Whether you’re just starting your IT career, perpetually stuck somewhere in the middle, or at the top of your game, networking can take you to new heights. If you’re a novice networker, don’t let it intimidate you. Communication is a key soft skill that every professional should attempt to master. If you don’t see the value in developing a professional network, don’t be so closed-minded. Lasting, personal relationships are a cornerstone of the human experience. When you spend a significant portion of your life participating in and developing your career, it’s only natural that some of these important relationships will be centered on business. But why is it important to develop a professional network?
1) Mentoring relationships: When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to be in awe of the talented techies that work above you. One day, with the right amount of effort, talent and luck, you could become one of the big wigs like they are. That’s why the mentoring relationships are so important in your early development. When you’re just starting out in tech, it’s easy to be pretty green about what it takes to make it to a senior developer, architect, manager or even CTO role. Forging a professional friendship with one or more IT professionals who have your dream job can help you set realistic expectations for your career advancement and you’ll get inside tips about which soft skills you’ll need to develop in order to get there. Similarly, once you reach that coveted senior level role, you’ll want to share your experiences. You’ll have the opportunity to become a mentor and realize it’s more than a one-way relationship. In fact, mentees often bring innovative ideas and unbridled passion that can refresh and inspire you.
2) Finding a job: Whether it means getting into a company who rarely ever hires from outside sources or simply having your resume placed at the top of the pile, networking can go a long way when you’re on the job hunt. If you have connections in IT sprinkled throughout the professional world, chances are you know someone who knows someone who’s hiring. Maybe you have a connection that wants to work with you and is willing to convince their boss to hire you! Whatever the circumstance, networking provides numerous advantages when you’re ready to make a career move.