The React Developer Community Kenya - 6 Month Update

The lessons learnt from managing a developer community, 6 months in

The React Developer Community Kenya - 6 Month Update

During the events of 2020(The Pandemic), a brilliant idea crossed my mind. I was learning react hooks with all the fun and cool ways of using functional components at the time and I wanted to interact with other developers who were also using react in my country. I had seen the success of the many developer groups in Kenya and wanted to replicate this as well.

The first step was to look for any developer community available that was heavily biased towards react, since there were well performing developer groups on angular and vue. Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate working with angular or vue, I wanted to learn and share my acquired knowledge and skill in react to fellow developers that were also in their various learning paths related to react. It was great that internationally there was a vibrant community that revolved around the react library and with this, I saw a gap that needed to be filled in our local developer community.

After a lot of research and consultations, I decided to start the react developer community Kenya. It was not easy. First I was fairly new to the "leading a group" thing. I knew what I wanted in a developer community but I wasn't quite sure if what I had in mind would also be ideal for everybody else in the group. We are still in the early stages of growth and I am grateful that The tech community in the 254 embraced it.

The six months had a fair share of its ups and downs. Let me first start with the ups.

  1. We are currently at 50 group members on our Telegram channel(as at 10th March 2021), though not very active but this will change as the numbers continue to grow
  2. We currently have a GitHub organization, Twitter handle, YouTube channel which is part of the strategy to onboard new members into our yet to be vibrant community.

For some minor downs(lessons) that I know will be fixed as we progress:

  1. The telegram platform is filled with a lot of spam from so called "crypto investors" who are constantly raiding the channels to promote their platforms. This I have found out can be fixed by introducing moderation via the famous telegram bots. There is one that we are currently using and its premium features were quite good, unfortunately the trial period ended and we switched back to the free version. The subscription is not much so I'm sending this out to anyone reading this and is willing to help out with expanding the growth of the react community in Kenya
  2. We currently don't have a meetup page as a community. This is also due to financial constraints but as we progress I am sure there will be a solution for this, also sending this out if there is someone who is willing to help. Bootstrapping anything in the beginning with little to no financial input can be an uphill task. But I am certain there will be a way out.
  3. Bootstrapping anything in the beginning with little to no financial input can be an uphill task. But I am certain there will be a way out.

I am very optimistic about growing a community that competes with the global demand for frontend and fullstack developers. The react ecosystem is growing globally and I wouldn't want my country to be left out in terms of this valuable skill. Since it is an open community I want to be as clear and transparent as I possibly can so that anybody who also wants to start a developer community and sees an opportunity can go ahead and start one.

I know the beginnings are always the hardest but I also know that consistency compounds with time. I will be happy to review this article as we mark one year as a developer community. Kindly reach out if you want to join the community via our email address reactdevske{at}gmail{dot}com . (we are trying to minimize spam from email and telegram web scrapers).