The Community Club

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Kirsti Buick for The Community Club

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Creator Guild Spotlight: Nityesh Agarwal

Nityesh, Community Manager at Dataquest, unpacks his love for the programming community, why he believes writing skills are a must-have for CM, and how a cold email helped launch his career.

Tell us about your journey to community as a career. Where did you start out?

Nityesh: "I started my career last year in January by joining Dataquest as their Community Manager.

This is a good time to admit that I had no intention of becoming a Community Manager. Hell, I didn’t even know that such a job existed. I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in programming at the time.

I was drawn into the community industry only in the last 6 months when I discovered other community professionals on Twitter and participated in a community-building fellowship.

I got my start in community after reaching out to the founder and CEO of Dataquest on a whim — but more on that later."

What's your community superpower?

N: "Not trying to toot my own horn, but I’m proud of my writing skills.

I started writing back when I was learning programming. I would do a challenging side-project to learn something new and write an article about it so that other people would have an easier time learning it. I wrote ~13 such articles and they have reached 500k+ people.

I now believe that being a good writer is that one extra skill that can double your odds of success as a community professional. Writing is such a large part of the job. I’m always writing either an internal documentation or an external post for the community.

I even created an email course to teach people everything I’ve learnt about writing online.

What's the best career mistake you've ever made? Or what mistake taught you the most valuable lesson?

N: "I got my first job by sending out a cold email to the founder and CEO of Dataquest. While I don’t think it was a mistake, it was the one of the best things that I did for my career.

I sent him the email when I discovered Dataquest ~2 years ago. I loved his philosophy behind starting it and I wanted to pick his brain. One thing led to another and we jumped on a call where he offered me the job as the Community Manager at Dataquest.

I have learnt so much from working at this role, especially because I’m the first and the only community professional at this early-stage startup. I love the autonomy and purpose that comes with being the person responsible for making the community a competitive advantage of the business."

What's the one thing you wish you'd known when you were first starting out in community?

N: "I wish I had known that there’s a community of passionate community professionals out on the Internet who are such strong believers in the future of this profession.

I spent the first year of my career trying to become a Marketing or Product Manager because I thought that was the best way to grow my career. I didn’t think that community management was the right profession for an ambitious person.

But now, I’m bullish about it. I feel like I’m working on the edge of tomorrow and I wouldn’t trade it for anything."

What's your hope for the future of community?

N: "I hope that it becomes like the programming community on the internet.

In my experience, programmers have created a surprisingly generous and welcoming community on the internet. Many of the best programmers freely share their knowledge, opportunities, struggles, questions and answers for everyone on the Internet. They have made programming accessible to everyone on the internet irrespective of their background, degrees or financial status.

I started writing because I wanted to give back to this community. I credit everything I’ve learnt about programming to this online community."

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