Networking after a Coding Bootcamp: Getting off the couch and into the tech community

By: TJ Kinion-

Networking – the act of meeting with other people for personal or business reasons.

We’ve all heard of networking, many of us have been to events, and people constantly talk about the benefits of it yet for some reason very few people actually go out and do it. Below we’ll cover the basics as well as dive into some tips that we use at LearningFuze to help students get the most out of their networking events. This article is geared towards coding bootcamp students who will be heading out on their post program job search and may not be able to rely on their resume, hopefully others will gain some insight as well.

Why network when I can sit at home in my sweats and apply online?

According to TopResume only 75% of resumes submitted will ever see a human eye and the average corporate job posting receives 250 resumes. As a coding bootcamp student if you feel good with those odds then keep submitting resumes into the black hole. ZipRecruiter and Indeed have done an amazing job of showing us positions that we may have never before, what that also means is that anyone else with internet access can also see them as well.

Another statistic that Indeed and ZipRecruiter hope that you never find is that 70-80% of jobs are never posted publicly. Before spending anywhere from $25-$500 on a job posting and then having to sift through the hundreds of resumes many companies first turn internally and then to networking events to fill open roles. It may seem like a bit more work but your odds of landing a job quickly, and one that you are excited about, drastically improve when you begin networking.

Where can I find these events?

Sites such as Meetup.com, Eventbrite, and LinkedIn Events (currently in beta) all make it extremely easy to find events that would interest you. Whether you are looking for a group of coding newbies to learn with, an upcoming hackathon, or just people to talk Agile with they are all there. In addition to the variety of themes for networking there is also a huge variety of formats. When most people think of networking they picture a conference room with everyone wearing suits. While those formats still exist, so many more have gained popularity over the years; happy hours, panels, Fireside Chats, Lunch and Learns, career fairs, hackathons, leads groups, and the ever present LinkedIn.

If the events are beneficial and easy to find then why don’t more people go?

Most people don’t go to networking events for a number of reasons; they are too busy, they consider themselves an introvert, or the last event they attended wasn’t good. All of these reasons for not going can easily be overcome with some good planning but most important is to first have an open mind. Approach networking events as an opportunity to learn instead of where you will get job offers on the spot and they will quickly become a lot more enjoyable.

Proper prep is also important for networking as it will help avoid most networking misconceptions. Taking a look at the attendee list and seeing what events the group has put on in the past will help you get a better understanding of who will be there and what to expect from the crowd. Setting goals for yourself such as 5 new connections or 1 follow up coffee will make you feel much more productive and thus more likely to return.

I can’t wait to start networking is there anything else I should know?

That’s it for the basics of networking! Simply find an event that you’re interested in, do a bit of research, and go in with an open mind. There are a few more tips and tricks to networking events that we will cover down the line but the biggest thing that holds people back is to get out and get going.

Moving forward we’ll be following up with articles on great events, tips for networking, and the soon to be released Career Services Corner Vlog!