Networking is really important nowadays independent from that what you are professionaly doing. Networking means to know the right people, who can support you in case of need (and of course who can be supported by yourself). To have a good network as a software developer means that if you would like to change job you are not applying blindly for jobs, but you are asking your network for opportunies. Or if you need new colleagues you are also just asking your network for recommendations. A good network means to get better opportunities faster.
That’s really nice, but how to extend your network? First of all normally you are having a network from your workplace: colleagues, customers. Keep connection with them. But usually they are not changing frequently, so it is good to find other ways to extend your network. I collected some ideas.
First of all you need to be registered to LinkedIn. This is a professional social network, where similar to Facebook you can manage your friends. Your profile is like a CV. LinkedIn is the best place to find new job opportunities and to extend your network with the right people. Really often the job opportunities find you, unless you did anything. At the beginning set up a strong profile, connect your current network (colleagues, customers, ex-colleagues, friends from university etc.) and wait until others (mostly recruiters) find you.
There are several developer communities on the web. I found Dev.to as the best one. Other are sharing their experience in their posts. You can comments and also write posts. There’s also opportunity to ask questions from the community. It is one of the best ways to get in touch with developers from all around the world.
There is a good chance to support less experienced programmers by reviewing their code and give them feedback on exercism. You need to register yourself and apply to be a mentor for a specific programming language. Later on you can review the solution of others. The mentors also have a slack channel where you can set up new connections with other mentors.
The most classical way of self-marketing as software developer is to contribute open-source projects. There are several interesting open source projects up to your interest. New volunteers are always welcomed to implements new features. Your code will be reviewed and you can get part of the developer community there. It is also a good reference if your are applying for a new job.
There are several developer conferences all around the world in different topics. They usually takes 1-3 days long and all the biggest companies are there who are working in the area. There are usually nice presentations and also space for open discussions where you can get new high-value connections. One disadvantage of such conferences is that they are usually a bit expensive.
Similar to conferences you can just join meetups. These are professional events where you can meet with the local developer community. It is also a good opportunity to get familiar with the local developers companies, since most of such meetups takes place at local companies. Meetups are usually after the office hours. The usual program goes about presentations and open discussions. The big advantage is that they are free. So just go to meetup.com, search for relevant groups at your place and join their events.
Last but not least you can write your own blog. It is also making some chance to extend your professional network.