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Networking For Developers and Lessons from Self-Taught Career Figures

normannuthu profile image Norman Nuthu ・9 min read

Introduction

There are presently 20 million or more software developers within the world. A variety that’s solely steady increasing whilst you read this sentence. This is often positive support that our profession is headed towards technological advancements. It’s additionally a testimonial of however competitive getting in this field is whereas there are loads of studies and stories of however careers advance by talking to the correct person at the correct time, things are a bit tough for developers. Mostly, we have a tendency to pride in technical competencies as software developers, we’ve to acknowledge that Soft Skills and building networks or connections around us are equally vital if not more vital.

What’s networking?

To me, networking means establishing and maintaining dependent relationships. I contemplate myself a newbie however, in spite of appearance I do know I’m a networking guru. I love simply interacting with individuals from all spheres of Life. This has helped Me particularly with finding my purpose, career transition, and usually living a satisfying life.
To harness this power and having the ability to take charge of my life as a tyro, I came to know the advantages of learning some soft skills (As I had mentioned earlier) and applying them in my regular life. Starting, I used to be fully convinced that the technical skills are what builds or breaks a software developer’s career. I had the naive impression that developers who are nice at building software are those that get ahead quicker. And wow, was I wrong. As a piece newbie, I quickly determined that developers who have satisfactory/average/passable technical competency however wonderful soft skills were outperforming technical expert/maestro in terms of career advancement and monetary compensation. Since formal education doesn’t teach us a lot regarding these skills, I started to take notes regarding what software developers were doing. I did that to emulate them and grow.

Key Soft Skills:

Soft skills squarely measure any skill or quality which will be classified as a temperament attribute or habit. They’re not regarding the data you possess however rather the behavior you show in numerous things. As a result of soft skills, you already possess many marketable soft traits that may assist you to help you get and be successful in a job. Although soft skills can even be learned and developed with knowledge, practice, and experience. Here are a couple of key soft skills and the way those skills will enhance your performance as a Developer:

  • Open-mindedness

In tech, open-mindedness is key. Open-mindedness ensures that we can adapt ourselves to the dynamic nature of our jobs. One aspect of open-mindedness is being able to listen to the opinions and ideas of others. If we properly listen and understand what others are saying, we have the chance to learn something new, build new ideas based on other’s ideas, and more effectively drive the task at hand forward.

  • Time management

As software developers, we’ve got the posh of being afforded a great deal of time freedom, unlike several other alternative professions. A part of this freedom is the chance to manage our time to an explicit degree. Managing our time suggests that we must always be able to order our tasks. It’s terribly tempting to figure out on exciting tasks first and ignore a lot of vital however less attention-grabbing ones. Time management conjointly suggests that keeping procrastination under control. As a software developer, you’ll be able to much depart with reading memes and looking at online videos for days on finish. Procrastination causes panic close to deadlines. Panic causes distress and unhealthy quality of labor. Another side of your time management is punctuality. Some developers build it a habit of coming in late to conferences/meetings. Time management conjointly suggests that knowing when to and when not to work. It’s alright to keep back late once during a whereas to fulfill vital deadlines however, pull all-nighters often can have damaging effects on our health and social life. We’ve to understand once to sign off and return for the day after we aren’t at work, for instance on weekends or vacations, we’ve to own the discipline of staying far from work and this implies to no email reading or secretly writing that “one line of code”. In our bubble, it’s too straightforward to feel peer pressured into burning the midnight oil or feeling guilty that we have a tendency to not checking emails on vacation. We’ve to cue ourselves that taking a break improves our productivity, not cut back it.

  • Marketing your work

In a perfect world, your work would represent itself but sadly, we have a tendency to don’t live in a perfect world. Nice work goes unremarked or unnoticed all the time and we’ve to take an active part to make sure that our contributions get communicated for them to be seen and acknowledged. In most cases, management doesn’t directly decide the standard of your technical work. It’s not the work of your manager to review each line of your code to judge your performance. The impression that managers have about us relies on their observations. However, they piece together a picture of your performance based on:

  • Your direct communication with them (1-on-1 conferences, operating along on projects)
  • Meetings they attend wherever you’re present
  • Demos and displays that you simply give
  • Your communication with others wherever they’re passively involved. for instance, email CC.
  • What others talk concerning you behind your back (yes, folks do speak behind your back)

There are many ranging opinions of what “marketing our work” means. To me, it means communicating the indispensable information to management for them to paint an accurate picture of your good work. We’ve to tailor our selling methods to support our distinctive state of affairs. Your state of affairs depends on factors like your temperament, your manager’s temperament, your colleagues, your company culture, and therefore the nature of your work. I have found these subsequent actions to be effective:

  • Communicate clearly which part I have personally played in a project. Effective places to speak this could be in 1-on-1 conferences or team conferences.
  • Make sure management is aware of any additional tasks that I do on my initiative

Never communicate wrong or faux info to management to urge ahead. You would possibly getaway within the short run. One fine day the problem can surface and bite you within the “backend”. I actually have seen this happen first hand to some colleagues.

