Fueled by the passion of growing, learning, and sharing with the developers’ community, Dhanish Gajjar, a freelance web developer based in Portugal, and Brian Clark, a developer advocate based in the USA, were already using their personal social media platforms to amplify the good and call out the ugly that permeated the industry before #BuildUpDevs was born.
In particular, Instagram seemed to be filling up quickly with bot-run accounts, cute filters, and inspirational captions that had little to do with coding. Was being a coder just the new fad that looked cool on your social media bio? Clark and Gajjar didn’t think so.
But how did these two developers who lived in different countries joined forces to build a community for like-minded professionals? Well, like most relationships these days, they stumbled upon each other on social media.
Dhanish was building little projects as he learned to code, sharing them on Instagram, and one of them went unexpectedly viral: customizing the Visual Studio Code Icon. Eventually, that caught the attention of Brian, who, coincidently, worked at Microsoft.
They quickly realized they shared the same concerns about the industry. They both saw the need to build a strong, supportive, and authentic community where other developers could share their work, learn, grow, and air out their grievances in a respectful and uplifting manner. People seemed to be more focused on tearing each other down. The name BuildUpDevs was counter to that and embodied their philosophy of building up developers.
But where do all developers hang out these days, and how do you get to them?
Not all is (that) bad about Instagram, so Gajjar and Clark decided on doing a live on the social media platform, without a set agenda or topic, in November 2017. People not only tuned in and engaged, but brought up the issues they’d like to see discussed in future online hangouts. Instagram Lives became a regular event from 2018 to 2019, talking about topics that had meaning to the community, from mental health to company culture.
Despite community engagement, waters were still murky in the land of Instagram — stealing other users’ content and becoming social media stars seemed to be more important than coding. Their signature hashtag, #BuildUpDevs, was being not only used by the community who shared Clark’s and Gajjar’s vision and values, but by accounts whose sole focus was to caption posts with as many trending hashtags as possible.
It was clear that BuilUpDevs was broader than Instagram and needed a new home.
In 2020, their live events switched platforms, from Instagram to Twitch, and became regular weekly events. Every Thursday, Brian Clark and Dhanish Gajjar get together, from their home offices to yours.
That same year, they developed a website for the community and started a Discord where members join after accepting the BuildUpDevs code of conduct. Here, developers must leave self-promotion and ego at the door.