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Schmoozing With A Programmer's Brain

In my conversations with people online, I seem to repeat a few things about networking. Keeping things DRY as a developer, this is my way to ensure I am not repeating myself.

When networking, there are a few things you can do to ensure success and reduce stress.


Communication is a tremendous part of a developer's life. It's almost as important as the code they are writing. In fact, you can consider the code to be another form of communication.

Resume and LinkedIn

Your resume and LinkedIn account should line up. That's not to say that they should have identical information. Your resume should be a subset of what's on LinkedIn.

When I interview and look at a resume, I've often already looked up the individual's profile on LinkedIn. If the job descriptions are widely different, it triggers a red-flag and I start digging in deeper to see if something's been exaggerated.

Make sure they are in line with each other.

Additionally, I often recommend finding a Resume Writer that is willing to not just improve the language, but align the resume and LinkedIn account. They are generally well worth the money.

Nervous like You

If I am at an event and just jump into a conversation with someone, I have to assume they are as prepared for the conversation as I am ... which is, completely unprepared and probably nervous too.

In this scenario, the best that can be done is to have prepared yourself ahead of time.

People are a Black-Box

One of the descriptions that I like to use is that people are a "black-box." In computer science, there is an approach to looking at systems called black-box.

The underlying concept is that we know the inputs to a function and outputs that should come from a function. What we do not know is how the function works on the inside.

I like to apply this to people.

The inputs are what you say to them. The outputs are their responses. We have no clue what they are thinking on the inside ... how they take our conversation and turn it into a response.

Research People

If you know you are going into a meeting with someone, do your homework. Do a general search on that individual.

  • Don't limit the search to LinkedIn, but don't ignore it.
  • Is there code on GitHub you can look at?
  • Are there questions or answers on StackOverflow you can check out? Don't forget that people have profiles on StackOverflow that can provide a lot of information (here's mine), as well.
  • Do they write articles you can read?

Research Companies

Along with researching an individual, research the company they work for.

Are you going to a conference (in-person or virtual)? Research the sponsors.

  • Don't forget to look at the company's website. Do they have information that might be useful when having conversations?
  • Again, don't limit the search to LinkedIn, but don't ignore it.
  • Do they have employees you are connected with?
  • Do they have employees with similar interests beyond code?
  • Do they have open-source repositories you can look at?
  • Are they on Glassdoor?

There are many other things you can look for, depending on your focus or goals.

Plan for Recruiters

One of the most challenging areas of networking is talking with recruiters. They have a job, to hire people. Their job may not align with my goals. There is not a lot of research that can be done up front, but if you come across a recruiter you "click" with, here are some things to consider ...

  1. They are people, too.
  2. Their experience with tech can be limited.

When I find a recruiter that I connect well with I try to maintain that relationship over time. I'm not as concerned with who they are working for as I am with maintaining the relationship.

I have several recruiters that I will go to lunch, jump on a phone call, or simply send an email to. These conversations are a two-way street.

  1. I want to learn what they are seeing as trends in the industry. Is there anything I can take away and use in my career?
  2. They want to know they type of work I am doing and any trends I am seeing that they can take back and use on their job.

Plan for Meetings

OK. You now have an idea of what kind of research can be done.

This information can be used in a variety of ways.


Researching the companies will give you an idea of who they are looking for. Knowing what they do can give you opportunities to start conversations.


Researching the company and interviewer should make you more comfortable. This way, you're not going in blind.

You should be using this information to prepare questions to ask ...

  • What do you see my job looking like in 1-year, 5-years?
  • Your company provides "solutions development," what does that mean to you? What does my typical day look like?

Coffee Conversations

When planning for a "coffee" or lunch meeting that's not an interview, the research should be the same. Expect the conversation to be more fluid and two-way than speaking with a recruiter at a conference or being in an interview.

It's OK to talk about yourself, your goals and accomplishments.


In my conversations with people online, I seem to repeat a few things about networking. When networking, there are a few things you can do to ensure success and reduce stress.

  • Communication is important!
  • Ensure your resume and LinkedIn account are aligned.
  • Remember that we call get nervous. If it helps, consider people like the black-box ... we never know what they are thinking.
  • Research people and companies.
  • Plan for speaking with recruiters.
  • Plan for the various types of meetings: Conferences, interviews, and coffee conversations.

I hope this helps as you move forward.

Top comments (6)

Sloan, the sloth mascot
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rfornal profile image

There’s nothing wrong with networking in whatever way meets your needs. Meetups and conferences provide in-person and virtual options. You can still use LinkedIn and other sites for research to minimize your stress.

_andro_ profile image

Thank you for the good read. I recently read about resume screening software called ATS (Application Tracking Software). Apparently PDF resumes are susceptible to being passed up by these resume screening tools. Fun fact! The good news is "LinkedIn resumes are formatted to be compatible with the typical resume screening software used by recruiters." Another good reason to keep your resume consistent with your LinkedIn.

johnpalmgren profile image
John Palmgren

Love it! Very relatable

mszeles profile image
Miklós Szeles

Insightful article I really like the "People are a Black-Box" phrase. 😊