Networking Tips:

Knowing the “right” people both inside and outside your company has a huge impact on your career. Some obvious benefits are:

  • getting better job opportunities

  • having more contacts for your projects (for collaborations, as clients, etc.)

  • getting help from people who are not formally obligated to help you increased chance of skipping certain bullshit corporate red tape procedures.

  • they can introduce you to other people

One way to get to know someone new is to approach them when you come across their work. If you have attended an interesting talk or read an article, you can shoot a colleague an email to thank them and express your honest thoughts on the topic. If the conversation takes an interesting turn, you can meet them personally to ask what they are working on or go for lunch. When I am faced with an issue I cannot solve by myself or with the help of those I know, I sometimes rummage the company intranet to see if anyone else has worked on a similar problem. I would send them a “cold” email to ask for help. Most of the time, colleagues would reply and be more than happy to offer assistance. Even if they cannot help directly, they could point you to a person who can. Another way to widen your circle is to ask for an introduction. If you know someone that knows a person you would like to know, you could just ask to be introduced. You can also gain corporate contacts from leisure activities. Many companies, especially bigger ones, have groups that come together for after-work activities. I have met many interesting work contacts by going to dinners and participating in meetups. It is vital to nurture the relationships that you have. If you just contact people when you need them, they will have the impression that you are merely using them. And they are right. I do enjoy keeping in touch with people to nurture relationships. Some ways that I usually do this are:

  • go to lunch or coffee dates with them

  • send them an Email/Whatsapp text/Call if you come across their name. For example, if you read about them in a company blog or a press release.

I also enjoy “cross-pollinating” my contacts by introducing them to each other when I see the opportunity. I found out from experience that it is a good idea to ask both parties if they are interested before I introduced them to each other. I have had a couple of bad experiences where one side was not interested in talking at all and it reflected badly on me. It’s all a learning experience for me 😅. Nonetheless, here are my Top 5 Networking Tips I know will impact your career as a Software Developer:

  • Being proactive

This must be initiated on any networking tips list. I’ve in person witnessed the importance of invariably taking the primary step and starting the conversation. Recruiters meet with and speak to many developers on a few potential job daily, therefore it’s straightforward to be unnoticed. You’ve got to be the one to initiate that LinkedIn request, that voice communication at a meetup session, begin that Twitter thread or to start out associate degree email thread concerning your interest. Your angle must project your passion for programming. Your enthusiasm ought to drive the voice of communication and mirror your ambition and drive.

  • Maintain your contacts

You may have met a recruiter at a career fair, or have a friend who introduced you to somebody at a company you’d like to work at. Ask to keep in touch. I know a lot of friends who met someone at a career fair and had everything going for them except that they didn’t have their email to reach out for a follow-up. Not only is it smart to ask for email addresses or to ask to follow them on LinkedIn, but it is also a way to make the otherwise detached process of networking a little personal.

  • Keep swimming

It’s very easy to find yourself lost in this sea of developers who seem smarter than you. I only took to programming after I started grad school and was one of the odd ones that were either too late to the party or were a complete outsider. What set me apart, in the end, was the fact that I did not give up. I know of people who took rejections too personally and stopped their applications. Sure the hiring process is tough to endure, but it is important to keep your head above the water. All those hours in the library, all those speeches in front of a mirror, all the ups and downs that you will face in the process were only put there to make you better. And in the end, guaranteed, it will all pay off and it will be worth it all.

  • Socializing in the right groups

The amount of programming you study is almost always inversely proportional to your extraversion. Half the battle is won when you market yourself right, but it may not be the only way of going about it in the developers’ circles. Some good places to start are hackathons, student clubs, meetup groups, and social media. It will only help you stay focused and get a little more knowledgeable about your career direction. And who knows, you might even meet your future employer in one of these places.

  • Be a Connector

Being a connector in your network is often the best idea you can make in networking. I even have found this to be an awfully satisfying follow. It feels sensible to understand that I even have provided worth to individuals by increasing their networks. I differentiate between additional casual introductions and additional “formal” ones. With casual connections, I merely introduce individuals to at least one another whenever there’s a chance. An awfully common state of affairs is after I am chatting to at least one person and another person happens says hi to me. When making more formal introductions, I make sure that both parties are interested before making the introduction. I found out that it feels awkward later if only one party is interested in keeping the interaction alive. I’ve made it a point to ask both parties before making an introduction, particularly when it is meant to lead to concrete work collaborations. When listening to challenges or problems faced by colleagues, make it a habit to ask yourself if there is anyone in your circle who might be in a position to help.

Conclusion

Although the ways to go about networking may have changed, it remains an essential ingredient to make a career move. No matter how many software engineers this world churns up, the significance of a productive human interaction would remain. We have relied on each other to thrive since the dawn of our species. Getting to know and working with others to achieve common goals is one of the most natural things we can do. We are doing others and ourselves a favor when we polish up our networking skills. Always remember, Your net worth is directly proportional to your network.

Thank You and Keep being Awesome 🥳 🎉 🥂.

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Norman Nuthu

@normannuthu

I am a passionate Software Developer building things for the Android and Web Platforms.

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