Networking is more than randomly adding people on your LinkedIn profile who you’ll never speak to. That’s where most people go wrong — right at the starting line. Successfully building your network as a software developer can lead to many great things, such as mentorship, opportunities, professional development and career growth.

According to LinkedIn, 79% of people on the platform believe networking is valuable for their career progression, but many lack the time to reach out to their connections. However, to address the elephant in the room, COVID has made networking even more challenging, especially since people relied on in-person events and face to face meetings before the changes.

In fact, another LinkedIn report claims that since the coronavirus pandemic, only 42% of people have reached out to their connections for job opportunities, while only 39% have asked for introductions. Along with this, only 35% introduced themselves to new connections.

To help you improve your network building skills in a virtual world as a software developer, here are our top tips so you can build meaningful relationships.

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Develop a Personal Brand

Despite the challenges, there are so many ways you can build a network in a world where virtual is now the norm. After the pandemic, people are connected online more than ever and as a software developer, building your network is important so you can advance in your career and also find opportunities to learn from each other.

With so many software developers on platforms like LinkedIn, it’s critical to stand out. You want to come across as creative, a thought leader and solution-led. That’s why developing your personal brand can help you network virtually, as it’ll help you come across as someone they need to connect with.

You could create your own website, an online portfolio or even a profile on VanHack, where you can film introduction videos so recruiters can get to know the person behind the profile. It’s also a good idea to use social media networks and follow other developers.

Use Live Chat Features In Virtual Events

Virtual events are more common than in-person events now. Whether it’s for safety reasons or accessibility, virtual events bring a wider pool of people together — some you’d perhaps never have the chance to meet in person otherwise. Rather than relying on speaking to the person next to you or someone you’d cross in the hallway, use the chat box instead.

There’s less pressure to introduce yourself virtually and get to know others. It’s also less intimidating as you don’t need to physically approach somebody. This means you’re more likely to make connections with more people rather than in separate conversations. Plus, if the event is strictly for tech professionals, all of the connections you make will be based on a common interest.

It’s easy to take the first step, too. Some quick actions you can take include:

  • Include your name, what you do, your LinkedIn profile and say you’re happy to connect.
  • Make the introductions short to avoid clogging up chat boxes.
  • Initiative new connection requests in the moment.

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Join Developer Networks

We all know how challenging software development is. It’s why the best way to succeed in it is to have a support system in the form of developer networks. With so many tools, libraries, languages and frameworks available, finding a mentor will help you be even more successful.

Think of these hubs as perfect communities to share knowledge, connect with other software developers and showcase your expertise. These connections will also have similar experiences, failures and successes, so here are our top suggestions for you to check out.

GitHub

GitHub is an amazing community filled with over 40 million people. That means you’ll have plenty of people to learn, share and work with for all software needs. The Community Forum is also an excellent outlet where you can share your thoughts or get involved in interesting discussions.

Check out 5 Steps for creating a great GitHub profile

5 Steps For Creating Your GitHub Profile Like a Pro

Hacker News

Hacker News allows you to post any interesting topic and has grown to become one of the best developer communities where you can get insights from similar people.

Stack Overflow

If you aren’t using Stack Overflow, you need to. Alongside GitHub, it’s the go-to community for any software developer or code enthusiast. Whatever your challenge, no matter how tough, Stack Overflow will have the people who can help. You can also share your knowledge and find the answers to nearly 17 million questions you might have.

Reddit

Reddit is the home of thousands of communities and subreddits. It’s entirely free with plenty of focus on developers and software developers, so there’s always a conversation you can get involved in. Some great subreddits to start with include r/Coding and r/AskProgramming.

Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is a fantastic platform for developers that have huge ideas, questions or need assistance. This open-source community features plenty of tutorials you can browse and lots of tools the developer community has built that you can try out.

CodeProject

Another popular developer community is CodeProject, boasting over 14 million software developers that are dedicated to teaching, learning and enjoying themselves. Getting access to CodeProject will allow you to share code, knowledge and tutorials for no cost with software developers from all over the globe.

Women Who Code

Designed to empower women, Women Who Code is a developer community that features over 200,000 members at every level. Women on this platform will find plenty of coding resources, events and other opportunities while improving their technical skills.

Hashnode

If you’re eager to find a mentor or learn from other software developers from across the world, Hashnode is a great community to join and build your network virtually. You’ll be able to solve real-life issues, showcase your projects and get help from other members of the developer community.

freeCodeCamp

Although freeCodeCamp is designed for those who want to improve or learn code by building projects, it does have a great developer community you can access. It features plenty of insights and you can also connect with developers to build your network in a virtual world.

This list is just the beginning. There are countless other software developer communities you can access to build your network.

