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Networking 101 For Coders

Whether you’re working for a large company, a freelancer, or running your own business, networking helps programmers and developers build and nurture professional relationships that help to bond the coding community. Networking with your peers is a huge contributor to your professional growth as you’re likely to be introduced to new job opportunities and apply yourself to source out information that will help you along your career path. 85% of Job positions are filled through networking and 95% of people agree that better business relationships are built through networking efforts, and if these statistics aren’t enough to make you take networking more seriously, then here’s one more, 93% of professionals across a variety of industries have agreed that professional networking will elevate your success and provide you with the tools to better understand your industry and your specific position.

Where Should You Be Networking?
Asking where specifically you should network is almost like asking who you should talk to at a party, each person (or networking platform in this case) offers a unique experience and area of expertise. Keeping the party theme in mind, when speaking to various people at this gathering, it makes sense that you would want to get involved in the conversation to build a foundation to this new relationship and not just listen with no real contribution. All this to say is that although finding the correct place to network is incredibly important, it renders useless if you are not prepared to put yourself out there and advocate for your work while making an effort to connect and get to know those in the community. As a programmer and developer, you can imagine there are a lot of networking events and platforms that take place online. Although you may not feel the immediate impact of meeting the attendees in person, there are endless benefits to online events such as how they are accessible at any time and the ability to connect and explore with ease. (Don't forget to sign up to different email newsletters to get tips and news for community networking opportunities.)

Since COVID-19, it’s difficult to imagine attending in-person networking events where there’s typically a whole lot of people and a whole lot of hand-shaking. But as the world begins to open up again, we can finally see glimpses of normalcy returning to both our personal and professional lives and it appears that it won’t be long before in-person networking events will be re-instated.

Here are a few places where you can find out about both in-person and online coding-based events that are happening all over the world:

Google Events:
Find out what type of events are happening in the industry by scrolling through google. Add in dates and keywords to match your specific search.

Dev.to:
The Dev community is a great place to network. They offer the ability to like, comment, share, and message. Get to know the contributors behind the content you love to consume! They will also advertise and inform you about global networking events that are happening.

Meetup.com:
Meetup is a service used to organize online groups that host in-person and virtual events for people with similar interests. Get notifications for when events are happening near you or within your online community.

Facebook groups:
There are a ton of really great groups that act as a resource for those in that field/area of interest. Think of these groups as a circle of friends who offer ideas, suggestions, pose questions and inform each other about industry news.

Eventbrite:
The service allows users to browse, create, and promote local events. The service charges a fee to event organizers in exchange for online ticketing services, unless the event is free.

Private Zoom Events:
You need to be invited to zoom events so you will likely already need to be a part of some type of community/event, but zoom offers great networking features.

Github: ‘GitHub, Inc. is a provider of Internet hosting for software development and version control using Git. It offers the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git, plus its own features’. Check out this platform for all the ways you can network.
And of course, directly reaching out and starting conversations with people in the space!

These are only just a few of the many places and communities you can get involved in and as you learn more about these platforms, you'll realize that the more material you create and the more content you engage with from others, the more traction your content will gain.

A Few Tips
If you enjoyed something another programmer or developer has contributed on a networking site, industry platform, or even a blog you follow, comment or email this person expressing your appreciation for their shared knowledge. Supporting others by showing a genuine interest in their work or efforts goes a long way.

Ask yourself ‘Why do I want to network?’ This is important because without knowing why you’re interested in meeting or collaborating with peers of influencers in the space, you won’t be very good at attracting conversations, meetings, or connections. Know why you want to be a part of these communities and involve yourself in the events that are taking place because more often than not the people who attend these events without having a bigger mission or vision tend not to have anything to offer or contribute.

Have an elevator pitch! This does mean have a rehearsed 10-minute long introduction that’s completely robotic, but it does mean you should be able to introduce yourself, give a little bit about who you are, what you do, and why you’re at (fill in event), while not boring or overwhelming the person you’re introducing yourself to. If you’ve ever tried this, news flash, it’s not easy. Trying to summarize your top skills and qualifications into a few sentences can be tricky, but it becomes easier the more frequently you attend and involve yourself in networking events.

Put in the work! If you’re looking for a new job or want to expand your network, remember, nothing happens overnight. A lot of experienced people in their field will tell you that it took them a long time before they found the right platform to distribute their content or an interesting opportunity that enhanced their career or met people who helped them improve their skills. Working towards your goals and strengthening your abilities while making an effort to be present in an assortment of communities is a lot of work, but it positively influences your professional reputation as an experienced professional over time.

Give back! Give back efforts are incredibly important for all types of networking purposes. When seasoned experts attend networking events with the sole purpose of answering questions and providing insight, they are assisting and mentoring those new to the industry in order to help them succeed without focusing on any personal gain.

Help others whenever you can. Unfortunately, networking has been given a bad name over the years as there is the tendency for some people to be solely focused on creating opportunities for themselves when in reality networking is about cultivating professional communities where everyone can learn, grow and help each other move forward in their career or passion in a mutually beneficial way. If you see a job posting that someone you know might be a perfect fit, send that posting to them. If you have attended an event you think someone you know might enjoy, let them know about it! If you’re part of a community that distributes great content that you think others could benefit from, invite them to join the group!

Stay tuned for more of our blogs on networking tactics within the coding industry!

Originally published at codecast.io by Elsa Krangle

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