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#1 thatnewdreamer  Icon User is offline

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How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 16 February 2014 - 08:58 PM

I've been out of work thanks to a layoff for 6 months now. I want to be an entry-level applications developer/programmer within a company, but the last job I had was just a junior version of that which dealt with an obscure language. My skills in relevant languages going into that job were about the same as they were coming out. I've been trying to learn more about programming (to fill the gaps I missed in college) so that I can build a portfolio to show off to employers. I still feel like I'm way off from that point though. Aside from that, I've been applying to jobs online, because I know no other way. I've gotten a few interviews, but they never went past non-technical interview questions.

I only said all the above to answer questions you guys my have when I ask this: how do I network in the industry of computer programming when I have nothing built from before? My previous co-workers can only help for references. Beyond that, I only know college professors in the IT arena. They can't offer much help beyond critiquing my resume. My area (physical location) isn't good for programming jobs unless you have a ton of experience already. I would have moved to a better area if I could've afforded it. The thing is, applying for jobs online is (in most cases) like throwing your resume into a black hole. Especially since I'm applying to places 1-3 towns away most times. I've pumped hours into new cover letters and such only to hear nothing back. This is indeed the most ineffective method to find a job. It took 7 months to find a job like this fresh out of college, and now it's taken just as much fresh out of my last job. I don't know how else to do it though.

I wanted to ask about this, because even when I get a new job, I don't know how I would network from there. I had my last job for close to a year and a half, and didn't do any there.

You can take your time responding to this. This isn't an emergency; I'm living fine off my emergency fund until I find a job. It's just angering me that I don't have the first clue how to do things outside of job boards.

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Replies To: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 16 February 2014 - 09:29 PM

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how do I network in the industry of computer programming when I have nothing built from before?

Linkedin... go to user group meetings.. attend free seminars.. etc. Depending on the area you should find these to degrees.. and if they don't have them in your area then think about making a monthly group for some language or just programming in general..
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:45 PM

"Networking" isn't really a thing. It's just talking to people.
Calling it "networking" and asking how to do it just suggests you're trying too hard - kind of like people who pay people money to find them people to date. Just live in the world, take your blinders off, and talk to people and see what happens. Probably what happens won't be what you're looking for, but probably it'll be better than that, at least some of the time.
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#4 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:00 AM

Not really in the industry, but could be helpful I suppose.

I'm a high school student and we were doing projects for AP Biology and i'm making a fish harvesting game. I had a student teacher and I talked to her and she helped me meet with a professor at UGA and now I'm going to be working this summer on it at the university.

I guess key of the story is talk to people you know to expand and talk to other people you don't know.
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#5 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:50 AM

Make friends and allies in the industry. I have a number of friends - that is, people I regularly hang out with - who are in various roles in the industry. Their positions range from level 1 tech support on up to help desk director, programmers, project managers, business analysts, and so forth. If you don't have common interests that could make you friends, at least make allies - that is, people who you have a strong professional relationship with. My former boss and I are like that - he and I use eachother as references, and have a lot of respect for eachother. We don't often hang out, but we make a point to have dinner once every few months with our other associates.

Beyond that - get on LinkedIn. Start up a profile there. You wouldn't believe the number of recruiters who contact me - at least one a week - because of my LinkedIn profile. Don't be afraid of head hunters - a number of large companies only do contract-to-hire for entry level roles. That said, endorse people, get them to endorse you. Do free small-scale projects for them to build your portfolio. I have a few websites I've built that I show off.

Other than that, be a good employee/coworker. Ask your former boss for a letter of recommendation, ask him if he knows of anyone looking for your skillset - you'd be surprised, he may.
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#6 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:56 AM

View Postthatnewdreamer, on 16 February 2014 - 10:58 PM, said:

I only know college professors in the IT arena. They can't offer much help beyond critiquing my resume.

Yeah, they don't hire employees.

View Postthatnewdreamer, on 16 February 2014 - 10:58 PM, said:

I want to be an entry-level applications developer/programmer within a company
...
My area (physical location) isn't good for programming jobs unless you have a ton of experience already.


This might be your issue here. You can't force work to exist. It could be what you are looking for, just doesn't exist. Thus why no matter how many hours you invest into a cover letter, you are not the best fit for the job.
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#7 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 09:09 AM

headhunters
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#8 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:31 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 18 February 2014 - 08:56 AM, said:

View Postthatnewdreamer, on 16 February 2014 - 10:58 PM, said:

I want to be an entry-level applications developer/programmer within a company
...
My area (physical location) isn't good for programming jobs unless you have a ton of experience already.


This might be your issue here. You can't force work to exist. It could be what you are looking for, just doesn't exist. Thus why no matter how many hours you invest into a cover letter, you are not the best fit for the job.
This is a good point. Dreamer, have you considered moving to find that job? Post out and note that you're willing to relocate (if you are) and you may see better results.
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#9 thatnewdreamer  Icon User is offline

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:04 PM

While I mentioned before that I don't have the money to move, I'm also nervous about moving to a new area. I guess the second thing could subside though, if things don't pick up.
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#10 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How did you guys network within the IT industry?

Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:13 PM

Many companies will relocate the right person. And even if you don't find someone who will pay your moving, you're still probably better off getting to a place where you can find work, even if it means finding a way to make that move. If you have family and kids, I understand that the move is logistically pretty difficult, so in that case you might want to look into consulting. There are plenty of mediocre programmers who make a living by getting on a plane and going to a company that needs a particular skill right now, and solving their problems. If you're mediocre, this means you're qualified. If you're better than mediocre, this means you're still qualified, and this can get you through to the next gig.
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