Hello Hashnode community, 🙋♀️
I'm Eleftheria, community manager at Hashnode and I recently celebrated my 1 year as a full-time employee in this role.
In this article, I'd like to go over my experience working at Hashnode, challenges, lessons learned and also cover some common (and maybe some uncommon but interesting) questions I got through Twitter and Instagram.
Let's start 🚀
How Did I Get The Job? 💼
One of the most common questions is how I got the job. And there is no TL:DR version for it!
We need to dig a bit into my past to answer this question. I used to work as an app developer in a Greek-German company. Work was ok, I liked it... but at the same time, I was doing a full-time master's in Graphic Arts & Multimedia (think about it as studying to be a UX researcher). Having a technical background (I graduated from a Polytechnical University in Computer Science) I had no idea about design, history of arts, human-computer interaction, UX, research, etc, things that were mandatory for the masters, it was very hard and time-consuming for me...
At some point, I realized I couldn't keep up with full-time work, full-time master's, and maintaining my social life and mental health. When I was in the last semester of my master's I decided to quit my developer job. 🤯 (The master's was in total 6 semesters. 🥵)
I started to work at my University part-time, where I was teaching UX to students and at the same time doing my own research for my thesis (the last semester I didn't have classes, I "only" had my thesis).
How I "Found" The Job
I was -and still am- very keen on learning new stuff and writing about them, tweeting or making videos about them. I was already using Hashnode to write about my learnings... So one day, just out of curiosity, I searched the career page, and I saw there were some interesting roles... I also saw a tweet from Sandeep, co-founder of Hashnode, where he was asking the community about feedback, suggestions, and ideas for the platform. I thought to combine sharing my ideas and discussing the jobs on the career page over a call!
Long story short, after discussing Hashnode, Sandeep said it's not listed on the career page, but they are looking for a community manager and asked if I was interested in something like that.
I mentioned I didn't have professional experience in that field, but I was definitely interested in the role... long story short, I got the job! 🙌
Note: I started working as a part-time employee in Hashnode since I had some work left at the University.
My Duties ✨
Another very common question is "what are your duties?". Trust me, I get why so many people ask that. It's not very straightforward what a community manager does; I also guess it differs from company to company.
With one sentence, I would describe "community management" as:
A developer advocate but with a focus on the community and social media.
Now, you may be wondering what a developer advocate is, here is a list of articles where you can read about it.
I won't list all of my duties and daily tasks, but I'll share the 5 most common things I do daily:
- Moderate Hashnode's community (on discord, blogs, social media, etc.) 👩💻
- Find good quality articles to share over social media 🔗
- Brainstorm how we can improve Hashnode 💡
- Write articles for Townhall 📝
- Advocate for Hashnode 💙
Something important that I'd like to clarify here is that I'm not alone, there is a team of people! So when I'm saying for example "I'm writing articles for Hashnode", it doesn't mean I'm the only one who writes articles. Other team members write too! And also people from other teams (thank you engineering and marketing team) will help me to review the articles or create graphics for me (thank you design team)!
I'll finish this section with a quote I love:
“Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people” - Steve Jobs
What ~I Think~ Helped Me To Land The Job
... and what can help you to find a similar job.
I already had a community, and I hadn't realized it... Yes, it was smaller than Hashnode's, but it was very important to me, and I was trying to provide the best value I could to everyone. I'm talking about my own community. The community I have created on Twitter, Youtube, Instagram etc.
Hashnode is all about the community (that's what I loved about it even before joining and that's also a big difference from other blogging platforms). We pay a lot of attention to our readers/writers. 🙌
There are obviously some differences when handling a personal and a professional brand but the main principles are the same.
Alongside the community, Hashnode is big on social media too. It needed someone who can handle that. I was already handling mine so I "just" had to jump into a professional environment. 🤿
Note: I'm a big advocate of leveraging social media's power to show your work. For me this worked in 2 ways:
a) Showing my work as a developer (coding, projects, tutorials, etc.)
b) Showing I can communicate with people (ask and answer questions, take part in conversations, etc.)
Writing And Speaking
As I've mentioned, part of my work is writing articles and from time to time creating videos for Hashnode's YouTube channel. Guess what, I was already doing that. I was writing articles for my blog and creating videos for my channel. That way, I had already proven I'm able to do those things! 📹
Challenges, Learnings, And Improvements
Let's talk about challenges, difficulties, imposter syndrome, things I learned or am learning, and points I need to improve!
