by Jocelyn Harper
October 12, 2021
When I started my career as a software engineer in 2016, I never thought that I would also be known for content creation. I had no plans of starting Git Cute Podcast nor any of writing A Software Engineer’s Guide to Seniority; I just wanted to become the best software engineer that I could be. As social media evolved, so did I. I found that over 11 years on Twitter, it was the platform where I had the largest audience (and the most interactions and impressions) from sharing my opinions and learnings about technology. The crux of my content creating issue was, “How was I going to be able to reach out to a larger market beyond the boundaries of the Twitterverse?”
Polywork: Making Cross Platform Content Easy
The main issue with being a content creator—for me—is that there’s a lack of useful tools to use for cross-promoting content across social media platforms. It’s for this reason alone that I keep most of my social media content on Twitter. And funnily enough, Twitter is the reason why I found Polywork.
Whenever there is a new tool that pops up on my timeline on Twitter, I approach it cautiously. However, with Polywork, there was something intriguing about giving a streamlined and organized version of LinkedIn.
But how could I make it work for me?
I will be honest; it took me a while to figure it out, but when it clicked, it was magical. Eventually I decided that Polywork was going to be my hub for all the content that I have across social media! Not only do I tweet a lot of content, but occasionally I do write articles for publications, stream on Twitch, and host in-person talks and workshops! What better way to highlight all of what I do than with a social media platform that easily allows me to showcase them and add my own tags?
Tags are the most slept on feature of Polywork. I think of the custom tags on Polywork like accessible hashtags. They are color coordinated, topic coordinated, and are highly encouraged to be used for every post that you make to your Polywork profile. Not only do they make it easy for me to catalogue my content on my Profile page, but it also makes it easy to connect with likeminded creators for collaboration (or to just find people to follow because you like to see what your peers are working on).
SWE => Content Creator => Author
Polywork was built for people like me who’s career journey—and current slate of work—doesn’t really fit cleanly into something that just a job title and 9-5 can accurately represent. And as I’ve gone back and documented my past accomplishments, it’s really underscored just how unique my career journey has been in a way I couldn’t have predicted.
For example, the success of Git Cute Podcast was truly a shock. Who knew that within a year of its start that I would be listened to in over 20+ countries and be consistently making the Top 20 Technology Podcasts in the United States? The podcast even managed to hit the Top 20 in Podcasts Overall in the United States! All my hard work into my podcast was reaping its harvest; my listeners were skyrocketing. People were following me on Twitter and caring about my opinions when it came to software engineering.
March 2020 marked the second-year anniversary of Git Cute Podcast, and I wanted to continue with the momentum of its success. I started thinking of other ways to expand the brand but also stay true to my core mission: to help URMs—underrepresented minorities—get into a tech role and excel. This forced me to look back over my career and think of the resources that I would have wanted when I first started on my technical journey.
I already had mentors, the skillset of adjusting how I learned and managed tasks, and the technical skills from my boot camp. Then I remembered what one of my mentors at the time said: “You need to work to become a senior software engineer.” Even though at the time I was already in my first senior role, all I was initially told was that becoming a senior software engineer was a milestone that I needed to hit, but there was no additional guidance or information. From there, I started writing down a list of questions when I thought about being a senior software engineer:
- What makes a senior software engineer different from an entry or mid-level software engineer?
- What was the difference in information that I knew before I become a senior software engineer and what I know now?
At first, I thought that I was writing out another transcript for the podcast. Then I realized as the list grew and grew, that I had enough questions and information to write a book! Who was I to write a book? I was friends with people that wrote their own books, but I didn’t think it would be something that I would put the effort into. So, like the many times before when I’m unsure, I asked Twitter and decided to launch a preorder to see if there was interest. Within 24 hours, I had 300 preorders. Now that there was money involved, it meant it was time for me to write!
Balancing Content and Work
When your main platform for content creation is Twitter, it is easy to get caught up in being “on” all the time, meaning that you are always on your app trying to keep up with the multiple hot topics that can go through Tech Twitter in a day. Some of them are important, and some of them are trivial, like the debate around if having a degree in Computer Science makes you a better software engineer than someone who is self-taught or chose a boot camp (for the record: it doesn’t.)
Because I am a senior software engineer at a company that has challenging work, I can’t spend excess time on social media while I work from home for my 40 hours a week. As someone that is neurotypical, the best thing for me was to create a schedule for content creation. During my workdays, I limit my social media times to my 15–20 minute breaks while I am applying the Pomodoro method and to my hour lunch.
For logging my less ephemeral professional thoughts and moments I don’t want to forget about or have them get lost on the fast-moving Twitter feed, Polywork helps me keep track of everything in a tidy timeline. Whenever a conference is confirmed publicly, have a talk, make progress on content creation, have a Tweet that has high engagement, and even when I am marketing for A Software Engineer's Guide to Seniority, I am cross-posting it to Polywork; It's the best living resume for me.
If you want to give Polywork a try for yourself, you can use my VIP code here to skip the waitlist!