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7 Networking Tips for Developers

Published 12/2/2015

In today's episode, I share some tips to help you start networking as a developer. We'll discuss 7 tips that you can start using today to cultivate a well rounded networking strategy.

Today's episode is sponsored by Hired.com! If you are a developer or a designer looking for a job, Hired is a fantastic place to begin your journey! The special link for a doubled bonus is https://hired.com/developertea.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today we're going to be talking about networking and know that I'm not talking about the technical networking. I'm talking about professional networking, connecting with other people for both personal and for professional reasons. We're going to talk about networking through the lens of a developer, but really this could go for anyone. The stuff we're going to be talking about today. I have seven tips for you that I'm going to be sharing in today's episode. Thank you to today's sponsor, hire.com. If you're looking for a job, hire.com is a fantastic place to start. You can get offers each and every week from hired as a designer or a developer. Let's jump straight into these tips for networking. By the way, networking is so important. Relationships are the fundamental place for you to advance your career. If you do not take care of your relationships, you will not advance in your career. That is plain and simple. Your talents are important, but ultimately relationships are much more important in the average case. So networking is about building relationships. So we're going to talk about exactly that. We're going to talk about building relationships, taking advantage of relationships, not in a maniacal way, not in a way that hurts the people that you have relationships with, but rather in a way that helps both of you. You see, networking is called networking for a very obvious reason. If you know someone and they know someone that you don't yet know, they can connect to you. That connection can make massive effects on your career. If you didn't have that relationship to begin with, you may never meet that person. So again, networking is so important. We're going to jump straight into the tips that I have for you today. We're going to go through four of them. We'll talk about our sponsor and then we'll finish up with the last three. Number one, don't just focus on new relationships. Reconnect with people that you've worked with in the past two. There may be people that you've worked with in other companies, maybe even clients in the past that are also programmers. And there may even be people that aren't necessarily programmers, but you know that they know other people in the industry. Make sure you take advantage of those relationships in a positive way. You can send them an email and just say, hey, I wonder what you are up to these days. What are you working on? I wanted to reconnect with you and see how we can connect on a professional and personal level. So take advantage of the existing relationships that you have from the past. Number two, some people you already know from the past that aren't developers in your mind may have since adopted programming or something in computer science or software development since you last talked to them. So look through your context on Facebook or on Twitter or LinkedIn and check the job titles. Never underestimate the power of that pre-existing relationship and how important that can be in connecting with them about software development. There are a lot of people in this field now and a lot of people coming from other fields and it's very possible if not likely that someone you knew that used to not be a developer when you knew them may be a developer now. And reconnecting with that person may be significantly easier for you since you have a pre-existing relationship that is built on something other than business. So make sure you check with those other people in your life, go through the people you already know and determine maybe they're in this industry. Maybe you can develop a professional relationship on top if you're pre-existing personal relationship. Number three, don't box yourself in by language or framework when you're trying to network. Connect with Developer That work in multiple languages. Developer communities flourish when new perspectives and experience are brought into the group and languages aren't the underlying common thread between you and other people necessarily. The fact that you are a human that is solving problems with code that is really the underlying thread between you and other developers and the fact that you are humans is an underlying thread with everybody around you. So don't even limit yourself just to developers. There are other people you can network with in other fields as well that can be definitely good relationships for your career. So since we're talking about networking and jobs today, I want to talk to you about today's sponsor, hired.com. If you are looking for a job as a designer or a developer, you should check out hired.com. Hired is fixing the hiring process. There are over 2,000 companies that you can apply to work with including companies like GitHub, Facebook, Event Right, Stripe. Groupon, the list is incredibly long obviously. They have salaries from $75,000 to $250,000 and it only takes about 10 minutes to get signed up. You answer a few questions and companies start sending you offers with upfront compensation. Now typically people get a $2,000 bonus when they get a job through hired but if you use the special link that you can find in the show notes, you can double that bonus to $4,000 just because you are a Developer Tea listener. So thank you so much to hired for providing Developer Tea listeners with that extra incentive, that little bit of extra bonus and go and check out hired.com. Again, check the show notes at spec.fm for the special link to sign up. Thank you again to hired.com for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So let's jump straight back into our discussion about networking. I have 7 tips. I've already given you 3. The first one was don't just focus on