Launched in 2013, Slack didn’t take long to grow into what it is today: a collaboration hub with 10 million daily users sending a whopping one billion messages weekly. Slack is one of the most popular global solutions for team communication, but beyond messaging your coworkers about work (or what’s for lunch), the platform allows you to connect with like-minded tech professionals outside of your company circle through Slack communities.
Hundreds of Slack communities are bringing people get together on the topics that interest them most—and this number only continues to climb. That means plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with others on just about anything tech related, from software development to UX to data science.
If you’re hungry to grow your tech career, you can’t go wrong with Slack communities, which is why we’re covering the most important info you need to get started, plus 22 of the best Slack communities to join for networking, talking code, finding solutions and maybe even landing your next job.
What is Slack?
Slack “brings the right people, information and tools together to get work done” for companies of all industries and sizes. It replaces roadblocks that commonly slow organizational success with solutions like real-time messages, integrated file sharing (e.g., PDFs, images, videos) and voice or video calls.
If you haven’t used Slack before (or need a refresher), read over the following information on basic functions and features to get the most out of your experience off the bat.
A workspace is a company’s shared hub for team communication. If using Slack for work, your employer will send you an email invitation to become part of its workspace.
Channels are where members communicate in a workspace. Much like online chat rooms, channels are where team collaboration happens. They can be organized by team, project or topic so that users are only involved in the conversations relevant to them. Users can join and leave channels as needed. But while you can join any public channel, you’ll need an invite to join a private channel.
Communities are like workspaces, except instead of connecting team members at a company, they bring together like-minded professionals from across the globe to talk about a certain topic. (And just like workspaces, Slack communities have channels for more targeted conversations.) Many communities are free to join, but some require a monthly, yearly or one-time fee.
Direct messages are private messages for one-on-one conversations. You can DM one person and up to as many people as needed. Unlike channels, these conversations are only searchable by you and other people included in the message.
Benefits of Slack communities
Joining a Slack community puts you in direct contact with other techies that have similar backgrounds, interests, roles, skills and goals. It’s a chance to expand your networking circle from the comfort of your home, favorite coffee shop or wherever (which can also be useful if you tend to avoid in-person networking events).
And because the tech industry requires you to embrace continual learning as languages, technologies and trends are always changing, Slack is a way to learn from others, find and offer solutions to unanswered questions, and build professional relationships and mentorships that can last for years to come.
What makes it different than other social or professional networking sites? For one, there’s far less distraction, which allows for more focused communication—zero ads or news articles filling your feed and competing for your attention.
You also have easy access to every message sent within channels or direct messages—it’s all indexed and searchable. No more scrolling through countless messages to find that one tidbit of information you need, just search by keyword. Another perk? Slack bookmarks any message you want. All you have to do is “star” it.
And if you’re looking for a new job, you may just find one in a Slack community. Because it’s a tech candidate’s market, tech sourcers and recruiters are finding new ways to reach tech talent. This means less time spent on traditional job boards and search engines, more time on platforms like Slack.
Slack communities to join for tech professionals
We’ve rounded up some of the best Slack communities for tech pros where you can engage in ongoing discussions, get responses in real-time (vs. watching and waiting in a forum) and meet other people passionate about tech.
A global community for developers where you can talk about specific languages (e.g., Ruby, Python, Node.js) and topics like testing, debugging, meetups and jobs.
Intended for programmers of all experience levels, this community is all about helping each other and sharing knowledge with opportunities for screen sharing or voice hangouts to co-work on projects and pair program.
What started out as a Twitter chat is now a supportive community that helps beginner programmers learn to code.
A community with 25,000+ members that prides itself on being helpful, friendly and patient, this is where iOS and Mac developers meet to grow their skills and careers in tech.
Where more than 3,000 members share experiences, knowledge and news about all things Android and mobile.
Chat with other Ionic developers, get feedback on apps and test new features.
Over 10,000 users join here to connect and collaborate about Kaggle, a platform that unites data scientists and machine learners to solve problems and compete in challenges.
9. Data Quest
One of the largest Slack communities to chat about data science and machine learning in channels covering Python, data science books, jobs, Kaggle and more.
10. Designer Hangout
A network of 18,000+ UX professionals, discover the latest trends, get live feedback and build a network to progress your career. As an invite-only Slack community, you’ll need to submit a request to join. All requests are manually vetted, so the wait time to be approved could be up to 12 weeks.
Source: Designer Hangout
This community is open to anyone interested in user experience, product design and “the general art and science of improving the human condition through making things of value.”
Over 6,300 creatives with a passion for design come here to share, discuss and learn. Joining this community also gives you the chance to participate in competitions to win prizes like swag and software.
Join to connect with web animation and UI animation professionals. If you want the latest news and tutorials sent straight to your inbox, sign up for its Web Animation Weekly newsletter.
14. IT Crowd
A global community of IT pros join forces on Slack to solve real-world problems and share technologies and insight.
Where you can join others interested in software quality to learn about all things testing. A few of its popular channels include automation, CI and API testing.
Featured on Forbes and HuffPost, this is where 7,000+ members connect in over 40 channels. Chat with tech pros from some of the most well-known companies (Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, etc.), practice PM case interviews over video chat and join AMA discussions with prominent product leaders.
Cost: $25 for lifetime access
Source: Product Manager HQ
18. Product School
Network with over 40,000 product managers, participate in weekly AMAs and connect with PMs from your city in local channels. With additional resources like videos, guides and podcasts at your disposal, it’s easy to stay in the loop of the latest product trends.
19. Mind the Product
Join 20,000+ actively engaged product people to ask questions, find solutions and get second opinions on whatever they’re building. Find your next big opportunity in its jobs channel and join the mailing list to stay current on all things PM.
A dedicated space for women in all tech professions: customer support, technical writing, graphic design, project management, QA and beyond.
Where Latinx tech professionals go for resources and support to thrive in their careers. Join for career advice, tech talks, mentorship, jobs and more.
Focused on increasing diversity in technology, this community provides resources and guidance to help its members succeed in their tech careers.
Get started on Slack to propel your tech career
Growing your tech career is a must no matter where you are in your journey, and using Slack to take your career further is a smart move. You’ll be just a few clicks away from starting up a conversation with tech pros like yourself—with no shortage of custom emojis.
If you’re looking for other Slack communities to join, run a quick Google search (e.g., “Slack communities for software developers”) or find them on Slofile, a public Slack community database that’ll also include details like member count and channel topics. Find what you’re looking for? Join the conversation.