Why engaging with tech communities is vital for your career

10 minutes

Networking … connecting with the wider community … making contacts … br...

Networking … connecting with the wider community … making contacts … broadening your horizons. Whatever you call it, there are many reasons to engage with other people in your industry, beyond your current employer and job role. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of connecting with your fellow technology professionals – and find out how (or more accurately, where) you can do so. 


Nothing but upside

Whether you’re a seasoned technology pro, a newbie career seeker or somewhere in between, engaging with the wider tech community delivers very real career benefits:

 You can connect with like-minded professionals who are working or interested in the same fields as you. 

  • You gain a network of contacts who can answer questions and share insights (within the limits of professional confidentiality, of course). 
  • You’ll find it much easier to keep up with industry news (and gossip). 
  • You can learn about cutting-edge fields and new solutions.
  • You gain better access to job opportunities.
  • You can explore entirely new career paths. 
  • You can benefit from the wisdom of more experienced professionals.
  • You’ll sharpen your relationship-building skills. 
  • Plus you can share your own knowledge and help others succeed – and, in the process, establish yourself as a leading expert in your field. 

 Come to think of it, there really aren’t any downsides to expanding your network and engaging with your industry. Therefore, the question isn’t why should you connect with your industry more deeply – but how can you do it? Which brings us to…


Opportunities to make new connections 

Okay, you’re on board. You’re ready to connect with like-minded technology professionals. So where do you go from here? 

 Social media is always a good starting point. LinkedIn is obviously important, but don’t overlook your other social media platforms. Just ensure that your profiles are up-to-date, and have a polished, somewhat professional feel. 

 This doesn’t mean you only ever post in bland ‘corporate speak’ on social media, or only ever talk about technology topics – your followers will want to see your personality shine through. Just maybe don’t post a picture of you in a hungover heap every weekend. And if you’re nervous about sharing too much of yourself online, you can always share articles and posts you enjoyed from others in your industry. You can also comment on relevant posts and articles to contribute to the wider discussion.  

 Tech events are another excellent way to make new connections. This can include face-to-face events such as conferences, expos and networking meetings. But it can also include online events and seminars, such as Roc Search’s “Roc On…” events, which bring tech leaders together to discuss key industry topics. Our most recent event, for example, was a deep dive into the power and promise of AI across multiple industries. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with our future events.

 Do be sure to follow up with people after events. Say how much you enjoyed talking to them, how much you enjoyed their presentation, or how great it was to hear their perspective. You might also keep these folks in mind when you see interesting industry articles and other events in future. A simple ‘I saw this and thought of you’ email can be really thoughtful. 

 Finally, don’t overlook the importance of joining professional organisations. From broad membership organisations, like the IEEE Computer Society, to organisations that serve a particular community, such as Women In Tech, you’re bound to find your perfect fit. Not only will you have the opportunity to connect with fellow members and attend events, stating your membership on your social media profiles demonstrates your expertise. 

 Some industry organisations also run mentorship programmes, which are a great way for professionals to connect with more experienced colleagues. On the flip side, if you’ve got a wealth of experience to pass on, why not consider becoming a mentor? 

 And if you’re struggling to find opportunities to connect with others, you can always make your own opportunities. You could, for example, start your own networking group or social media page.


Some final words of wisdom

Developing relationships takes time, meaning you may not see immediate gains. But that’s okay. This is about building genuine connections that strengthen your position in the industry for the long-haul. It’s not a case of interacting with someone once on social media and then expecting them to put you forward for a job! 

 Building genuine connections basically means putting in the work, showing an interest in people, building trust, and building rapport. All of which requires an investment of your time, but is well worth it. What’s more, you must be willing to contribute to the success of others, share ideas and so on. This is a two-way street, in other words. 

 Want to broaden your professional horizons? Then head to Roc Search. Our expert recruiters can connect you with the best technology opportunities in the UK and beyond.