Module 1 Week 2

Overview

This week’s lesson is Introduction to Networking. Jump to the sections below to get started:

Learning Goals

This session will cover:

  • Describe your own needs and comfort level around networking
  • Formulate specific questions about the tech industry related to your experience and career goals
  • Understand how to get started with networking at Turing
  • Create a strategy for getting started with networking

After you complete the lesson, you’ll synthesize your learning in this Exit Ticket.

Introduction to Networking

Lesson Plan

Allow yourself 45-60 minutes complete the following lesson. Start by viewing the video below. As you follow along, use this note-taking template.

Section 1: Introduction & Assessing your Needs in Networking

Networking is another word for building relationships. When you’re networking, you’re actively getting to know someone and they’re getting to know you. As you get to know each other, you’re finding ways to mutually benefit each other, which is something you do in all relationships. For example, mutual benefits in friendships often revolve around support, common interests, and social interaction.

It’s important to recognize what you could gain through networking interactions while at Turing – these might include support and advice as well as reconnecting with those in your existing network. Every relationship has a giving and receiving quality to it, and networking is a little more blatant about it. While you’re receiving support and advice, you can benefit the relationship by spending time really getting to know the other person and their goals so that you can return the favor at a later time.

On your reflection sheet, take time to assess what you need from networking right now. Some examples might be:

  • A support system.
    • Who could you get that benefit from? Your mentor and other Turing students.
  • Advice on getting started in this career.
    • Who could you get that benefit from? Again, your mentor as well as other Turing alumni
  • Outside perspectives on the job market and job searching.
    • Who could you get that benefit from? Your existing network.

Section 2: Assessing your Comfort Level in Networking

It can also be helpful to understand what types of interactions energize you and what drain you. Often we think that introverts are shy and extroverts are outgoing. But in reality, everyone exists on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion, and our place on that spectrum can change depending on our current circumstances.

There are many ways to connect with people in networking situations. Which interactions listed here would energize you and which would drain you?

  • Online communication
  • Meeting people in person
  • 1:1 interactions
  • Casual group conversations
  • Seeking people out on your own
  • Getting introduced by someone else or having an event to attend to bring us together

Once you are able to identify what energizes you, lean into it! Find ways to capitalize on this energy. Here are some examples:

Example #1: Networking through social media

If you feel energized by engaging in social networking over Twitter or LinkedIn, here are some tips to maximize the impact of the interactions:

  • Build a robust profile to allow others to get to know you. Note: you’ll learn more about this next week, but here are some resources for personal branding.
  • Seek out people who share your interests. Interested in artificial intelligence? Block chain? Diversity, equity, and inclusion in tech? Find your people. Check out hashtags, influential people or companies in your field, and other current conversation threads to join in.
  • Don’t leave one-off comments or “likes.” Take time to engage in conversation, listen to others, share helpful resources – just like you would in any conversation.

Example #2: Networking at organized events

If you feel energized by meeting new people with shared interests at an event that brings you together, here are some tips to maximize the impact of the interactions:

  • Circulate the room. Make sure you don’t only talk to people you already know. Find people you haven’t met yet and introduce yourself.
  • Share your story. This will be covered in next week’s session, but having a concise pitch to describe who you are and what your goals are in this new career will be a helpful way to connect with others right away.
  • Ask questions and practice active listening. When you are able to get someone talking about something they are excited about, it can lead to deeper connections.
  • Follow up. Make sure to get contact information to have another conversation and reference what you talked about when you met.

Even though you’ll lean into your comfort zone, you can also prepare for what to do when you leave them. If you were to engage in a networking activity that drains you, how could you recover? Take time to plan an activity beforehand and afterwards that works with your energy. If you’re an introvert, this might mean preparing for a large group networking event by having some alone time before and after the event, such as reading a book or taking a walk. Taking the time to prepare for this energy drain will help you be more fully yourself in the activity.

