When it comes to technology, other than developing your skills, you also need to connect with more people and build long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. Tech communities help you to bridge that gap between your skills and your ability to network. 

You gain hands-on experience only when you interact with professionals and peers who have the same interests as you. Tech communities help in fostering that interest in you and also help in providing a platform to improvise your ideas and solutions. Every tech community begins as a closed and an informal one with a vision to help their members grow and upskill themselves through a series of events. Hence it provides us with an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow together.

Machine Learning

Data Science

Artificial Intelligence

These are some of the buzzwords that we often hear today and it so happens that there is a tech community for every one of them. Along with building your skills, it is equally important to build the right network. In these aspects, tech communities provide the right environment to network and collaborate with like-minded people. To get started, all you need to do is to just come out of your shell and try to take part in the activities organized by such tech communities.

Finding a tech community is as easy as a pie these days. Since several tech communities are built to share mutually beneficial resources, they happen to have a strong online presence on social media platforms like Meetup.com or LinkedIn. Be it a tech club in your college or an online meetup, each experience adds on to your skillset.

Read on to find out how to learn and network in a tech community.

  1. Attend events

 Did you happen to find a technical conference/ workshop/ meetup that is hosted by your favorite tech community?

Attend them!

Attending an event hosted by a tech community is the first step to start getting involved actively. It is okay if you are going there alone. As long as you don’t shy away, it is fine. Keep yourself engaged by attending such events and try to learn from them. Summarize the key takeaways and share them with your friends. Eventually, you will be able to establish a rapport with fellow tech enthusiasts.

  1. Connect beforehand

Have you been awarded a scholarship to attend an international tech conference?

Reach out to fellow attendees through LinkedIn. Use and follow relevant hashtags and keep yourself updated about the upcoming conferences you are going to attend.

Initial introductions break the ice and help you to be a part of a thriving community. This approach can be extended to any technical event that you attend.

  1. Build your network

Your network is your valuable asset. Tech communities go way beyond just meeting and sharing resources. They also turn out to be hotspots for potential recruiters. So networking in the right way is the key to land your dream job.

Here are a few pointers to build a meaningful network.

  • Start slowly.
  • Do not jump in and get straight to the point.
  • Start with a personal introduction and then move on to your interests.
  • Be polite and pleasant.
  • Listen to what others have to say as well.
  • Follow up with the people you met.
  1. Volunteer

Organizers have a lot on their hands. From booking a spot to handling the refreshments – planning an event is an arduous task. Once you start actively participating in the community, reach out and help them.

It can be anything from distributing refreshments to designing event posters to clearing a few doubts during a session, each of them counts.

Volunteering is fun!

There is no denying this fact. You get close to others when you work together. Volunteering is 100 times more effective than a normal networking session. So start volunteering for a tech community that interests you.

  1. Be active in chat groups

A lot of tech communities have exclusive Slack, Whatsapp, or Discord groups. Try to take part in the discussions that happen in these groups. A chat group helps you in finding the right partners for a project and also helps in getting your queries answered.

  1. Follow up 

A tech community is just a platform to network. Once you meet people and exchange contact details, you will have to follow up with them. There is no point in collecting hundreds of contact numbers only to not contact them later.

Here are a few must-do things to maintain steady contact with people:

  • Connect with fellow attendees through LinkedIn.
  • Email a few of the fellow attendees telling them how you enjoyed the event.
  • Schedule periodic virtual meetups to stay in touch.
  • Follow up within 1-2 days.
  • Try not to ask for a favor in your first follow up email.

By following these pointers, you will surely be able to effectively learn and network in a tech community.

Now that you have spent your time and effort in joining a community and worked hard in contributing to it, an essential question arises,

Is it worth our effort?

The answer is going to be a Yes. The benefits of joining a tech community are plenty:

  • They help in broadening your opportunities.
  • They help you to meet your potential recruiters.
  • They help you to find the right partners for the project you are working on.
  • They help you to learn from expert professionals.
  • They help you to find your interest.
  • They help you to upskill yourself.
  • You are updated about the latest trends happening in that particular field.

And the list goes on!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do much.”

  • Hellen Keller

Sometimes you need hours to solve a certain problem. However, it could be easily solved when discussed collectively. Tech communities help you in building your personal brand. By being an active participant, you are effectively demonstrating your leadership and management skills, teamwork, and work ethics in front of a large gathering of professionals and tech enthusiasts.

So, try to become an active participant in a tech community and use the knowledge you gained to help others!!

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