From developer to brand: How personal branding can skyrocket your career


Developer Advocate





In the past, software developers did not prioritize employability or personal branding due to lower demand and less competition in the job market. Traditional hiring practices focused mainly on technical skills, and there was less emphasis on overall professional image or online presence.

However, in today’s tech-driven world with increased demand for software developers, employability and personal branding have become crucial. Professionals in this field must differentiate themselves to secure attractive positions by developing their personal brand and showcasing their overall professional image, online presence, and effective communication skills. Evolving hiring practices now consider these factors alongside technical skills, making it essential for software developers to actively work on building their personal brand to thrive in today’s competitive job market.

What is Employability?

The first formal definition of employability I read was by Dacre, Pool & Sewell in a 2007 article called “The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability“.

They said “Employability is having a set of skills, knowledge, understanding, and personal attributes that make a person more likely to choose and secure occupations in which they can be satisfied and successful.

If you ask me, employability means having certain qualities that make you more likely to find a job you like and do well in. These things include:

  • skills, which are things you are good at
  • knowledge, which is what you know about different topics
  • understanding, which means you understand how things work
  • personal attributes, which are qualities or characteristics that make you a good worker

So, in simple terms, if you have these things, it will be easier for you to find a job that brings you joy and success. I might be going out on a limb here, but employability is like a measure of how probable it is for someone to obtain and maintain a desired position.

But hold on! If there’s a measurement, you might be wondering if I have a formula or equation to figure it out, right? After all, we engineers love putting numbers on everything 🤓

Indeed, we have a -sort of- formula for it.

Employability formula

Employability = What you have + How you sell it + How you develop it + Your circumstances

To understand this concept, let’s break it down and explain the four concepts:

  1. What you have: This refers to the knowledge, skills, qualifications, and experience that an individual possesses. It includes both technical/job-specific abilities and transferable skills that can be applied across various roles or industries.
  2. How you sell it: Selling refers to how effectively an individual communicates and presents their skills and qualifications to potential employers. This includes creating a compelling resume, cover letter, and online profile, as well as demonstrating good interview skills and networking abilities.
  3. How you develop it: Employability is not a static concept but rather something that needs continuous development. This component emphasizes the importance of ongoing learning, professional development, and staying updated with industry trends. It also involves seeking feedback, improving weaknesses, and acquiring new skills to remain competitive in the job market.
  4. Your circumstances: This component acknowledges that external factors can influence employability. Factors such as economic conditions, geographic location, personal circumstances (e.g., family responsibilities), or discrimination can impact an individual’s ability to secure employment opportunities.

To summarize, this formula suggests that employability is not solely dependent on what an individual possesses in terms of skills and qualifications but also on how they market themselves, continuously improve their abilities, and navigate their unique circumstances.

How I can improve my employability

As we were saying, we are engineers and try to put a number to everything… so if we analyze the above “formula” as a mathematical expression, to improve the result of the sum, you need to increase some/all of the components.

So let me explain how to enhance the first and last component, and we’ll use the idea of Personal Brand to improve the other two components, which I’ll talk about later in the article.

To improve the “What you have” component of employability, individuals can focus on acquiring new skills and qualifications relevant to their desired field. This can be done through formal education, such as obtaining a degree or certification, or through self-learning and online courses. Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships, volunteering, or freelance work can enhance one’s skill set and make them more attractive to employers. Continuous learning and staying updated with industry trends are also crucial in improving the “What you have” aspect of employability.

What about the Circumstances? While some external factors influencing employability may be beyond an individual’s control, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate their impact. Exploring job opportunities in different geographic locations or industries with higher demand can increase chances of securing employment. Building a strong support network of peers and mentors who can provide guidance and assistance during job searches is also beneficial. Additionally, staying adaptable and open to new opportunities can help navigate challenging circumstances and increase employability.

Let’s talk about Personal Brand

Although personal branding is a much broader topic than what I’ll be discussing in this article (I’ll write in depth about it soon), this concept easily helps improve how to sell and develop my employability.

First thing first: What the heck is “Personal Brand”? I’ll explain it in layman’s terms! 😀

I could quote a definition of which reads “A personal brand is a widely-recognized and largely-uniform perception or impression of an individual based on their experience, expertise, competencies, actions and/or achievements within a community, industry, or the marketplace at large”, but I won’t do it… Oops, I just did…, Sorry!

