Networking is vital for personal growth and the development of your career. It involves building long-term relationships with others in a similar field for a mutually beneficial relationship. Your professional relationship extends from colleagues and business connections to your social network. It may not come naturally to some people, but it is essential that it is a process in your professional career and the tech industry is no exception!
There are many advantages to networking, such as:
Improving Your Knowledge
Your network, when filled with professionals with a wealth of experience in a similar vocation to you, can act as an extra resource for in-depth expertise or insights on a particular subject. It is easier to hear about the implementation of a process by directly communicating with someone who has been there and done it than to read about it online. Plus, a rich, knowledgeable network ensures you’re always updated on the latest industry trends/news. You can also offer your expertise and help others expand their knowledge. If you are able to surround yourself with erudite in your field of expertise, you will maximise your chances of learning and be able to feed off of your network for new and helpful information. Networking in this sense is an integral component of your learning journey. This is especially true in tech where the industry is dynamic and ever evolving. With new and complex systems constantly being introduced, it is important to embed yourself within the community and a network of other tech people in order to expose yourself to the latest trends.
Providing a Fresh Perspective
Being part of a large network of like-minded professionals ensures that you receive a large amount of support (the wider the network the wider the range of support or advice). Within which you can discuss challenges/obstacles you need help in overcoming, and one is free to offer advice or support. Various fresh perspectives could also offer new ideas to help your company, help you expand your knowledge and so implement the best practices in day-to-day work. A new perspective adds to your personal development and creativity - great innovation is often sourced from the meetings of different perspectives on a given problem. This is especially true in tech careers that rely on continuous learning and professional development. Likewise, offering your ideas to others sets up your reputation within a community as an innovative thinker. And so, networking promotes growth in your personal career path by connecting you to people with different experiences.
Broadening Your Access to Opportunities
It is possible to strengthen your professional relationships with mutual cooperation. Regularly engaging with your network in-person or online as well as helping others, will sow the seeds of reciprocal assistance when it is your turn to ask for help. Making strong relationships could lead to job opportunities and career progression. Sharing meaningful interactions with the right person may be the difference in securing the opportunity of a lifetime. It could be by chance, meeting the right employer, client, or people ahead of you in your career path that can put a good word in, or getting you a referral. And of course, expanding your network further boosts the chances of running into the right people.
Becoming More Visible
Networking helps you get noticed and it is an excellent strategy for seeking publicity for your business or yourself as a professional. Whether it be hosting an event for exposure or posting on your social media platform. It reaches an audience and gives more visibility to showcase your organisation, skills, and knowledge. Getting your name out there will give you credibility in your field and further your status within the community. Becoming a known entity within a particular domain, such as tech, will compound your network even more as people begin to recognise and gravitate toward you.
Long-Term Personal Relationships
Although networking is primarily for developing and nurturing professional relationships, some of the strongest long-standing friendships are borne from work connections. This is probably because you’re surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals to your own. So beyond furthering your career and professional life, networking can also be really fun and give you the opportunity to meet great people who you otherwise may never have come across. Many personal and informal relationships can come out of networking, making what is primarily a professional experience, all the more enjoyable!
There are currently many ways to network and there will be further innovative ways to network in the future. One of the main methods to network in person is by attending social community events and supporting other companies. This allows you to meet with professionals in the same industry and expand your knowledge of business techniques, and industry trends in the process. A great networking event in the DevOps space that we co-organise is London DevOps. Meeting in person is often a more effective way of creating relationships than over the computer screen, as empathy/emotion is visible. Attending events also helps to build confidence by putting yourself out there to meet new people and build invaluable social skills.
Online networking is less personal. However, it is a useful networking process as 92% of people in a Forbes study found that it saves time, 88% found that it saves money and 76% said that it allowed more flexibility in location and timing. If you’re working in software development, you may want to invest the time in building up your GitHub and Stack Overflow profiles as this shows off your experience and generates social proof from other developers in their work, and build status within the community. Business roles in tech may require development into other platforms such as Twitter.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. Therefore, it is important to keep your profile up to date, with a cover photo that reflects your creativity, a professional headshot, and an updated list of experiences, emphasising your milestones and achievements. Networking can be done on LinkedIn via personal messaging or sharing content. LinkedIn offers a blogging platform where professionals can share their thoughts and showcase expertise. It can be anything from the written word to a video, the most important thing is that it is showcasing your interests and skills, you’re your connections. Some ideas for posting content are sharing industry news (perhaps with your commentary), sharing advice (showing off expertise), or showing off your personality by adding storytelling components to your commentary. Engaging with other profiles and their posts will also strengthen relationships and it will be reciprocated.
In hiring and securing roles, it is the skills, expertise, and knowledge that are vital. Becoming an active member of the tech community, connecting with others, and sharing knowledge will help you stand out as an individual or organisation.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the DevOps community, London DevOps is one of the best opportunities to strengthen your network while learning more about DevOps.