Get involved in the PHP community: 5 easy steps that take less than 5 minutes each

August 18, 2010

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Man I do love the PHP community. I have been programming computers for longer than I like to remember. I have floated in and out of programming communities, made friends, and generally enjoyed myself. The PHP community however, stands alone in the group of communities of which I have been a part as the friendliest, most interactive, and the most enjoyable to be a member.

I am always surprised when I meet a PHP developer who is not involved in the community. Sometimes, it is a matter of lifestyle choice. Some developers develop because it pays the bills. They don’t want to be part of the community, they have other passions. I am ok with that, I don’t want anyone involved who doesn’t want to be. Other developers however tell me they didn’t know the community existed, they don’t know how to get involved or they are just too shy to step up.

It is to this second group (and anyone who is already involved but wants more) that I want to talk to. If you want to get involved in the PHP community here are 5 quick ideas to get you going.

  1. Email your local PHP User Group and offer to speak
    The project you are working on has something unique about it that others haven’t seen. Share! You don’t have to be a professional speaker, heck you don’t even have to be comfortable speaking. Just dive right in and speak. Don’t wait until you’ve been a member for a few months, you can always come up with excuses. Get out there and do it. [Side note: If you don't know who leads your local PHP User Group, check php.meetup.com. If there isn't one in your area, guess what, you have just been elected to organize it! Go join the PHP User Groups Admin mailing list and get to organizing.]
  2. Setup a PHP tag on your blog.
    Your blog is just that, yours. I don’t have to like everything you blog about. Honestly, most of the time I don’t care about your family issues, your vacation slides on flickr or anything else. I DO care however, about what you have to say about PHP. So setup a tag or a category that I can add to my feed reader that is just your PHP stuff. Then, of course, the corollary to this point is to blog regularly about PHP.
  3. Submit something to DevZone!
    Do you know why I am writing this today? No it is not because I am self-important and love to see my name on the web. It is because nobody submitted anything to DevZone today. If you have something to say, why not say it here. If you wrote a new tutorial, write 500 words here about why it is important. I have to work a lot less if you help share the load. For your effort, I’ll share the traffic of DevZone with you.
  4. Re-tweet something about PHP.
    Ok, so you’ve only got 100 users. Your users may not be following Ben Ramsey, Nate Abele, Derick Rethans, Rob Allen, Kevin Schroeder, Elizabeth Naramore, or any of the hundreds of other really smart PHPers out there on twitter. So when you see you favorite PHP person or project tweet about a new tutorial or release milestone, re-tweet it for them. If we all help each other, we all get a little help.
  5. Find at least one other PHP developer that is not involved in the PHP community and convince them to read this list and take action.
    Yes, that makes this a chain letter. Instead of prosperity, happiness or any other warm fuzzy however, helping grow the PHP community is going to help grow your personal network and open new opportunities for you. If you have to make it all about you, then this is your reason to get involved.

So there, 5 things you can do right now to get involved in the PHP community. None of these take more than 30 minutes, some take less than 1. Don’t put it off, get involved now!

Additional Reading and resources

About Cal Evans

Many moons ago, at the tender age of 14, Cal touched his first computer. (We're using the term "computer" loosely here, it was a TRS-80 Model 1) Since then his life has never been the same. He graduated from TRS-80s to Commodores and eventually to IBM PC's. For the past 10 years Cal has worked with PHP and MySQL on Linux OSX, and when necessary, Windows. He has built on a variety of projects ranging in size from simple web pages to multi-million dollar web applications. When not banging his head on his monitor, attempting a blood sacrifice to get a particular piece of code working, he enjoys building and managing development teams using his widely imitated but never patented management style of "management by wandering around". Cal is currently based in Nashville, TN and is gainfully unemployed as the Chief Marketing Officer of Blue Parabola, LLC. Cal is happily married to wife 1.28, the lovely and talented Kathy. Together they have 2 kids who were both bright enough not to pursue a career in IT. Cal blogs at http://blog.calevans.com and is the founder and host of Day Camp 4 Developers

View all posts by Cal Evans

10 Responses to “Get involved in the PHP community: 5 easy steps that take less than 5 minutes each”

  1. kissdan Says:

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  2. Nozavroni Says:

    I totally agree. As a PHP developer, nothing but good can come of getting active in the community. I can say without a doubt that my activeness in the PHP community (however little it may be), has helped my career immensely. It’s especially helpful to those who a) didn’t go to college, b) haven’t yet proved themselves to be a professional developer or c) all of the above. When hiring, a company wants to see that you are passionate about your job. In my opinion, activeness in the community speaks a lot louder of your passion for PHP than a degree any day.

    Having said that, here are a few more things you can do:

    * Start an open source project. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or overly complex. Write a validation library or a form processor.
    * Join an existing open source project. If there’s an open source library or application you use a lot, ask if you can contribute. Often these projects are underfunded and understaffed and they are thrilled to have the help.
    * Contribute directly to PHP or the Zend Framework
    * Join a forum or mailing list. I can honestly say I learned more by frequenting the PHP Developer’s Network forums than by all other means put together. Now I’m a moderator there (although I don’t frequent it as much as I used to)

    All of these things make you look like a rockstar to prospective employers. When they see that you spend your free time doing things like this, it is obvious to them that you are passionate about and genuinely enjoy PHP.

    Have fun!

  3. inverselogic Says:

    The article was very interesting and helpful. Thank you for posting this kind of articles.

  4. kthari85 Says:

    Great post. We all learn from the community . So we must pay back .. Give and take should be the the policy.

    I loved your 3 points . That’s always right . You will teach or you lean some other good way than yours.

  5. knokio Says:

    I just subscribed to Meetup Lisbon. It would be nice to have more PHP communities working together. Nice article :)

  6. martin1982 Says:

    lion21: I’m not sure if this directory is still up to date, but it seems like a fine resource to check for a user group near you.

    http://www.phpusergroups.org/groups.phtml?menu=groups

    Hope it will help others too

  7. lion21 Says:

    are there any PHP user groups in Delhi India ??

  8. admin Says:

    Marcus,

    Nah, don’t worry about that. Either
    1) you are doing it wrong and someone will politely point it out or
    2) you are doing it right and you will help someone else understand.

    Possibly 3) a little of both and someone will point out the bad and congratulate you on the good. :)

    No matter what though, for the most part, we don’t flame, we help people understand.

    =C=

  9. marcusmyers Says:

    I would love to submit something just afraid of getting flamed about no you didn’t do that right…

  10. admin Says:

    From my friend Rob Allen…

    Be aware that not all PHP user groups pay to be on meetup. For instance in the UK, I’m aware of:

    * PHP London (http://www.phplondon.org/)
    * PHP West Midlands (http://www.phpwm.org/)
    * PHP North West (http://www.phpnw.org.uk/)
    * Leeds PHP (http://www.leedsphp.org/)
    * Sheffield PHP (http://thegisthub.net/groups/php/)

    and there’s potentially a Bristol/South Wales group starting soon (http://twitter.com/stuherbert/status/21419143588)

    I’m very sure that all the groups would love to have people come and join. Bonus points for sharing what you know with us :) The general format is a meeting with a talk where we all learn something followed by an opportunity to network in the local pub…

    Regards,

    Rob…