Where do you go for resources you trust?

Intuit® developers, how often do you check out Reddit for developer resources? If it’s a daily habit, you’re not alone. As of Jan. 2020, Reddit reports it has more than 52 million daily active users, over 100,000 communities, and upwards of 50 billion monthly views.

We’re not surprised at these numbers. Our most recent Twitter poll asked Intuit developers where they go for trustworthy resources, and a whopping 48.7% of the 3,732 respondents voted for Reddit. The other three options didn’t fare so well, with social networking groups garnering 19.6% of the vote, GitHub scraping by with 16.8%, and Stack Overflow bringing up the rear with 14.9%.

Plenty of developer resources in the sea

Though the last three options weren’t crazy popular, we’d like to point out that they are all related to social networking and offer developers plenty of benefits. Here’s a brief overview of why all four options can be your go-to and reliable place for developer resources.

It’s only fair that we start with the resource with the highest score.

1.     Reddit

Reddit was founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian in 2005. The site allows millions of people to post, comment, and vote on countless and diverse topics. In fact, there are “micro-communities” within Reddit called “subreddits” that are based on specific topics, such as different programming languages and frameworks, and they have their own rules for etiquette.

For developers, it’s a forum that allows easy and fast access to your fellow developers and their knowledge. You can ask questions and receive a myriad of responses, some helpful and some not so helpful. That’s why members can vote content on the site (images, text, videos, or links) up or down, which then moves the content up or down in the rankings.

Developers can also answer questions and make comments on questions by other people. It’s a community that offers constantly updated information by those with similar interests and expertise, but they are generally anonymous.

As Ph.D. researcher Tim Squirrell wrote in 2018, “If Facebook is people you know sharing things you don’t care about, Reddit is things you care about shared by people you don’t know.”

It appears, based on the poll responses, that Intuit developers appreciate that they are able to get answers to their development questions, answer other people’s questions, and fulfill the need to discuss a topic they care about in a stress-free environment.

2.     Social networking groups

Like Reddit, which is technically a social media platform, other social networking groups offer developers a place to meet new people, find support, and learn more about programming from those in the know.

One example is Twitter. Just as we do with our polls, developers are able to start discussions that allow for a variety of opinions and views to be shared in a public arena, and for connections to be made between those who would otherwise never meet. Influencers in the industry are also using Twitter to keep their followers updated on trends, as well as to provide additional insights and nuggets of knowledge.

3.     GitHub

Why did GitHub, “the largest and most advanced development platform in the world,” come in third place? Could be for any number of reasons, but Intuit publishes a lot of great content on the open-source platform, including Intuit main, Intuit Developer, and Open Source presentation. We think 65+ million developers and 3+ million organizations can’t be too wrong about building, shipping, and maintaining their software on GitHub. As a shared, public repository, it’s the perfect place to “discover and expose code.”

The collaboration, inspiration, and support from other experts within the GitHub community doesn’t hurt either. G2 reviewer Chandler A, a Full Stack engineer, writes, “I love GitHub because you’re easily able to collaborate with your team by assigning ticketing, seeing what needs to be worked on, who’s working on the feature as well as forking over your projects to work on updates separate from the whole repository.”

He also writes that GitHub has nothing to dislike. “Over the years it has become a very stable platform for programmers and developers to keep their projects on.”

4.     Stack Overflow

Last, but not least, we have Stack Overflow, a public platform founded in 2008 that “serves 100 million people every month.” Other Stack Overflow statistics include:

  • 21+ million questions asked to-date.
  • 13.6 seconds is the average time between new questions.
  • 50.6+ billion is the amount of times a developer got help.
  • 10,000+ customer companies for all products.

It’s a question-and-answer site where developers can come to learn and share knowledge. They differentiate themselves from other similar sites by explaining that they’ve made this a place to get answers, not chat. Though Stack Overflow allows voting on answers (the good answers get voted up) like Reddit, they are the only one that has the person who asked the question “accept” the answer that worked best for them.

The specific questions that can be asked revolve around specific programming problems, software algorithms, coding techniques, and software development tools, while discouraging opinion-based and discussion-generating questions. In addition, questions are tagged (up to five tags) with their subject areas. Users can earn a reputation score based on their questions/answers/edits, which then unlocks privileges and provides access to special moderation tools.

Finally, you can improve posts by editing or commenting in a friendly and helpful fashion and badges, such as Student, Editor, and Good Answer, are also awarded for participation.

Ultimately, Stack Overflow is a place where developers can ask questions and other developers can answer. It can be a solid resource for any developer that’s ever been stuck on a project—and that’s most of us.

The developer community is the best developer resource

“Knowledge is power” according to statesman and philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626).  He’s right, and it’s up to us to seek out and find it. However, it’s also up to us to make sure that our developer resources are reliable.

Whether you turn to Reddit, GitHub, Stack Overflow, or other social networking groups, there is one thing you can count on: the developer community is a repository of amazing knowledge and tapping into it is to your benefit.