A Self-taught Developer? Here’s What You Can Do to Network and Build Genuine Relationships
Whether you’re a self-taught developer, just tapping into the tech domain, or are still looking forward to commencing your journey, communication and networking are the best skills at your disposal to proceed in this industry. In fact, post-COVID, they are the most sought-after skills, and understandably so. Everything has been shifted online – even the events that brought along developers worldwide to discuss niche topics.
But at the same time, this unprecedented digitization has opened the doors for those who can strive to make the best out of it — developers with no degrees, no certifications — just sheer passion and skill. And that’s what makes the modern-day world a hub of opportunities — one that is driven by how well and to whom one can voice out the skills he/she possesses.
Know Your Worth as a , but Don’t Forget to Be Normal.
Before we dive into the topic of networking, I’d like to talk about self-worth. Many self-taught developers do not know their worth in the marketplace. As a result, they are underpaid and continue to be underpaid despite the fact that their contribution is largely known and appreciated. Hence, it becomes imperative that you know what you are worthwhile being open-minded enough to adapt to the logic of the market.
LinkedIn — The Most Credible Social Media Channel for Effective Networking
At present, LinkedIn boasts a massive user-base of 774.61 million users. This number is expected to soar through the ranks and surpass the 1 billion mark by 2025. In 2015, these numbers would have felt an exaggeration of the platform’s capabilities; however, the recent trends of shifting to remote work, building social media presence, driving personal brands, amongst others, have made the platform an indispensable medium of exchange and networking.
LinkedIn is a very powerful tool to make yourself known within your industry. It can help you discover those who have previously worked with you or with whom you have a common acquaintance and could not connect earlier. Additionally, you get to connect with those whom you’ve not worked with but might do in the future.
Remember, networking is a long-term strategy, and LinkedIn is the place where it all begins.
Here are some best practices you can adhere to:
1. Build a good profile on LinkedIn – Have a detailed and concrete about section, talk about your projects, include keywords in your headline, and be sure to mention the skills you possess. Here’s a full list of Technical Skill Assessments that you can take on LinkedIn to enhance your visibility and credibility.
2. Identify like-minded people – It’s essential to type in the right keywords in the search bar, for the results can be massively disparate for every synonym. Choose the right words and identify the right people. Scan through their profiles and send them a personalized invite. (By personalized, I mean personalized and not a copy-paste template).
3. Finally, engage with people – This is an art in itself. Needless to say, you should complement your connections on their posts, not blatantly criticize (no one likes that); point out the positives and make them feel good about themselves. Be genuine and understand that, at the end of the day, it’s all about building genuine relationships based on respect and mutual understanding.
Slack — The Best Place to Uncover Expertise and Drive Valuable Discoveries
One of the most exciting developments in recent times is Slack. A place where developers from all walks of life come together to mingle and build relationships based on their shared passion. The platform has revolutionized the way teams communicate within their organization.
Slack is also becoming a significant IM (instant messaging) platform for developers, thanks to its robust feature set, which includes Google Hangouts integration, the ability to manage files, and the extremely intuitive.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the platform:
1. If you can, set up a channel – Set up a custom team name and invite people to the channel. This is very important as most leaders have their own team members whom they don’t want to show up in their feed. This helps them segregate the important conversations from the casual conversations.
2. Join groups for your team – Customize your feed based on what you want to follow.
3. Make your mark everywhere – Go to the #random channel and have fun! This is the place where you can find lots of stuff going on.
4. Identify experts in your field and get to know them better.
Discord — The Platform where Community Drives the Action
Discord is quickly becoming a favorite IM and voice platform for the online gaming community. However, it should not be overlooked because it doubles up as an excellent platform for networking and collaboration.
Discord features several servers where you’ll find like-minded people having P2P on the trendiest technologies. Add the rather robust voice calling feature to the mix, and the platform becomes a one-stop-shop to network. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the platform:
1. Find your interests – Join channels pertaining to your interest and engage. Check for available servers and click on them to request joining.
2. Get involved – Don’t let the servers just remain idle; feel free to get involved in the discussions.
3. Share – Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or have vast experience, feel free to share your knowledge and expertise.
4. Lastly, be a good listener and don’t hog the channel.
Reddit Communities — The Platform with Unmatched Capabilities
Wherever you navigate on the internet, you’ll find Reddit in the midst, and one of its most prominent features is probably the communities. The platform has grown tremendously and now boasts more than 1.5 billion visitors every month.
For the uninitiated, Reddit is an excellent platform to find like-minded people to share your interests and passions. Reddit communities are one-of-a-kind platforms where multiplayer is at play. The community is not a single entity, but it exists on a spectrum; therefore, you’ll find both the beginners and the experts in each forum.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the platform:
1. Join relevant subreddits related to your interests – create a list of them and commit to being active in them.
2. Find subreddits and communities that are related to your targets and build relationships with them.
3. Most importantly, help people who are looking for advice or answer a question – most will reciprocate and make it easier to establish rapport.
Here are some of my personal favorite communities: r/datascience, r/programming, r/learnprogramming, r/machinelearning, r/webdev, r/technology, r/dataisbeautiful, r/technology.
Find yours today!