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Networking in Tech: Why Your IT Career Might Depend on It

by Javier Ceide

August 21, 2018


tech job opportunity

Did you know 80% of job openings are never published? Often, the best IT opportunities for your career path are hidden, invisible to you unless you know who to ask. That’s why networking in tech is so important. It connects you with unique opportunities and relieves the pain of vetting jobs from recruiters who are unfamiliar with your skill set. Luckily, there are many networking opportunities available to today’s tech pros.

Networking in Person

For many, nothing can replace looking someone in the eyes and giving a strong handshake. When seeking out other professionals in person, consider:

Conferences: These events often have ice breakers and time set aside specifically for networking with other attendees. Nearly everyone there is looking to connect with others and they are great ways to learn more about trends in the tech industry. Conferences exist for countless IT niches and can be found all over the country, with many repeating yearly.


Coworkers: You interact with your coworkers every day, and each one of them has a deep network that they can connect you with. Work towards building genuine relationships with your colleagues. If you spend most of your time working remotely, it just means making more of an effort to interact with those in your company or with other remote workers in public working spaces.

Meetups and User Groups: There are millions of meetups across the world, with nearly 850,000 dedicated to information technology. Along with a great number of user groups, it’s easy to find a meeting that matches your skill set and interests so you can connect with others.


Hackathons: For tech pros, these can be fun ways to meet new people in exciting settings. You don’t even have to be competing to reap the networking benefits. Chatting with other spectators during the event or with participants before and after are excellent opportunities for professional conversation that turns into a professional connection.

Digital Networking

At the same time, it’s important to remember this is 2018. We live in an increasingly digital world where it’s becoming the norm to work with someone for months, or even years, without meeting them in person. In addition to networking in person, focus on making digital professional connections:


LinkedIn: It’s essential to maintain an active LinkedIn profile if you’re looking to progress your IT career. 38% of the platform’s users find it hard to stay in touch with their networks, and that’s because developing quality connections takes more than just uploading a picture and resume. LinkedIn requires spending time on a regular basis to cultivate a network and engage with others on the platform. While it may seem time-consuming on the surface, it pays off when one of your connections leads you to your next great IT job.

Message Boards and Online Communities: There are many websites and forums outside of social media that provide a digital platform for connecting with others. Seek out ones relevant to you, and interact with them often. Don’t be afraid to jump into the comments section of the tech articles you read each day, as an online acquaintance turned LinkedIn contact increases your network.


Virtual Hackathons and Conferences: While many hackathons and conferences are held in person, there are virtual ones as well. If you’ve found a cool tech event happening across the country, check to see if there’s an option to dial into a real-time video feed. If not, many upload presentations afterward where you can find plenty of industry names to connect with further.

Outside-the-Box Networking

If you’re going to give networking your all, it will require networking anywhere and everywhere. It’s a best practice to connect with people from different backgrounds and industries, so be diverse in your networking. Think about places outside the tech industry where you can meet new people.

Consider volunteering for a church, soup kitchen, or other local charity. Get out into your community and pick up some social hobbies such as participating in exercise classes, a bowling league, or book club. You never know when a person you meet will know a company hiring for the exact role you’ve been looking for, so keep business cards in your back pocket.

Branding Yourself

No matter where you find a networking opportunity, it’s necessary to craft a distinct personal brand so you’re never left unsure of what to say to a new acquaintance. Let people know who you are, what you’re currently doing, and what you’d like to be doing in your next opportunity. Engage with that person in a genuine two-way conversation to solidify the connection. As long as you can briefly summarize your skill set in a succinct elevator pitch and, importantly, stay in contact with that person, you will have a new avenue for finding a future tech job.

Networking in Tech: Why Your IT Career Might Depend on It

When over 70% of jobs are found through networking, there’s no question it should be an essential part of your IT career. A new contact might know of that unpublished opportunity you’ve been waiting for, but they can only tell you about it if you meet them first. After all, the person you connect with today can be your ticket to your dream job tomorrow.

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