Networking Tips To Find A Job


Also, be sure and avoid any groups that seem to be unfriendly to outsiders, disorganized, flaky with their schedule, and the like. Having a consistent group to work with will greatly increase your odds of success, while an inconsistent, unfriendly, or disorganized group is an excellent way to ruin your enthusiasm and waste your time.

When attending a group, you need to make an effort to network with the people there. While there are entire books available on suitable networking techniques, networking for software developers is much easier than the sort of networking required for things like sales. Mainly, you need to introduce yourself to the other people in the meetup, paying particular attention to people that you don’t already know. In general, this works better if you try to find out what people are doing, rather than trying to explain what you are doing. In the early days, you’ll learn more on average by finding out what someone does and asking questions than you will by describing what you are doing and then asking questions.

When you leave, take time to write down appropriate details about the people you met, along with connecting to them on professional social media such as LinkedIn. When you are looking for work at some point in the future, you’d be surprised how often some random person that you met at a meetup group will be the one that tells you about a possible job. The first job is really the hardest to get in this industry, and having a good, established network is critical if you currently don’t have a long history of successful projects in a professional environment. Even for experienced developers, regular cultivation of a personal network is extremely useful for finding better jobs.

Open Source Projects

Another option if you are unable to attend face-to-face meetups (or if you wish to supplement that effort) is to participate in open source projects. It’s a fairly trivial effort with most search engines to find a list of open source projects in whatever language or platform you want to use. Open source is a practice that is here to stay and is a great way to get some exposure to people that might want to hire you, but you do need to pick a tool that is likely to be used in the sort of environment in which you hope to work.

However, there are few open source projects (or software projects in general) that are as straightforward and simple as the sort of projects you do while learning a new language. Actual production-level open source projects tend to use more advanced concepts like plug-in models, dependency injection, automated testing, and build scripts. As a result, it can be difficult to find something to contribute that is both useful and that you are capable of completing without annoying the project maintainers.

Instead of trying to make major changes to the software, fix bugs or even write documentation, probably the easiest thing you can do is to find the bug list for the project and investigate a few of them. You can then point out your findings on the discussion thread for the bug in question. This is a fairly low-impact way to build some rapport with the project maintainers. After doing this for a while and building up some understanding of the codebase, you might be able to contribute to the project by fixing small cosmetic bugs or by writing documentation.

In addition, if you have a working blog (as described a bit later), you can also write tutorials on using the open source tool there. While not part of the official project documentation, well-written personal blog posts can still help establish you as a knowledgeable resource. Even though you may be eager to get started, don’t rush the process of jumping into open source at an early stage. You’ll make a far better impression with the project maintainers by a measured, long-term approach than you will by trying to jump in and fix everything from the start. While this seems counterintuitive, you must remember that the maintainers for an open source project are responsible for the stability of the project over the long term. As a result, they are frequently reticent to allow new developers to simply jump in and make changes, especially when those developers don’t have a consistent track record.

It takes a while, but a good track record with open source can really help set the stage for a successful interview, especially if the interviewing company uses that product (or something similar to it). If you show yourself to be experienced with the software, the interviewer will expect you to be more knowledgeable and will probably treat you differently than they would a brand new developer without experience. In particular, this tends to make the interviewer start trying to determine what you know, rather than what you do not. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but it can really change the character of the interview.

Open source contributions can also help you get the attention of potential employers. This can result in the employer reaching out to you about an open position, rather than you approaching them. This also significantly helps the tone of the interview since they reached out to you.

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