Obtaining IT Networking Career Benefits
The benefits of networking for those working (or hoping to work) in the field of IT are numerous. Many IT communities (some open source development groups, for example) are “closed.” In other words, you have to be a part of the group to participate and you only join the group by invitation. Networking can open those doors for you into established groups or help you get in on the ground floor of new emerging technologies such as open source development, paper diagnostic chips, or adding human intelligence to software. Networking activities can also open the doors for you to obtain access to information or technologies that might not otherwise be readily available to the general public, such as alpha or beta code samples, white papers, or early training opportunities on emerging technologies.
Often, networking is viewed as an activity only for those who are new entrants to the IT field or who are seeking a career opportunity at a new company. Nothing could be further from the truth. Networking is for everyone, including those who are happy with their current company and don’t want to make a move to a new organization where they might lose seniority, vacation, or other treasured benefits. Even if you were to spend your entire career at the same company, chances are good that you’ll still want to grow and expand your career into other areas. Few of us stay in the same position for 30 years and never learn a new skill. Whether you want to become a team lead, move into management, or even make a career leap from hardware engineer to IT project manager, a carefully built and tended network can help you achieve those goals.
It’s not uncommon to find that jobs are often “unofficially” filled within departments, groups, sections, divisions, brand, and so forth, long before the job is ever formally posted. Networking helps you become aware of such opportunities before they are announced. This enables you to activate your network to gain introductions to the hiring manager, and of course, positively influence him/her in your favor. The recession has hit both small and large companies, and it’s not uncommon to see layoffs or hiring freezes even within well-established IT firms. As the corporate belt tightens, internal job moves and promotions may be harder to come by than in previous years. In these types of situations, your network becomes invaluable.