creating new relationships, reconnect with other people you've already worked with in the past. Number 2 is kind of similar to that. Some people you already know from previous relationships in your past may have recently become a programmer or a developer or something relevant to your particular industry and you may want to connect with those people. You already have a pre-existing relationship with them and so connecting with them is a little bit easier. Number 3, don't box yourself in by language or framework. Connect with people that are working in other languages, other frameworks and perhaps not even working in development at all. There are so many connections that you can make with other people in business. So if you are a Ruby developer, for example, don't just go to your local Ruby meetup and expect that to be all that you can do with networking. You could just do that and possibly be successful, but you could also expand your network and learn so much more from these other people. Number 4, get talkative at local hacking spaces. This doesn't apply to everyone. It really only applies to people who live in a city where people work in a local open space like for example a coffee shop, a public space, and you see them working on something that looks interesting to you. You should go up and say hello sometimes to these people. People typically enjoy when others recognize that the work that they are doing seems interesting to them. The deal is you just don't want to overdo it, right? If they are truly working, then the last thing they want to do is start up a long conversation that interrupts what they were doing in the middle of solving a complex programming problem, for example. Instead, just tell them your name. Tell them that you're interested in hearing what they do, what they are working on, for example. And then make sure they know that you plan to connect with them in the future. Maybe ask them for their email. This is a very simple way to connect with other people who are working as developers in this industry. Number 5, using your social profiles online is a great way to connect with people, but be sure that you represent an interest in development related topics on those profiles. If your Twitter account is full of a bunch of photos of people I don't know, and you never share anything that I'm interested in, I will not continue to follow you. Following you on Twitter has absolutely nothing to do with my professional life if all you're doing is posting photos of cats. And our online connection and our in-person connection may suffer as a result of that. So if you are going to give out your social profiles or if you're going to use them as a professional tool, then make sure that you represent your interest in development on those profiles. It's a very simple communication tactic. Make sure you are posting things that are actually relevant to your job that are relevant to other developers. And that leads me straight into number 6, and that is treat your social media interactions like a house party with a bunch of your friends and your friends friends. At a party you wouldn't be too talkative for example, so you shouldn't be too talkative on social media. At a party you wouldn't focus too much on one or two people at the party, and you shouldn't do that on social media either. At a party you would also respond to what other people have to say. You would participate in discussion with those people, and finally you would talk about things that are of interest to other people when you do choose to talk. All of these social etiquette that applies to in-person interactions, try applying that to your social media, and I promise you you will see a positive reaction from people who follow you on social media. And finally number 7, remember that networking isn't just about what you can get out of it. It is a personal exchange with other humans. Networking is the personal side of business. If you approach someone looking only to receive a favor and without anything to offer to them, you will likely be turned down. People do not want to deal with other people who only want to use them. This is a simple social tactic. Building relationships is about both sides understanding the value that the other side has as a human being, and showing true interest in that other person. You can't fake it. It needs to be real interest in understanding what other people are doing. So cultivate that interest in yourself. People are driven by relationships first. If you can build a good relationship with the people you want to connect with professionally, you are much more likely to succeed than if you treat it purely as a business transaction. Cultivate relationships, cultivate appreciation for what other people do. Don't just be in this to get ahead, but instead be in this to build relationships. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea today. I hope that this has been enlightening in some way and that it stirs up some thoughts about how you can network better with people in this industry and also people outside of this industry. Networking with the right people at the right time can change your career and it can change your life. So make sure that you spend some time thinking about networking, spend some time interacting with other people at a professional and personal level. It is absolutely important that you do this. Thank you so much to hire.com for sponsoring today's episode. Make sure you check the show notes for that special link that you can sign up and get that double bonus from $2000 to $4,000. Thank you again to hired for giving that to Developer Tealisteners. Thank you, the listener, for listening. I couldn't do this show without you and I appreciate every single one of you who listen to this show each and every week. Don't forget all the notes for today's episode can be found at speck.fm. If you are enjoying Developer Tea, please leave a review in iTunes. That is the easiest way to help other developers just like you find Developer Tea and make sure you subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use to make sure that you do not miss out on any future episodes of Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.