Networking tips for women in tech

Networking tips for women in tech

Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting. Networking often begins with a single point of common ground. According to the same source, professionals use networking to expand their circles of acquaintances, find out about job opportunities in their fields, and increase their awareness of news and trends in their fields or the greater world.

Note the word ‘informal’ in the above definition of networking. The working environment is usually a formal setting, which implies that networking happens beyond the work environment. In a very busy world, it seems that there has to be a level of intentionality involved in networking meaningfully. This is especially true for freelancers who do not know where their next client is going to come from.

Networking is also a two-way street; there does not seem to be any space for parasitism. Again, networking works best with people who have a thing or two in common. The word ‘friendship’ is not being used here because that would not be restricted to people with a common profession. One can glean the importance of networking from corporate companies’ traditions of dinners and end-of-year parties where their staff meet new people.

However, it seems that here again, women face challenges as a result of being grossly underrepresented. This article provides tips to overcome obstacles and enjoy the benefits of networking.

1. Attend events:

This is no lone man’s journey, especially when women in this field are scarce. Seek out and attend both in-person and virtual events. These are the places where you meet new people; never ever leave it up to chance; that is too risky. Look out, especially for events that are organized for women or spearheaded by women; this will help you connect with other women in the industry. Thousands of conferences, meetups, webinars, etc. are being organized every day in the tech industry, with attendance at many of them free. These are opportunities to network. Remember that the benefits of networking include finding job opportunities, discovering news, and discovering new trends in the industry that enable you to upskill properly. This cannot be taken lightly.

By now, you should know that the world is changing rapidly, and the tech world is even faster than everything else. Every opportunity to learn something new is a gift from God. Take note of this and know that networking is non-negotiable.

2. Join professional organizations and communities:

There are professional organizations for different niches in tech, like Women in Technology International (WITI), and even more communities for people in tech, especially women. Seek out communities and join them. Heels and Tech has a wonderful community for her students, find out more here. Most online learning platforms and boot camps maintain a community for their students after the course is done. Don’t go dumb in these communities; answer people’s questions when you can, help out when you can, and when you are also in need of help, you will not run short of people willing to help you out.

3. Use social media:

Ever heard of LinkedIn? Yeah, that’s what it’s for—networking. Twitter is another great site. On social media, follow people in your industry, hear what they are saying, and engage with their content. They may not end up knowing you in person, but you will learn a lot from them and grow as a result.

There are also groups on LinkedIn and Twitter; find those related to your niche and join them. Again, don’t become a ghost member; you have something to contribute and possess the information that someone else needs, so pay attention to the happenings and help when you can. Also, ask questions when you need clarifications; expect people to help you out, and they will. From now on, don’t just post your latest pictures on social media; use social media to network.

Another way to do this is to post about what you do; don’t ever think that people do not see or notice you on social media. You may not yet have the amount of visibility you wish to have, but start with what you have. I remember referring someone to someone else because I kept seeing her posts on social media. I never patronized her directly, but I referred her to someone who did. This is what social media can do for you. Do not underestimate it.

4. Attend company events:

Most people who are seen as snobs are seen that way because they never relate to other people. Once they are done with their primary business, off they go. At church, they can’t wait for the grace to be said before they rush out of the door. In the office, their bags are packed before closing time each day; they are hardly the first people that cross your mind when you need help. Never will the company hold an optional social event, and you’ll see them there. I sincerely hope that I am not describing you. Don’t be like this- this is called career suicide; don’t commit it.

When your company hosts an event, virtual or live; attend, meet people, chat with them, listen to them, learn from them, ask someone if they are having a good time, introduce someone to someone you know and be introduced by others, gush over other people’s achievements, ask them questions, and very soon, you will be wondering how you got to know all the high caliber people around. In fact, you will be the go-to person when other people are seeking connections

5. Be confident:

According to the Cambridge online dictionary, confidence is “a feeling of having little doubt about yourself and your abilities or a feeling of trust in someone or something”, It is also feeling sure of yourself and your abilities- not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic, secure way. Confidence is built on accomplishment, by monitoring your progress and seeing how far you have come, by doing the right thing, etc.
Rather than feeling intimidated in the presence of people who are where you want to be (that would be shooting yourself in the foot), be confident in the fact that you have what it takes to grow, and grow you will.

For some people, it is a lack of confidence that keeps them away from the ladder they should be climbing because they prefer the level ground where they do not have to do anything—their comfort zone. Get out of that place and build your confidence by doing more. A healthy dose of confidence enables you to grow. Take this confidence with you as you network with people. Remember that people usually mirror your view of yourself back to you. That’s why we naturally treat principled people who respect themselves with a lot of respect, and we treat babies with such care because they project a vulnerable image. When you are confident in your abilities, even when you know that you need to learn more, people perceive that, and they will treat you accordingly.

Remember, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together” Martha Goedert. Click this link to get into our community at Heels and Tech. See you there.

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