How I Support Tech Fellows by being a Community Manager
Last April, I started my new career as a community manager in one of the non-profit organizations in the US. What does it look like?
I realized I haven’t been active for a while in Medium. I have been dealing with many things, and I hadn’t any idea what to write until last week when I started to feel ‘empty.’ Why? Writing can refresh my mind, but the idea is not so easy to develop and turn into complete sentences.
Let’s start talking about the main topic instead of mumbling again with another reason why I wasn’t active lately :)
Why suddenly talk about the community manager role? What’s happening with this role? Short story, the co-founder of the tech community asked me to change my position from tech writer to community manager. Even though I doubted it the first time I heard about this role, I agreed to do it in the end.
Before showing you quick points about what I have learned during this journey and why this role exists, I will show you what the job requirements looks like.
The roles are to increase more engagements among tech students and team members. Especially during the Coding Camp that will be hosted on June 13, we need to get students to keep motivated throughout the 8-weeks of the camp. The roles are the combination of social media manager, events planner, and content creator.
I am sure you will ask, “why do we need this role?”
I try to give all of my potential skills to serve the students in our tech community. Sometimes students feel afraid to talk to new people in the big or small tech community. They think there is a gap, or maybe there is something that stops them from learning more about coding.
I felt this when I started my journey in STEM. With my background in math and a little bit of coding (sorry, I am a terrible programmer!), I felt intimidated seeing other fellows who started their coding or tech journey from a young age. With the role of community manager, I hope that students feel welcome and they can motivate others to do the same as well.
What do I learn so far?
I am still new in this role and still trying to get used to all of the tools that I need to work. However, I get many benefits from taking this role.
1) Strengthen my storytelling skills
Even though English is not my first language, I think it’s best to test my storytelling skill here. I keep exploring how other Discord community does with their channels. If there is something I need to pick up, I will apply it to the community. Sometimes I have a hard time paraphrasing some words or sentences. But I managed it with the help of Grammarly and the co-founder. :)
2) Change student’s mindset about coding
The learning style is not flexible in university, especially in the STEM field. I feel that there is no room for students to have fun. Instead, we are rushed to finish the assignments as soon as possible (sometimes the time frame is only three days). Imagine how stressful it is?
Although our community has a timeline for how long students should finish the coding task, we encourage students to understand the concept instead of getting it done immediately. We also provide support for students with the resources or instructions on how to finish it (not the answer, of course :)).
Also, having fun is important. Thus, I work with the co-founder to create a weekly competition that asks students to submit their favorite tech meme. They can even get swag if they get chosen as a winner. Additionally, our internal member creates a social networking event for the student to connect with other fellow members or sponsors.
3) Become more collaborative and communicative
I am bad at expressing or talking to other people. There are ideas in my head, but I can’t directly talk them out. This role pushes my boundaries to be able to present my ideas in front of internal members and give feedback to other team members. Collaboration and communication skills are critical in every role, especially this role.
4) Increase project management and marketing skill
Good project management skills are not optional, but it is a MUST. With the tight deadline and more expectations, I have to schedule everything timely and ensure that every team member supports the ideas that I create, including the social media post.
Broadcasting the announcement and reminder is a part of my role. I have to make sure that a week or few days before the events, I send the calendar invite to every team member involved in the live stream session. Additionally, students can also add the calendar invite to their personal calendar so they won’t miss our events.
Why do I also mention marketing skill here?
Marketing is to make sure that we get enough students to join our events and encourage students to join our Discord channel and engage in the conversation that I post. Engagement in the post or events itself is not an easy task. Sometimes, students get caught up with lots of activities during this summer time and ignore the Discord notification.
Additionally, some students take summer classes or vacation, deciding not to join the live stream. As a community manager, I have to make sure that they are excited to join the live stream because they can earn a purpose or benefit by joining the workshop.
5) Understand the students’ concerns or questions
The first time I tackled this role, I kept asking the internal members what if students asked specific questions. I didn’t know how to answer the students’ questions regarding the events.
Don’t be afraid to ask especially if that’s your first role.
Sometimes students keep asking the same question again and again. They ignore or don’t focus on the announcement on social media. I don’t take it as a big deal :) It is our challenge to make sure they know what our plans are.
6) Apply my previous skills
I used to work as a social media manager, tech/UX writer, and student ambassador. Although I have all of the necessary skills for this role, I still have to adjust the skills to the current situation. Things change. Moreover, if we work in the tech and social media field, the trend keeps changing every day.
When I worked as a social media manager in 2018, I didn’t use Discord to communicate with students. Discord is one of the famous networking servers among gamers, tech enthusiasts, and even gardeners. I have to use this new tool and customize it with some bot that can ease my workflow while working as a community manager.
6) Get appreciation :)
Being honored and appraisal is beyond my expectations. Judging from the job description, I thought this role was not taking too much of my time and was not complicated as other positions are.
It isn’t the case. I have to sacrifice most of my time with content research, figure out something fun to post on the Discord community, plan out the events few months or weeks before, etc. I am so happy when the team members or students appreciate how hard I have worked.
To summarize, the community is fantastic. Respect the team members of the community. They are working hard for you to ensure you get the best experience and maximum benefits by being a member.
To learn more, what our community does, please check out these links below:
That’s all my story. I can share more about this on my YouTube channel in the future. Feel free to visit and subscribe :). See you in the following article!