Networking Tips for Newcomers in Tech

Tech Career Hub
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
June 4, 2024
networking event

Networking is key for tech newcomers, offering job opportunities, mentorship, and industry insights. Learn best practices on how to network in the tech industry.

If you’re on a job search, seeking new opportunities, or simply hoping to expand your connections within the tech community, networking is an obvious must-do.

But while the idea of networking may sound fun (and come easily) to others, for many it’s a daunting experience.

Building connections is essential for career growth, especially in the tech industry — and with practice, you can become a skilled networker, opening yourself up to finding job opportunities, and gaining industry insights.

Whether you’re attending an in-person event or leveraging online platforms, we’ve broken down some essential tech networking tips to help you make meaningful connections as you grow in you tech career.

First, let’s discuss why networking is more important today than it has ever been for both current and aspiring tech professionals.

The importance of networking in the tech industry

Networking is crucial for newcomers to the tech industry because it opens doors to opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden.

Building a strong network can lead to referrals for job offers, collaborations on exciting projects, and mentorship from seasoned professionals – and that network will come in handy as you attempt to fill job openings at some of the world’s biggest tech companies (like Microsoft, Google, Apple, or other FAANG-adjacent organizations).

Recently, it feels like the job market is up one day and down the next. Roles in software development and software engineering feel somewhat “up in the air” as of late, as rapid advances in AI and shrinking hiring budgets threaten tech jobs across the board. For entry- and mid-level talent, leveraging networking strategies and networking platforms is pivotal to building new connections that can possibly lead to those next opportunities that are out there, but feel somewhat out of reach.

Networking also allows you to gain insights into industry trends, learn about emerging technologies, and receive advice tailored to your career goals. Moreover, networking helps you establish your presence and authority in the industry. In an industry as dynamic and fast-paced as tech, having a robust network is invaluable for both personal and professional growth.

How to network in tech: 10 best practices for newcomers

1. Start with a Strong Online Presence

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the go-to platform for professional networking in the tech industry. Ensure your profile is up-to-date with a professional photo, a compelling headline, and a detailed summary. Highlight your skills, experiences, and any tech-related projects you've worked on.

Engage in Relevant Online Communities

Join groups and forums related to your tech interests. Platforms like GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Reddit have vibrant communities where you can contribute, ask questions, and network with other professionals. Participating in discussions can help you establish your presence and connect with like-minded individuals.

2. Attend Industry Events and Conferences

Take Advantage of Tech Meetups

Local tech meetups are a great way to meet professionals in your area face-to-face. Websites like list numerous tech-related events. Attend them regularly to build relationships with other attendees and stay updated on industry trends.

Participate in Hackathons

Hackathons are excellent opportunities to work on projects with other tech enthusiasts. They provide a collaborative environment where you can showcase your skills, learn from others, and network with potential employers or collaborators. Whether you’re in (or interested in getting into) computer science, cybersecurity, software development, or software engineering, there are hackathons for nearly every vertical of tech.

Go to Tech Conferences

Major tech conferences, like CES, Web Summit, and SXSW, are networking events as much as they are learning opportunities. These events attract industry leaders, startups, recruiters, and professionals from around the world. Attend workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions to meet and learn from industry experts.

3. Develop Your Networking Skills

Master the Art of Small Talk

Effective networking often begins with small talk. Practice discussing current trends in technology, recent advancements, or even non-work-related topics to break the ice. Being approachable and showing genuine interest in others can leave a lasting impression. Never lead with the fact that you’re in the market for a new job — it comes off as disingenuous.

Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a concise summary of who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for. It should be brief but informative enough to spark interest. Practice your pitch until you can deliver it confidently and naturally at any of the networking opportunities you find yourself in.

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4. Follow Up and Stay Connected

Exchange Contact Information

Always have business cards handy, and don’t be afraid to ask for others. You can also be ready to exchange LinkedIn profiles with people you meet, ensuring that you can stay in touch after the initial meeting.

Send a Follow-Up Message

After meeting someone, send a follow-up message within 24 hours. Mention something specific from your conversation to jog their memory and express your interest in staying connected. This helps reinforce the connection and opens the door for future interactions.

5. Leverage Social Media

Engage with Content

Follow industry leaders, hiring managers, and companies on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Engage with their content by liking, commenting, and sharing. This not only keeps you informed about the latest trends but also makes you visible to others in the industry.

Share Your Work and Achievements

Don’t hesitate to share your accomplishments, projects, and insights on social media. Showcasing your work can attract attention from employers, potential partnerships, and mentors. It’s a great way to build your personal brand and demonstrate your expertise.

6. Be Genuine and Authentic

Build Genuine Relationships

Focus on building authentic relationships rather than just collecting contacts or seeking referrals. Show genuine interest in others' work and offer help when you can. Meaningful connections are more likely to lead to valuable opportunities and collaborations.

Be Yourself

Authenticity goes a long way in networking. Be honest about your goals, experiences, and what you’re looking for. People appreciate sincerity and are more likely to remember and support you if you’re genuine.

7. Seek Mentorship and Offer Help

Find a Mentor

A mentor can provide invaluable guidance, support, and industry insights. Look for experienced professionals who are willing to share their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for mentorship; many people are happy to help newcomers in the industry.

Offer Your Assistance

Networking is a two-way street. Be open to helping others, whether it’s through sharing your knowledge, offering feedback on a project, or making introductions. Building a reputation as someone who is helpful and collaborative can open many doors in the tech industry.

See also: 6 Reasons People Are Afraid to Change Careers (and How to Overcome Them)

8. Stay Informed and Keep Learning

Keep Up with Industry Trends

The tech industry evolves rapidly. Stay informed about the latest trends, technologies, and best practices by reading industry blogs, listening to podcasts, and attending webinars. Being knowledgeable makes you a valuable conversation partner and enhances your credibility.

Continuously Improve Your Skills

Invest in your education and skill development. Take online courses, earn certifications, and work on personal projects. The more skills and knowledge you have, the more valuable you’ll be to your network.

9. Know When to Turn to Professionals

Consider a Coding Bootcamp or Training Program

Coding bootcamps like App Academy build networking into their curriculum. Students learn from professional, seasoned career coaches how to build and utilize their online presence, how to talk with recruiters, and how to leverage referrals as tools of their networking strategy. These skills equally important to the technical coding acumen students build in our programs.

10. Practice Patience and Persistence

Know That Networking Takes Time

Building a strong network doesn’t happen overnight. It requires time, effort, and patience. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep putting yourself out there, and over time, you’ll build a robust and valuable network.

Follow Up Regularly

Maintain your connections by checking in regularly. Send a message to see how they’re doing, share interesting articles, or congratulate them on their achievements. Regular communication helps keep relationships strong and active.

Learn the industry’s trade tech networking tips at App Academy

Networking in the tech industry can seem intimidating at first, but with the right approach and mindset, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. By optimizing your online presence, attending industry events, developing your networking skills, and building genuine relationships, you’ll be well on your way to creating a strong professional network. Remember, the key to successful networking is to be genuine, patient, and proactive. Happy networking!

If you're looking for a comprehensive program that not only enhances your technical skills but also helps you develop essential networking abilities, App Academy is renowned for its rigorous coding bootcamps, but it also places a strong emphasis on networking and career readiness.

With our robust support system, industry connections, and career services, we at App Academy prepare you to succeed in the tech industry by equipping you with both the technical expertise and the networking savvy needed to thrive.


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