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28 December 2023 - 5 minutes

Networking in the Tech World: Building Connections for Success

Learn what building deep networking connections is really about. 

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


You’ve probably heard the word networking thrown around quite a lot: in the professional world, networking can seem like an absolutely necessary step when it comes to advancing your career or even landing your first job. Due to the importance placed on it, you may be tempted to friend everyone in your field on LinkedIn or pass your CV around at any sort of tech event, but networking is a bit more complicated than that, and even more so in the tech world. 

We’ve talked about the basics of networking before and the things you should focus on when entering a conversation with a potential connection, but this article will focus on nurturing these connections once they're already made and using them for two key areas: being a good connection to your network and making the most of your connections to advance your career. 

As you can see, networking isn’t just a one-sided thing; you need to nurture and put effort into your connections as well–and that’s one of the best tips we can give you for success. And if you’re not sure how to give back to your connections or be a mentor to incoming techies or those looking to get started in the field, you’re in the right place. This article will cover the basics of networking as well as the key aspects of what being a quality connection is all about. 

What is Networking? 

It’s a word that’s mentioned quite frequently and with reason: networking is the process of making connections and building relationships in the business world. Thanks to social media and the general connectivity of the world, in addition to newly flexible remote work policies, networking is no longer limited to making connections in person and has instead expanded to include sites like LinkedIn, websites, online events, and more. 

This change means that networking has seen quite a few adjustments over the years, transforming from something only done in person in your office or at conferences to something that could take place practically anywhere. You never know when your next connection is going to walk into your life and ensuring you’re ready to lock it down at any point is a crucial part of today’s business world. 

There are a few different kinds of networking and relationships that exist: 

  • Mentee to mentor: in this traditional sense of the word, one part of the connection serves as the mentor and the other as the mentee; this connection is usually sought out by the mentee and is someone who’s interested in a similar career path to what the mentor has chosen. 

  • Colleague to colleague: there doesn’t have to be an experience or age gap between two connections; many professionals seek out connections with people on the same level as them to find new opportunities or get advice from someone else in a similar position. 

Why is networking important? 

We could talk quite a bit about the importance of networking, thanks mainly to its increasingly important role over the last few years. And as we mentioned above, there are two major sides to networking: the benefits you receive and what you can give. So let’s highlight some of the biggest benefits of networking for you as the mentee

  • You can receive valuable career advice: there’s nothing like hearing from someone already in the industry and hearing what it’s really like to dedicate your career to web development or data analytics; by talking to someone who was once in your shoes and has advanced their career over the years, you’ll get a first hand account of the behind the scenes, letting you in on crucial details that would have otherwise slipped by.

  • You can get insider information: have you ever applied for a job just to find that you didn’t meet the requirements of what they were actually looking for? Job listings don’t always paint a perfect picture of what they’re looking for and by knowing someone on the inside, you’ll know what to put on your resume to help it stand out. And, if you’re lucky, you may even be recommended for the role by your connection. 

  • You can discover new paths in your field: tech is incredibly diverse with a large range of career paths from which to choose and from the outside, you may not have a good idea of which ones are available to you based on your skill set. With connections who are already established in the field, however, you can get a better idea of what your options are. 

As a mentor, networking isn’t all about the mentee either; you can also have quite a few benefits from the relationship:

  • You can work on your leadership skills: leadership skills is one of those skills that can be quite hard to master because it’s difficult to get hands on experience; as a mentor, however, you’ll get to put your skills to the test and work on becoming an even better leader–which can then help your career. 

  • You can help transform the next generation of techies: more and more aspiring techies are popping up, either wanting to join directly from university or changing careers to take advantage of all tech has to offer. They are incredibly driven and motivated and as a mentor, you’ll be able to help them learn the necessary skills, answer their questions about being in tech, and serve as their reference throughout their career. 

  • You can expand your reach: your mentees will make connections throughout their careers and if you nurture and develop your connection with them, you’ll be remembered; you can also learn about new opportunities through your mentees, expanding your reach and benefitting from insider knowledge about new skills or open positions. 

As you can see, networking is beneficial–for both parties, as long as the relationship is nurtured and cared for. And that’s exactly what we’re going to cover next: building successful networking connections. 

Building Successful Networking Connections 

Networking isn’t a one and done kind of situation; on the contrary, it’s an effort that you’ll have to make throughout your entire career, focusing on both what you can get out of the connection and what you can give to your counterpart. Regardless of if your connection is someone at the same place in their career as you, just starting out, or experienced, follow these tips and tricks to ensure you’re building successful and deep connections when networking. 

Don’t make it all about you

If there’s one thing you leave this article with, we hope it’s this: networking isn’t just about you and what you can get out of the connection. You will need to be a good connection as well to everyone in your network, helping out when possible or putting them in contact with people who can help their career advance as well. When you initiate a conversation with a potential connection, try to find things you have in common and ask questions, listening intently to what they say. 

Follow up with your connections 

Pay close attention here: we don’t mean follow up when you have a favor you want to ask or want to ask a question for your own benefit; after meeting your connection or first establishing contact, follow up and thank them for their time. 

Here’s the key: your connections don’t exist purely for you to get a benefit out of them; just like a friendship or relationship, you’ll need to nurture it over time and make sure they don’t feel used. Check in periodically to see how they’re doing, if anything has changed professionally, and ensure that they feel valued. 

Go the extra step when possible 

We can’t guarantee that your connections will do exactly what you do to nurture the connection, but we do know that being generous and accessible goes a long way when it comes to networking. If the opportunity presents itself, put your connections in touch with others from your network, suggest fitting job opportunities, or be a resource that they can rely on. 

You’ll see how you’ll be repaid with similar efforts over time. 

Consider creating a networking group

Not all connections are just two sided and many exist as large groups of like-minded individuals looking to learn more and advance in their careers. Get in touch with industry experts and see if a group for your field already exists and if it doesn’t, consider creating your own group where you invite connections to join and share what they know with others. As the leader of the group, you’ll be well-positioned to create valuable connections with everyone and be seen as a driving force in the field. 

Networking doesn’t have to be incredibly complicated and intimidating; it’s a natural process that everyone learns throughout their career and one that you must get familiar with before you truly let your career take off. 

At Ironhack, we know that the next generation of techies may not be familiar with the intricacies of tech networking and that’s why we offer extensive and detailed Career Services throughout all bootcamps, helping students prepare for the professional world from day one. 

If you want to simultaneously launch your tech career and see what’s out there for you professionally, there’s no better place than at Ironhack. 

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