  • Arc Community
  • Hackernoon
  • SitePoint Community
  • Kaggle
  • Indie Hackers
  • Code Newbie
  • Dev.to
  • Codementor Community
  • Discord
  • Unity Forum
  • PySlackers
  • Daily UI
  • DevRel Collective
  • Google Developers Groups
  • Webdeveloper.com
  • XDA Developers
  • Java Programming Forums
  • Reactiflux
  • Meteor

Whichever software developer communities sound interesting to you, don’t just sign up and sit back. The best way to build your network is to get involved and establish yourself as a thought leader.

Be a Speaker Or Volunteer

Arguably one of the best ways to build your network in a virtual world as a software developer is to not just attend virtual events as an attendee but speak at them. This move will make you come across as the authority figure in your industry and connect with like-minded tech professionals. 

You could also volunteer if you don’t want to speak. Even as a volunteer, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with people, such as organizers, other volunteers and speakers.

Identify Commonalities with Other Developers

Generic or no messages when connecting with people can see them reject your invitation. There’s every chance other software developers or tech professionals only want to connect with people they have or can have meaningful conversations and discussions with. When you’re trying to connect with people, personalize your messages and explain why you want to connect.

You don’t have to spend hours trying to personalize messages. You could reflect on a memory if you know the person already to naturally begin a conversion, or you could comment on their posts and build your network after the discussion to develop the professional relationship more.

Don’t Be Afraid to Lean On Your Current Network

Remember the LinkedIn stat at the beginning of this article how only 42% of people reach out to their connections for opportunities? Don’t become a part of that 42% of people. Introductions are massive when it comes to building a network, so don’t be afraid to build yours virtually by reaching out to your current connections.

Offer some context and ask if your connections can introduce you to a relevant person who can help you. There’s every chance that introduction can lead to so many more opportunities down the line. In the future, you might be the one people try to connect with, so you can return that favor.

What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

You don’t have a great deal of time to leave a lasting impression. That’s why creating your elevator pitch will be a great first step in making connections and building your network as a Software Developer. It’s a foolproof way to leave a great impression, but it needs to be engaging and thoughtful.

When drafting your elevator pitch, always focus on how it makes you stand out as a software developer. What do you want people to know about you? Why are you a valuable connection? Why should they have a conversation with you? Summarize these points into the perfect elevator pitch for yourself.

Check out some tips on how to craft the perfect elevator pitch:

How to nail the “Tell us about yourself” video

Always Follow Up

Building your network virtually needs to be more than sending a request and never speaking again. The key to sustaining a healthy network is by following up, as it helps build a connection and strengthen the bond you share. By following up, it shows you care, you value their time and respect the relationship you share.

You never know; by connecting and never speaking again, they could remove you as a connection. By following up, you can build lasting relationships with software developers rather than seeing your network numbers fluctuate.

Set Some Goals

If you’re nervous about building your network as a software developer, you don’t need to dive into the deep end right away. Take baby steps and set yourself some goals. A good first goal could be to sign up for software developer communities. The next could be to post your first post or to start a conversation.

Another goal could be to send five personalized messages when making five valuable connections. As you take these small steps, you’ll get more and more comfortable interacting with others. Eventually, delivering your elevator pitch and sharing your website will feel completely natural to you. The more you do this, the more confident you’ll be. 

Always Be Active

Building your network as a Software Developer requires a lot of time and effort. You can’t sit back and expect you’ll build connections with hundreds or thousands of software developers from nowhere. To build connections, you have to get out of your shell, make the first move and start conversations with as many software developers as possible.

It might be uncomfortable at first, but ultimately it’s rewarding and builds up your self esteem and confidence. By possessing these skills, you’ll be able to build connections easier and that can lead to growth and better opportunities.

We can’t emphasize enough just how important it is to constantly build your network. It’s a great way to grow in your career, but you’ll also find opportunities to learn from other software developers who might have useful insights.

Another way to find excellent opportunities is by signing up for the VanHack platform.

 

Find Your Dream Software Developer Job With VanHack

At VanHack, it’s our aim to match the best software developers and tech talent with the right organization. To do that, you can create your profile and record short introduction videos so recruiters can get to know you before they even speak to you.

We also offer some amazing free services, such as English verification so employers can see what your communication skill are like and also code challenges, so you can stand out from other candidates by highlighting where your skills lie.

Not only that, but we also help with interview preparation, visas and the relocation process to make your dream move go as seamlessly as possible. If that wasn’t enough, we also created the VanHack Premium Academy for more expert tips, advice and insights. To find your next dream opportunity, get started with VanHack today.

🌎 VANHACK, LinkedIn Talent Awards Winner 2021, is Canada’s most respected recruitment company. With more than 1,700 hires, VanHack is on a mission of increasing diversity and creating a borderless world. So if you are a software developer looking for a job abroad, in Canada, the US, or Europe, join VanHack today. 100% free for candidates, plus you will get all the preparation you need when your profile is shortlisted.

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