Stepping outside of the company bubble

tagged with Community Contribution Developer

Exploring how the Umbraco community enhances personal and professional growth in the tech industry. It contrasts the limitations of solely working within a company environment with the expansive benefits of engaging in dynamic, broader communities. Highlighting the value of community involvement, from fostering innovation and skill development to enriching social and professional networks.


In the tech industry, professionals often find themselves cocooned within their company's confines, a phenomenon I like to call the 'company bubble'. While it offers a sense of security and familiarity, this bubble can be a barrier to personal and professional growth. As a member of the vibrant Umbraco community, I've experienced first-hand the benefits of venturing outside this bubble, and it's an experience I'm keen to share.

The company bubble is a state of comfortable isolation where interactions are largely limited to the same set of colleagues, ideas and processes, day in and day out. This environment is characterized by hierarchical decision-making, focusing on internal goals, customer needs, and profit margins. Companies often operate within a niche, adhering to established processes and methods, which, while efficient, can stifle innovation and creativity.

The Downside of the Bubble

In such a structure, the pursuit of new knowledge and ideas is typically confined to internal research and development. This approach, however, is often hampered by the limited time and resources allocated to such endeavours. The introduction of new ideas is understandably approached with caution, as there's an inherent risk in deviating from proven methods. This risk aversion is further compounded by the company's natural inclination to protect its commercial advantages, leading to a general wariness of external interactions.

This insular approach can cause some companies to lag behind new technologies, industry trends and best practices. When confronting new challenges or venturing into uncharted territories, the absence of external ideas and support can render innovation not only challenging and time-consuming but also a risky pursuit.

This bubble can lead to a sense of isolation on a personal level. The professional network remains confined to immediate colleagues, and opportunities for social interaction and expansion are limited. This not only affects the social lives but also restricts professional development, by missing out on diverse viewpoints and experiences.

It can be daunting, to break out of this bubble, but the benefits of doing so are life changing.

Benefits of Stepping Outside the Company Bubble

Stepping outside the company bubble offers an immediate expansion of perspective. Venturing into a broader community like Umbraco's opens your eyes to a variety of working styles and strategies. While these may not all be directly applicable to the current organization, they provide invaluable insights and broaden the approach to problem-solving. This wider perspective is essential for staying adaptable and innovative in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

The community offers a treasure trove of resources, from free support to learning opportunities. Unlike the often closed-off environment of a company, communities like Umbraco thrive on the free exchange of knowledge and mutual support. Here, you can learn from others' experiences, including their mistakes, gaining insights that can prevent similar challenges in projects. You also stay abreast of the latest trends, from new plugins to emerging technologies, ensuring that skills and knowledge remain current. This constant flow of information and support is a significant advantage of breaking out of the company bubble.

The Unique Appeal of the Umbraco Community

Umbraco's community distinguishes itself through its grassroots-led, mature nature, a contrast to many tech communities shaped by corporate directives. Central to this community are local meetups, not just for sharing knowledge but also for fostering connections and belonging. These gatherings provide the perfect setting for members to step outside their company bubble.

In these meetups, professionals from various backgrounds come together, offering a break from the usual company silos. This environment is ripe for learning, sharing diverse perspectives, and embracing new ideas, enriching members’ professional lives. Beyond just professional networking, these meetups cultivate a sense of community and support, invaluable for those feeling constrained within their current professional roles. Here, collaboration and mutual growth thrive, making Umbraco's community a unique and beneficial space for personal and professional development.

These meetups foster a nurturing environment where inclusivity and respect are central, making them perfect for members of all skill levels and backgrounds. The adherence to a code of conduct ensures that everyone feels safe and valued, facilitating an open exchange of ideas and experiences.

The focus at these gatherings isn't solely on technical skills. They provide a platform for developing essential core skills, particularly public speaking. For many, these gatherings are the first step towards confidently presenting their ideas and sharing knowledge with peers. This aspect of the meetups is crucial, as it helps members evolve into well-rounded professionals, capable of effective communication and collaboration. Thus, Umbraco meetups are more than just technical forums; they are environments where holistic growth and skill development are actively encouraged.

