapping is fair game! Just let me know via the email in my profile if you'd like to hear more.

    1. 2

      Thanks for the invite-- I'm currently in a bit of a crunch trying to finish creating a course, but feel free to reach out again early next year.

      1. 1

        Will do and I totally understand!

  8. 1

    Hi Jessica do you now how to create a Blockchain music streaming App like musicoin , opus etc ? I'am Desperate searching for someone .

  9. 1

    Hey Jessica, thanks for giving back!

    As you teach new developers get started, would you have any feedback for my tool that lets users create APIs in their browser with data they enter into a spreadsheet?

    You can check it out at www.mvpdb.io and docs at docs.mvpdb.io. My goal was to allow someone even new to programming to instantly bootstrap a hosted data source that can handle queries and grow to a reasonable size .

    Do you think this can fit it to an early development tutorial or education?

    Thanks!!

    1. 1

      Seems like a cool idea! I'd recommend doing an in-depth write up on a specific use case and posting it on FreeCodeCamp News or Dev.to.

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