Let me then express it this way: “Personal Brand is the public perception of an individual… or how people see you from the outside”. Better, right?

Do you now see the relationship with the “What you have” and “How to develop” components of the Employability formula?

Boosting Personal Brand to improve your Employability

This is a list of tips you can use to define/improve your personal brand and, as a result, enhance your employability:

  1. psst! Google yourself!
    Checking your online presence is crucial in today’s digital age. Potential employers often search for candidates online to gather more information about them. By Googling yourself, you can see what information is readily available and ensure that it aligns with the professional image you want to portray. It allows you to address any negative or irrelevant content that may be hindering your personal brand.
  2. Decide how you want to be perceived.
    Defining how you want to be perceived is essential in shaping your personal brand. Consider the qualities, skills, and values that make you unique and valuable in the job market. This will guide your actions and communications, helping you align them with your desired image. It will also help you differentiate yourself from others and stand out among competitors.
  3. Create a personal website with your name and standardize usernames
    Creating a simple website with your name as the domain can be an effective way to showcase your personal brand. It will provide a centralized platform where potential employers can find more information about you, such as your resume, portfolio, and accomplishments. Also, if you use a consistent username across all social networks and platforms, it will be easier for people to find and recognize you online.
  4. Update your LinkedIn profile
    LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professionals seeking employment opportunities. Make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate, and free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Provide a comprehensive overview of your experience, skills, and achievements. Having a complete LinkedIn profile without any gaps increases your credibility and shows potential employers that you are detail-oriented.
  5. Will you provide value as a creator, curator, or connector?
    Determine whether you will provide value to your industry as a creator (producing original content), curator (sharing valuable resources), or connector (facilitating connections between individuals). Each role has its benefits, so choose one that aligns with your strengths and interests while fulfilling the needs of your target audience or industry.
  6. Add value.
    Every interaction on social media contributes to shaping your personal brand. Whether it’s a tweet, status update, or photo shared on various platforms, ensure that it adds value and reflects positively on who you are professionally. Consistently delivering insightful, helpful, or thought-provoking content will enhance your reputation and attract attention from potential employers.
  7. Choose a single channel to stand out.
    While it’s tempting to be present on multiple social media channels, it’s more effective to choose one platform where you stand out and focus your efforts there. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform relevant to your industry or interests, investing time and energy in mastering one channel will allow you to build a solid presence and better engage with your target audience.
  8. Learn how to write impactful content.
    Writing impactful content is a valuable skill that can significantly enhance your personal brand. Learn how to craft compelling messages that resonate with your audience and clearly communicate your expertise or unique perspective. This includes developing concise yet engaging headlines, using persuasive language, and ensuring that your content is well-structured and error-free.
  9. Be consistent and regular in your efforts.
    Consistency is key in building a strong personal brand. Regularly sharing content, engaging with others in a meaningful way, and maintaining an active online presence demonstrates dedication and professionalism. By consistently delivering value through your actions and communications, you establish yourself as a reliable and insightful source of expertise in your field.
  10. Engage in communities.
    Engaging in communities relevant to your industry or interests can expand your network and increase visibility within your target audience. Participate in discussions, share valuable insights or resources, and connect with like-minded individuals. Actively contributing to communities not only helps you build relationships but also positions you as an engaged professional who is passionate about their field.

Final thoughts

As Shama Hyder once said,” The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf”. The next step is to start shaping and improving it so the final product conveys exactly what we want, which helps me to improve my employability.

In conclusion, while employability and personal brand may not have been significant factors in the past for software developers, the current tech-driven world demands a shift in mindset. With increased competition and reliance on technology, it is essential for developers to focus on enhancing their employability by acquiring relevant skills, improving their professional image, and staying adaptable to changing circumstances. Personal branding plays a crucial role in this process, allowing individuals to differentiate themselves, showcase their expertise, and attract potential employers. By taking proactive steps to improve their employability and cultivate a strong personal brand, software developers can position themselves for success in today’s competitive job market. So, let’s start taking control of our personal brand and shaping our employability for a brighter future!

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