While IRC seems like a somewhat dated form of communication, it is still prevalent in software development communities. There are active IRC channels for:
The communities that form in IRC channels are often quite helpful, and are generally interested in discussing a project you might be working on, or a bug you are stuck on.
Part of IRC’s appeal is the fact that it’s an open protocol. This means companies or individuals can write bots to perform non-trivial tasks, and interact with these bots via IRC, where the rest of their team can be aware of what is going on.
To this end, I have been working on an IRC Bot template called BotPlate. BotPlate contains a core class to handle IRC connection and communication, and is easily extensible to add any new functionality.