I believe there is not alot of it is talked about in the developer community. As the general advice that I had seen so far. Has always been a focus on honing your technical skills, working on your blog, creating a side project and contributing to open source.
It is the same for some of my ex-colleagues, they do not even go to any meetups, events. Because they want their own downtime off from work. The problem with that, you might never know that you would somehow be tapping on them. To help you in your career or worst, when you are retrenched from due to economic crisis & global pandemic we are undergoing now.
I would not discourage you from doing it because everyone is entitled to do whatever they want with their free time. Here is the reason why you should do it is because of these two things.
The first is that having a professional network wins over technical brilliance. When you are searching for a job because you might have build up a reputation within your company for yourself. But everything is gone when you leave the company. Unless you have colleagues or superiors who are there to open the doors for you in your next opportunity. But I would not expect them to do it for you by leaving it as luck.
The second is that you build your own social skills in a safe environment. Where you can afford the luxury to stumble and learn through your own failure. This is sorely lacking among developers, especially if you plan to progress onwards becoming a leader. You command a higher salary through your focus on it to work with a team. Interacting with non-technical people and building rapport with them to get things done or land you the next job/business.
Well, there are multiple ways to build your professional network. I will be listing what I believe has been proven useful for me when I had started my career.
1) Saying "Hi" to Connectors - Connectors are people who are really good at making friends. They are usually deeply entrenched within the specific niche, industry or interest groups. That have some suave or relationships with a large pool of people who they can call upon. Knowing who are they and making an effort to help connectors can be useful in the long run.
2) Commenting on Technical Articles/Posts - This could help you build a connection with them. If you had done it enough by contributing your thoughts or just being sincere as a person. To ask them questions that they are willing to answer the article/post.
3) Be an Organiser or Co-organiser in a Developer Community - I could not doubt this approach besides the social impact of your local developer community. I had made many friends. Who I know I can call upon when I need help with something. There are even times I ask them to come on board to work with them in hackathons or the work I am doing as well.
4) Be Part of the Team to Organise a Technical Conference - It's quite a tough work. The benefits you get is that you get to build rapport and deepen your relationship with organiser/co-organisers. They might be able to open doors for you when you need it. Besides that, you get to contact companies and build relationships with the people in the company. Who will reject you as an individual?
5) Providing Referrals Between Your friends within Your Network - This is one of the best ways to add value to your existing network. Which you do it by linking with your friends who may require help in certain things or help.
6) Sharing Knowledge or Information with Specific Niche or Interest - If you encounter something relevant to your friends with a particular interest or niche they are. Share it to them to deepen their knowledge or interest as they will take you for it to fill the gap.
I hope the above could help you in building and deepen your relationships for yourself when you need it the most. I believe that building diverse and deep relationships with people from all walks of life. It helps you alot to offer you a world view and tap on their weak ties in their network whenever you need help.
Think of it as a social bank which you invest in it through your actions when you are providing value to your network. That you can call upon when you need it the most. But you do it because you are sincere and not expecting anything in return. As it is harder to build or deepen a relationship with that mentality.
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The original post was on Digging Your Well Before You Need It - Reading Time: 4 Mins and cover image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash