Communities and Networking

May 28, 2019

Communities and Networking

By Brandan Merrick, A+, Network+, MCP, MCSA – 

One of the things we encourage our students to do here at Empire College is to set up a LinkedIn account and connect with their teachers and fellow students. Why do we do this? Because networking is a very useful tool for your career. This is true no matter what field you’re in.

The best jobs are found through word of mouth or direct recommendation. Every hiring manager wants to hire someone who will be good at the job, right? Your resume may look good, but the word of someone they trust will outweigh what’s on a piece of paper.

The people you keep in touch with can be some of your best resources as well, not just for jobs, but for knowledge or skills that you may need help with down the road.

Is LinkedIn your only resource?

No, of course not! LinkedIn is just one example of a general professional networking community. As an IT professional, there are any number of online communities and resources available to you. Some of the most common ones, such as TechNet or Tech Republic, will give you access to evaluation software and/or white papers that will help you continue your education. There are communities for many specialties as well; a couple examples might be PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) or WITI (Women in Technology International).

When you choose a career in IT, you will often choose to specialize. Finding a community of other professionals in that specialty can give you a pool of experts who can give you a hand with a particularly difficult problem or give you an opportunity to be a mentor to a less experienced member. Finding a community of mixed IT professionals can give you a pool of talent to draw from if you need advice from another specialty or even a recommendation on a good vendor or service provider.

You never know who you will meet during your career, whether it be in the workplace, a chance meeting at a conference, or even on the street, so make the best of the opportunities. Keep in touch with the people you meet, and make sure to find communities either online or in person to make new contacts. The community can be large or small. They may be free or require a fee to join in order to get full use of their resources. No matter what community or communities you choose to be a member of, remember that being an active member can only help you and the others you work with.