This article was written by my colleague Shannon Stroud and has been updated for accuracy and freshness. Sharing with the Dev.to community!
If you’re a developer, you probably spend a lot of time in front of your computer and while your programming skills are on point – how are your networking skills?
Look, we know that you spend a lot of time dealing with tickets, fixing bugs, hitting submit and while you might thrive in independent work, your career needs people to survive. As a developer your skills are in high demand – and with more and more students coming out of college and into your field you need to stand out.
There are plenty of ways that you can stand out technically; but your next job can come from the people you know. It’s important to find yourself a community of programmer and industry experts who know your name, trust your work and eager to work with you.
While events have moved online for the time being, you can still start building your network. We put together a few tips that can help you get started.
With networking, like starting a new project or setting goals for your daily standup, you need to create objectives. Do you know why you want to network in the first place? Maybe you are interested in switching jobs and you want to get your name out in different circles. Maybe you’re interested in being more in tuned with your industry – or maybe you’re starting a project and want to see what people might think.
Whatever it is, knowing what your purpose is for growing your circle will help you narrow down the kind of people you need to meet. Setting goals changes your mindset from connecting with every single person in the room, to building relationships with the people who matter most to your goals.
Networking is only successful when you remember that you are connecting and building relationships with real people. You have to get in the mindset that networking is not a quick fix. Like all relationships, it takes time and hard work for it to be a successful connection.
How to build relationships? When you meet new people or people who can potentially support your project, remember that it’s a two-way street. You’re a developer, you have valuable skills that can support a variety of projects – so as you reach out for them to support you, think of ways you can also provide value to them. Additionally, make sure that your community is aware of your capabilities and that you can and are willing to help them out.
Not all networking has to be in person – social media proves this point every day. While LinkedIn and Facebook might be your go-to for connecting with peers, another good place to look for connection is developer specific forums and communities, like CodeProject, StackOverflow or GitHub. Each of these online communities offer you an opportunity to build a global network of programmers. These are the places you will find peers to support personal projects, check your work and be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
Sometimes it is not about attending all the conferences and events, but instead just the ones that matter – or the ones that enable you to show off. A good place to do this is to participate in virtual hackathons. These allow you to show others first-hand what you are capable of and instills trust among your peers.
These are 24-48 hours where you can work alongside your peers to put together prototypes. By the end of these events, you’ll quickly learn who the people are that you want to work with in the future and who you don’t.
Maybe hackathons aren’t your thing – too high-pressure, not enough reward – we get it. That’s why meetups and co-working events exist. They are a low-pressure event where you get together with other developers who are there to do one thing – meet new people. These meetups can take many forms, from virtual happy hours, to co-working; whatever shape they are, they are the spot for you to meet people who can help you meet your networking goals.
Like relationships, meetups only work when you consistently show up. You’re not going to make brand new connections by showing your face once. Join a group and make a conscious effort to be an active participant. Participate in the events, contribute to the discussions, lead your own events – whatever it is, make sure people know your name in the group.
Here are some virtual meetups and co-working events to check out:
IBM Developers - https://www.meetup.com/IBM-Developer-SF-Bay-Area-Meetup/
HackerDojo - https://www.meetup.com/HackerDojo/
BayGeo - https://www.meetup.com/baygeo/
Learn to Code Amsterdam - https://www.meetup.com/Learning-to-Code-Amsterdam/
Girl Develop It - https://www.meetup.com/Girl-Develop-It-San-Francisco/
Coding Dojo Silicon Valley - https://www.meetup.com/codingdojo-silicon-valley/
Now, it’s time to put these tips in to practice and join a meetup group! Start building your network right away by connecting with us! We are group of location experts and developers who want to do cool things with maps and technology. We hold bimonthly events and workshops on Twitch that are a place for education, coding and most importantly – a time for you to connect with a community of map lovers and developers.
Here are some places you can connect with us:
Check out either one of these for access to new events and workshops coming up. When you join, drop a “hi” in the discussion tab. We can’t wait to meet you!