I'll start with the biggest ~personal~ challenge... and this is communication!
So communication is key, and in Hashnode we have the mentality of "it's better to over-communicate than not communicating enough" (I think that should be the mentality for all companies, even more for the remote ones!).
As developers (here I'm not including the managers, leaders, or product owners who occasionally may code, but I'm focusing on the people who spend most of their time coding, a.k.a. googling and copy-pasting from Stack Overflow) we mostly communicate about bugs, fixes, reviews, new features, best practices... how to merge our code correctly (hello Github 😅). Now if you pay attention to all those things, you'll quickly notice these are "technical" things. Literally, all the other decisions are made by other people, and trust me these are a lot!
When I became a Community Manager, that changed completely. I had to learn to communicate my thoughts, not on a technical level but on a "people's" level. I stopped talking about code, and I started talking about how we can improve the community. This is fun, and I enjoy it, buuut if you take into account that I'm a very introverted person, quite shy, and easily get lost in my own thoughts, it was -is- hard! 😬 This is something I've been working on, being more open, and communicating more with my team.
On a similar note, someone may think that I studied "UX research"; UX is all about people and improving the experience, so we get to talk a lot with people... Yes, that's true, buuut there is a small detail; in UX you ask people, you interview people, you go through data, and your conversations are ~mostly~ one way. As a UXer you mainly listen rather than talk! And if introverts know one thing that this is listening! 😏
Marketing And... Imposter Syndrome
Ok, the other struggle is... marketing 😅, which leads to imposter syndrome!
My job includes some marketing stuff (hell, even the whole department I officially belong to is called the "Marketing Department" 😂)... I have to say I'm lucky to collaborate with very knowledgable people in the areas of Marketing, SEO, startups, etc, that way I improve myself daily, but I'd be lying to say I'm all comfortable around marketing and I always know what I'm doing.
I'm glad my team has the mentality of "do things, experiment, own your work", that's how we learn and improve.
There are more challenges and definitely more learnings, but communication and marketing are currently the top two. I don't have the solutions to all the big or small challenges, but I'm willing to work on them. Maybe next year I'll write another article, saying how I conquered these fields. 😎
What Do I Enjoy The Most?
If you thoroughly read the article, you probably got an idea about my personality, work experience, and things I like, but to be more specific, and since I get this question quite often, here are 5 things I enjoy most at my work:
- Teamwork and "owning" your work 💙
- Remote work ~ Flexible schedule 👩💻
- Opportunities to grow 💼
- Unlimited days off 🏖
- Culture and vibes 🙌
The longer version
As I've quoted Steve Jobs above "Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people", and that's why I love working in a team, but at the same time I enjoy owing my work and be responsible for the things I proposed and build (either successful or not).
Remote work and flexible schedule is a deal-breaker for me. A lot of people started working remotely during COVID-19 (including myself), but I always wanted to work from home (hello introvert friend). Over the last couple of years, I've also been traveling a lot, and I couldn't have done that if my company didn't have a remote work policy and a flexible schedule. I also know a lot of companies claiming they have a flexible schedule, but if you dig a bit more you'll notice they mean "but we want you to work in a European time zone or USA time zone" or "yes, we have remote work, but your team is coming to the office 3times/week so....". No, that's not the case with Hashnode... You can literally work from wherever you want at whatever time you work.
The team is spread from South Korea to the USA!
Opportunities to grow: I found this one extremely important. When you start at a job you may not think about that, you're very excited, and you want to do good work, but as time passes work will start feeling less challenging, which may lead to losing excitement about it. I think that we should always stay "hungry" to learn something new, do some awesome stuff and that's my mentality with community management at Hashnode too! I've been working for 1 year, and I feel I've grown a lot, my responsibilities and tasks have changed and increased.
I don't take many days off, I guess I take the standard ones, but it's nice knowing you can take more! 😊
Hashnode's culture goes like this:
Everyone is a CEO!
We don't want to manage people. Everyone manages themselves and acts as a CEO of the function or position they hold.
Wouldn't you want to work in a company like that?!
Thank You 🙏
Many thanks also go to the community! Without you people, we wouldn't be here!
If you still have questions about community management feel free to comment below and I'll do my best to answer them.
👋 Hello, I'm Eleftheria, Community Manager at Hashnode, developer, public speaker, and chocolate lover.
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