Whether you’re aiming for a technical or business role in the tech industry, networking can give a great boost to your career development.
Networking is more than just meeting new people. It’s a way of exchanging information, creating long-term relationships that bring mutual benefits and finding new opportunities for growing your career. That’s why it should be at the core of everyone’s professional career – and the tech industry is certainly no exception.
In this article, we take a closer look at the benefits of networking in IT to offer you tailored advice about how to build a professional network and a strong personal brand to succeed in tech.
1. You get to exchange ideas
When talking with professionals in your field, you can tell how much you already know about the tech industry and how much you still need to learn. The insights you gain from others will help you in expanding your knowledge and positioning yourself as an expert.
By creating a strong network, you will find plenty of opportunities to trade ideas thanks to long-term relationships based on mutual trust. This will help you implement best practices in your day to day work and gain a stronger foothold in the industry.
2. You’ll get noticed
Networking is an excellent strategy for seeking publicity for your business or yourself as a professional. People are quick to notice others who have strong capabilities for making them relevant. If you stand out in both your expertise and the kind of professional services you offer, networking will create room for partnerships that will further your career.
It’s simple: networking creates more visibility for your skills, talent, and knowledge. Don’t hesitate to use every interaction to share your insights, help people out, and show yourself as someone who has a valuable perspective.
3. You gain access to new opportunities
Once people in your network start noticing you, they might open the doors to new career opportunities. By getting to know a lot of people and sharing meaningful interactions with them, you will be the first person they will think of when they learn of a certain opportunity.
This could be meeting the right employer, client, or even people who are more advanced in their career paths and could become your mentors. It takes quite a bit of luck to stumble upon these opportunities, but by expanding your network, you will boost your chances.
4. You’ll become more creative
Great innovations are usually born from the meeting of different perspectives on a given problem. This is especially true about careers in tech which rely on continuous learning and professional development.
Meaningful interactions with other professionals could potentially transform your perspective or point you in the right direction and give you a career breakthrough.
Networking unleashes your creative talents and promotes growth in your career path by connecting you to people with different experiences.
5. Networking is a great source of knowledge
There’s no better source of insider knowledge than your network. It works as an extra resource or a library for professionals looking for in-depth expertise about a subject or insights from experienced individuals.
It’s always easier to hear how someone implemented a process rather than reading about it in a book. Moreover, a rich network will provide you with updated information about the latest trends in the industry that are relevant to you. You can tap into those resources whenever you need and offer something in exchange to become a valuable member of other people’s networks.
6. You can meet high profile people
Professionals who are consciously developing their careers are bound to run into a challenge or two at some point. This is where a strong network with high profile individuals from a similar career path can offer you lots of support.
Such people can act as mentors and help you overcome challenges. They can offer you helpful advice or link you to the right resources you need – for example, financial support.
Don’t be shy and aim to get connected with people who are further along the path of your dream career. Sure, people in tech have limited time on their hands, but they’re usually generous when it comes to sharing their experience and resources.
7. You get to build long-lasting relationships
When based on mutual relationships where both parties add value, networking becomes a powerful resource. Note that it brings significant results after a while because it takes time to build long-lasting relationships.
However, people who make networking one of their priorities in career development are usually able to reap these benefits and accelerate their careers.
How to build a personal brand in the tech industry
Branding is crucial in all kinds of professions, but it plays an even more important role in tech. Since the IT industry attracts some of the highest-paid professionals in the market, a personal brand is critical to compete with them.
Even if you’re great at what you do, as long as nobody knows about that, you won’t be able to score a job at tech giants or attractive startups. Also, if you’re a tech entrepreneur, you won’t be taken seriously unless you build a solid personal brand.
So how can you build a personal brand for boosting your career in the tech industry? Here are a few helpful tips.
a. Use social media to your advantage
Software developers and engineers usually spend time building their profiles on GitHub and Stack Overflow. By showing their expertise, they generate social proof from other developers about their work and build their status in the community. Moreover, offering to help other community members might open the doors to new career opportunities.
If you’re looking to fill a business role in tech, other platforms such as Twitter or Medium are more practical.
b. Make the most of LinkedIn
Start with positioning your profile:
- What is the first thing people who visit your profile see? It’s the cover image. Make sure that it reflects your personality or creativity. Avoid using poor-quality pictures or stock images.
- – Get a professional headshot. Trust us, it matters.
- – Write a killer one-liner summary. It’s displayed right next to your name, so it needs to highlight your area of expertise. If you write that you’re just a software developer or HR specialist, you’re not going to differentiate yourself from anyone. Use this space to tell your story or show your interests and goals.
- – Now it’s time to take a look at your profile. Your work history should display milestones and achievements. That way, your LinkedIn profile won’t end up looking for a boring resume that gets tossed into the trash.
c. Create and share useful content
Once you polish your profile, it’s time to connect with others and create your own content. LinkedIn offers a blogging platform where professionals can share their thoughts and showcase their expertise.
Creating content is the best way to become known for your expertise. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an image, video, or written word. The most important thing is that you’re creating something that brings value to other people and, at the same time, shows your skills.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- – If there is breaking news in your industry, share it together with your commentary. And if you know a topic better than anyone else, document your expertise and put it online in the form of a guide or how-to article.
- – Don’t be afraid to share what you know. Nobody’s going to steal your expertise. And ones who might aren’t your target market anyway – because they simply can’t afford your services.
- – When creating content, do your absolute best. Add storytelling components that reflect your personality and help others to connect with your content.
- – Also, don’t forget to share the content created by other people. Sooner or later, they will start doing the same for you. That’s just how LinkedIn communities work.
Building a solid network and creating a strong personal brand should be two key priorities of people looking to enter the tech industry and develop their career in this exciting field.
In the IT sector, it’s the skills, expertise, and knowledge that matter – not the shiny degree from a prestigious university. By becoming an active member of the tech community, sharing your knowledge, and connecting with others, you will set yourself apart and build the career of your dreams.
If you’re looking for more advice about career development in the tech industry, keep a close eye on our blog, where our experts share their insights and tips to help you succeed in your professional life.