Enhanced Social Circles Through Community Engagement

The importance of making friends and expanding social circles outside of work cannot be overstated, especially considering that humans are inherently social. This aspect of life can be particularly challenging for men, who often find their social networks diminishing post-university as life transitions like marriage, parenthood, and relocation take place. The tech industry, populated by many who lean towards introversion, amplifies this challenge. Developers, for instance, might find striking up conversations with strangers daunting, contributing to a sense of isolation or loneliness that is becoming increasingly recognized as a significant issue in modern society.

Participating in small, regular meetups, like those in the Umbraco community, offers a remedy to isolation. These gatherings, focused on shared interests in technology, lower the barriers to conversation, making it easier to connect with others. For those who find casual conversations challenging, tech-centred discussions provide common ground and conversation starters. Regularly attending these meetups not only improves social skills but also expands interaction and contact with like-minded individuals. This engagement leads to a sense of belonging and enriches social life and improves mental health.

Natural Progression to Collaboration and Enhanced Growth

For community members engaged in the Umbraco community, a natural progression is to collaborate on projects outside of their regular work environments. Such collaborations offer unique opportunities for personal growth. When you work with people from different backgrounds and organizations, you're exposed to a variety of new ideas and approaches. This not only broadens skill sets beyond what the current role might demand but also enhances adaptability and problem-solving capabilities.

This symbiotic relationship enhances technical knowledge and personal development. The insights and experiences gained from these collaborations can be applied back into the workplace, fostering innovation. Such engagement not only enriches personal growth but also contributes positively to the companies' professional environment.

Support at Events

When attending larger events or conferences the local community alleviates the isolation often felt. Networking becomes less daunting when local community members introduce new contacts, easing ways into broader professional circles. For those stepping into public speaking, the presence of familiar faces from the local community can significantly boost confidence, transforming a potentially nerve-wracking experience into an empowering one. This supportive environment is key to not just surviving but thriving in the wider Umbraco community.

A Gateway to the Wider Community

What truly sets Umbraco apart is the multitude of ways to contribute. Whether it's through participating or contributing in open-source projects, joining community teams, or striving to become an MVP, there are avenues for everyone to add value and grow within the ecosystem. This rich tapestry of involvement options makes Umbraco’s community a dynamic and engaging environment for tech professionals.

Empowering Growth:
The Ripple Effect of Umbraco Community Engagement on Success

In conclusion, the decision to step outside the company bubble is not merely a shift to professional networking; it is a step towards holistic growth. The experiences and lessons learned from communities like Umbraco’s are indispensable. They not only enrich careers but also contribute to a more fulfilling, well-rounded life. For any professional in the tech industry, breaking free from the company bubble is not just beneficial; it is essential for staying relevant, adaptive, and fulfilled in this ever-evolving sector.

For companies, the advantages of having employees actively involved in the Umbraco community are significant and multifaceted. These individuals tend to be happier and healthier, as their engagement in a supportive and dynamic community contributes to their overall well-being. This happiness and healthiness transcend into their professional lives, enhancing their productivity and job satisfaction.

Being part of such a community fosters better communication and collaboration skills. Regular interactions with a diverse group of professionals within the Umbraco community cultivate a strong sense of teamwork and empathy. Employees learn to navigate various perspectives and working styles, which they bring back to their workplace, enriching the work environment with improved collaborative dynamics.

Exposure to a wide range of approaches, tools, and technologies within the community encourages creative thinking and problem-solving. Employees who engage in these communities often return to their roles with fresh, innovative ideas that can keep their organizations ahead of the curve. They become conduits for the latest trends, techniques, and best practices, which can be invaluable for a company striving to stay relevant and competitive in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Lastly, the sense of belonging and achievement employees gain from being part of the Umbraco community enhances their professional identity and loyalty. This sense of fulfilment and pride often translates into a more dedicated and engaged workforce, benefiting the organization as a whole. In essence, by encouraging and supporting their employees' involvement in communities like Umbraco, companies are not just investing in individual growth but are also fostering a more vibrant, innovative, and cohesive workplace culture.