How do you get experience being a good teammate if you don't work in a team?

A few people have asked me about how to get experience as a teammate if you don’t work as a team. I’d like to share my thoughts with you…

First off, are you absolutely sure you don’t work as part of a team? Perhaps you’re the only programmer and you work exclusively with designers and marketers - if so, you’re still part of a team! You can follow all the advice I gave in the ebook, and you will learn a lot in the process.

If you don’t currently work as a programmer though, or you want to look for new opportunities, then I have a few ideas for you…

Join or start a meetup

Meetups are great ways to meet other people and work together. You can do a study group, or organize hack nights. I know of a couple people who started or took over meetups, and they quickly have become a few of the “go-to” people in their area.

If you can find a meetup in your area, check it out! If not, consider starting one. You don’t need to be an expert to start a meetup - you simply need the drive to get people together.

Find your local co-working space

Many co-working spaces offer special events, and one of them might be focused on coding. If not, you can always propose an event. At a co-working space, you’re surrounded by people who like to work collaboratively… make use of it! Sign up for the co-working weekly newsletter and I’m sure Alex will have lots of connections for you.

Join an online study group

CodeNewbie has daily programming events where you can work as part of a team - it’s a lot of fun!

CodeBuddies is an online organization that sets up free study groups for many common online learning resources. They organize Google Hangout sessions so you can study and pair program with people all around the world.

Pair with an expert

I know of two services, AirPair and HackHacks, which set you up with experts whenever you need them. I personally haven’t used either of them, but a few of my friends have and they say it’s great!

The RubySteps method

At RubySteps, we participate in collaborative programming using a style that we call Mob Programming. We log in to a shared SSH server and have a mirrored setup, so everybody sees the same thing. Google Hangout provides video and voice. I won’t go into detail about mob programming here, but you can check out these videos of us in action if you’re interested.

Improving your skills as a team member requires time and effort, but it is time and effort well spent! You have many options when it comes to practicing as a team, whether online or in real life. You just have to track down the opportunities… or create them yourself!

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