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Handmade Network»Forums»Career Advice
19 posts
How to appoach networking?
Edited by SIMPalaxy on Reason: Initial post
Do you just start putting stuff up on github? What's your story on how you got to know the people who got you into the work you are doing now?

Anything to watch out for?
70 posts
Professional programmer, working in the video games industry since 2012
How to appoach networking?

I've been thinking about your question, and I think in my case, I've never consciously networked. I've juste applied to a job, worked with the people there, and kept going from there, having more and more people knowing about my skills and the way I work.

For me, it began after, straight out of computer engineering school, I wanted to find my first job in a video game company. Since I didn't have professional experience related to video games - I made most of my apprenticeship in web development because that's where there are the most jobs, and video game companies are pretty much ignorant of apprenticeship - , and since most job offers have unrealistic experience requirements,I did apply to a job that required candidates less qualified than I was (Actually I didn't realize when applying because it was not the impression I had when reading the job description, I only understood it involved Lua scripting :p ) After 2 months and a half doing this, I began to do "actual" programming in the same company.

After that, it's a matter of communication with the teams. Some will become friends and won't lose any occasion of recommanding you to some other employer if they can, some will try to help you after you leave even if you have hardly worked with them, and others will forget you as soon as you leave even if you had been working together daily.

My github is pretty much empty, and LinkedIn never helped me to land a job (except maybe some employers watched the recommandations I had?).

I guess in my case, getting a degree helped. If you're self-educated, I believe shipping anything would help a lot, even if it looks amateurish. And if you join a team of hobbyists to do that, that can be a first step to networking :)
19 posts
How to appoach networking?
Thank you so much for the response and sharing your experience. I've been learning a lot during the last few months about submerging myself into the working culture and it seems like your experience matches that as well. I'll take your advice about trying to meet people outside of work as well to start getting to know people.

(Sorry for the late reply, I've been away from the internet for a while.)
Ted Bendixson
28 posts / 2 projects
I make apps and games for Mac OS and iOS. Creator of Mooselutions and Skate Dice. Avid terrain park snowboarder. Charlottesville, VA.
How to appoach networking?
It all depends on your goals. What are you trying to do? Who do you want to reach? What kind of impression do you want to make?

If you're just trying to get a job and make some money in the software industry, you might be surprised at just how effective the "shotgun" approach actually is. By just blindly applying to five jobs a day for a month straight, I ended up getting a few offers. Believe it or not, cold emailing and applying to jobs is a form of networking. It isn't the most effective or targeted, but the results speak for themselves. I wouldn't have gotten my last two jobs if I hadn't simply cold emailed and applied for them.

Of course, when you're getting into other forms of networking, it gets more challenging. Maybe the person you want to influence doesn't have a role available and they don't have any particular reason to be interested in you. In that circumstance, you need to give them a reason to be interested, and that's much much harder. You actually have to make something or contribute something unique and of value that they might consider remarkable. I only have some vague ideas of how to go about this.

Back in 2011, I wanted to get the attention of some pro skiers / snowboarders, so I made an app that generates random tricks for them to try. Before I did this, I was basically a nobody in the sport. I was "good" at snowboarding. I had some tricks I could do. But I wasn't known for anything, and I didn't really have a reason to talk to the pros.

The app changed that. They could promote my product. I could "sponsor" them and give them a cut of the sales. They could appear in the videos and their sponsors could pay them for the publicity it generated. Suddenly, people had a reason to talk to me, and it felt good to be a part of something.

I think so much of the "networking" advice you hear is just total garbage. Just do something noteworthy and the networking will follow. Don't be that sleazy person trying to connect with the most people on Twitter. Talk to a few people, deeply, about the things they're interested in, one person at a time.
19 posts
How to appoach networking?
Talk to a few people, deeply, about the things they're interested in, one person at a time.

I had an opportunity to do a lot of this at Handmade Seattle, it was definitely worth it, and I definitely recommend people looking to get to know people working on the projects you apreciate the most at these kinds of events.

Thanks as well for your story about working on an app to help out other people working doing your hobbies, better to try to break ground applying what you know to the area you are already in/interested in being in but after actually submerging yourself into that culture for a while. I think even psychologically, it was really important for me to meet, in person, the people working in my field of interest, to affirm that they exist in real life and actually do said work for a living. Knowing that makes working towards that more mentally sustainable, and makes the next steps towards networking a bit more straightforward once you know the ins and outs of what people are looking for and need from people joining the industry.