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Developer's Guide To Effective Networking

Take A Course

No matter what your skill level is there is always something out there new to learn. Now, you can take a course to get better at development, but if the goal is to grow your network there is a much more effective tactic when taking a course to maximize the chance of building new connections.

Take courses adjacent to development. Design, product management, sales, you get it. The goal here is two fold.
  1. You now have a valuable skill that other developers looking for the same role as you won't have.
  2. You get to interact and build relationships with people who do not have the technical depth that you do and you can share that and set yourself apart in these communities as well.

The key to achieving both of these goals is to make sure you find a course with a community or cohort aspect. These communities are where the relationships grow.

You get to inject the work you share with your technical skill set while assisting and working with other who don't have that background.

Then what happens when the 20 marketers find out their company is hiring and they actually know a developer they got to know from a course they took on marketing?

Think this sounds like a bit of a stretch? Let me take you on a walk down memory lane for my first development role ever.

The power of cross-functional skill-sets

Now this is a story all about how...just kidding, but it is a story that underscores the benefits of taking courses in different skill sets. If you remember, my early story was about deciding to switch gears in my career and delve into digital design, but after freelancing for about a year, I ran into a bit of a problem.

I'd pour all of this effort into creating designs that matched my clients' vision, and I took pride in. However, I didn't like the part where I had to hand off my designs to someone else to bring them to life, and it felt like something was missing.

  • I missed seeing my designs become a reality
  • I noticed that some of the finer details often got lost in translation
  • Plus, I saw an opportunity to both charge higher fees and save clients money by handling both design and development

With this realization, I decided to learn web development.

Fast forward to completing my web development course. I was about to propose to my now-wife, who happened to be an elementary school teacher. Her job was pretty location-dependent, and my current job didn't offer remote work options. However, with my newfound design and development skills, I saw a chance to work remotely. So, I started browsing job listings and stumbled upon a social media post from the company where I had taken my development course. They were looking for a remote design teaching assistant for a part-time position.

I thought it could be a stepping stone to something more stable that would allow me to leave my current job. So, I decided to give it a shot.

During the initial interview, the Head of Instructors surprised me by saying I wasn't quite the right fit for the teaching assistant role. I was a bit taken aback and asked why. She replied:

When you were in our development course a few months back, we passed your projects around the company because they were so much better than what we usually saw. You're actually overqualified for a TA position. Would you be interested in becoming the other teacher for the course?"

I was genuinely shocked. I hadn’t given it a second thought at the time. I was feeling so terrible at the development work I figured, at least I could make them look good lol.

I accepted the job offer, and that same person later sponsored my transition to the development team, where I spent the first seven and very foundational years of my career.

So, what's the takeaway here? By exploring new skills and taking courses, you can use your existing talents to stand out and connect with people who genuinely appreciate what you bring to the table.

Pros & Cons

  • Natural method for having conversations
  • Build connections in an niche you enjoy spending time
  • Builds expertise in a community
  • You get experience sharing your work
  • Requires consistent engagement early on otherwise you lose momentum
  • Requires extra research or effort if lacking in technical skill

Tips & Tricks

  • 👉Create a very recognizable avatar and stick with it
  • 👉You can niche down further and become a subject matter expert
  • 👉You don't need all the answers. Authentically working through a problem together is just a effective of a way to build connections
  • 👉Document common questions and problems in the community and use that to kickstart a blog or social posts

I hope you enjoyed

There is a lot more coming...

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