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Ask HN: I have no idea how to network in tech. Any tips?
16 points by Woadray 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments
I'm in the process of learning how to program (full time) with a heavy focus on Java and web technologies. My goal is to switch career by the end of the year, even doing basic stuff as long as I'm in. But this is so out of my network circle, built naturally by going to college, plus years working in accounting. I feel lost that I can't really talk to anyone about it, covid19 does not really help. Knowing things by experience, network is what primarily gets jobs, so I'm even more stressed. Any online groups I can join join? I just want techie friends I guess.

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Depending on your location it might be very good place to start building your network. If you do this methodically you will be ready by the end of the year. The method is simple - scroll through "people you may know" and find people who are as close to your target audience as possible (probably recruiters / headhunters, sometimes executives of small/mid enterprises who are hiring). It will probably be difficult to find first few, but more you find easier it will be to see other persons who are worth connecting with. Always craft personalized message when connecting. Once you have enough connections (I'd say at least 500) you should start paying attention to your board - many people will post interesting positions, but there will be many other who either post positions you are not interested in or post marketing stuff you are probably not interested in either. You just mute sources you are not interested in. Also when you get contacted by somebody whose message does not fit your requirement always provide polite response (some people respond with angry words when recruiter had not taken time to read their profile and invited to the process for irrelevant position). After a month or two your board will be tuned for jobs you are interested with. Also if you casually browse through jobs advertised through LinkedIn jobs you will get recruiters attention. Good luck!

Thanks for the tips, I will definitely do this.

My advice is to start building something and write about it regularly. Be genuine about it and people will want to talk to you. Post it to e.g. IH, they have a good forum. I've met some great people that way + I sold a side project. Don't be afraid to just write to people to ask them how they've built something that you like, people are actually quite supportive and willing to help once they figure you're genuine.

This IH podcast is good - https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/108-sam-parr-of-the-hus..., quote from the transcipt:

"But I was always really good at doing that and the reason why was, I think that I didn’t have a lot of pride around like – I was never nervous to ask questions. I know that a lot of people who are my friends, they – I’m like dude, just go out and email this person and ask him how he does it or how she does it.

People were always nervous to do that and I kind of never been shy about that. My mom and dad kind of taught me that early on. Just go and ask them. Cold call this person and ask him. So, I think that it’s – you just can’t be too proud because I think that – I don’t know – maybe they’re afraid to look silly.

I think the second thing is I learned very early in life like before I was 10 years old, that people who are more successful than you or who are experts at what they do and you’re not an expert, they love seeing you succeed and they love seeing a young who will actually follow their advice."

If you want techie friends, join IRC channels with your interests, keep posting on this board, and engage with projects on GitHub that interest you.

In some time, you can build up a network.

Loads of good tips above. Another is conferences. Due to Covid many have moved online and as a result are now free to attend. You can listen to the talks, but also network with other attendees. This is a good way to strike up conversation and maybe even find potential job opportunities.

I am wondering if just being in the SFBA naturally lets you network with people in tech in nearly any social group you are part of?

As an analogy, I am in NYC, and every social group I'm part of has at least one (and usually many more) finance/Wall St. type person.

All the major changes in my life in IT have centred around networking or 'friends' as I would call it.

Key opportunites have come from a school friend, the husband of a wife's friend, a friend from church and a friend I worked in a supermarket with in my teens.

I'm not sure how much you can make these things happen. Be a good friend and try to live in the moment. As in don't stress about what may or may not happen in 6 months. Plan, work hard and see what happens.

There is a lot of good advice here about joining tech communities. These are great spaces for learning...not sure about them being a place where others will have your back. Stick to people you can literally poke on that front :-)

I would join your local slack (local in terms of geography) and any tech slacks that interest you. Google for them. Be active and you'll find some friends.

(Maybe a discord as well, that's not something I'm as familiar with.)

Thanks, I'm already exploring this alternative due to covid.

Try to join tech forums/discord/IRC related to tech that you like. I don't have many friends IRL but got to know many people via linux community.

Also IMHO You don't worry too much about networking for finding a job.

I would suggest to make a good personal website, showcasing your skills. You can also volunteer your skills to help local NGO or non profit with their online presence. Apply for jobs in start ups.

I'll take a look, thanks.

Networking usually carries the connotation of leeching imo. Most of the people who are interested in networking with me have nothing to offer me back. You probably actually want a mentor.

No one will really want to "network" unless you have some use to them too.

Go to meetup events!

No meetup event locally? Host one!

With covid, that's illegal where I live so not possible. Waiting for the vaccine to increase herd immunity and we'll see.

Tcp is my preferred option.

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