Here is some additional reading on how to use your place on the introversion-extroversion spectrum to your advantage:

Section 3: Create Networking Goals

It’s important to remember while comfort zones are nice, you can’t make progress in your professional development if you stay in them. How to move forward without trying something that is too out-of-the-box for you? Create a compromise that allows you to strategically use your comfort zone and take a step outside of it.

Here are some examples:

Example #1

If you appreciate 1:1 time but wouldn’t normally reach out to someone you don’t know, try:

  • #lets_grab_donuts on Slack
  • LunchClub, which is a social networking platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to connect users with common interests and objectives.

Example #2

If you appreciate larger groups but haven’t connected with people in the tech industry yet, try:

Don’t forget to incorporate your needs. What do you need right now to make networking a meaningful experience for you?

With these ideas in mind, here are some suggested goals but feel free to come up with your own:

Suggested Goal #1: Networking with your Mentor

At this point, you should have already reached out to your mentor to introduce yourself and have a DTR. You may have already met a few times, but it’s likely that those conversations were focused on your technical learning. But you can utilize your mentor for so much more! They have been in your shoes and know what it’s like to be new to the industry. They are a wealth of knowledge and can provide you with ample advice. To network with your mentor, take the following steps:

  • Set up a call with your mentor and let them know you specifically want to talk about their career experience. Provide them with a couple of options for times to talk.
  • Come up with some questions to ask them during the call. It can be helpful to send them the questions ahead of time so they can prepare for the conversation.
  • Take notes during the conversation and consider adding them to your networking tracker.
  • Decide on one takeaway from the conversation that you can follow up on. This might mean doing a little research into something they mention or asking for an introduction to someone from their network.

Suggested questions/discussion prompts:

  • Tell me about your background. How did you get started in the tech industry?
  • When you were looking for your first software job, what strategies were successful for you? What strategies were not successful?
  • What is the number one piece of advice you have for someone like me who is just starting out in this career?
  • At your company, what do you look for in junior developers?
  • What can junior developers do to help themselves stand out?
  • I’m not sure what industry/companies I’m interested in. Do you have any advice on how I could start to figure that out?
  • I know I’m interested in __ kind of work. Do you have any advice on how I could learn more about that?
  • How did you figure out where you wanted to start with your first job? How has that influenced your career?
  • Is there anyone you know who would be beneficial for me to talk to? Could you make an introduction for me?

Note: your mentor may also be job searching, perhaps for their first tech job. They are still a great person to network with! They can share all of the strategies they have been trying already so that you can learn from their experience.

Suggested Goal #2: Meet Someone New at Turing

Whether you join a student circle or the #lets_grab_donuts channel on Slack, commit to meeting someone new within the Turing community. The #lets_grab_donuts channel will automatically set you up with a partner, so you don’t need to send a message to connect. For anyone else though, here are some suggested steps for reaching out:

  • Send a message to this person. If you don’t know them personally, take the time to introduce yourself and explain very clearly both what you want to talk to them about and why you specifically want to talk to them about this (as opposed to someone else). Why are they the right person for your questions? Provide them with a couple of options for times to talk.
  • Come up with some questions to ask them during the call. It can be helpful to send them the questions ahead of time so they can prepare for the conversation.
  • Take notes during the conversation and consider adding them to your networking tracker.
  • Decide on one takeaway from the conversation that you can follow up on. This might mean doing a little research into something they mention or asking for an introduction to someone from their network.

Depending on who you meet with, your questions may look different, but regardless, focus on asking questions that help you get to know each other:

  • What brought you to Turing?
  • What do you appreciate about the Turing community?
  • What advice do you have/what has been helpful for you in managing Turing life?
  • What are you working on that you’re excited about?
  • What are you excited about contributing to in the tech industry?
  • What do you like to do in your free time outside of programming/work?

Suggested Goal #3: Network with a Contact You Already Know Outside of Turing

Reach out to a contact from your existing network and ask to set up a call to discuss career advice. Who would be an ideal person for you to reach out? Consider reaching out to someone you don’t talk to day-to-day. It would be beneficial to reach out to your “weak ties” or “dormant ties” aka people whose knowledge and networks will be relatively new to you! These are people you may have worked with previously, people you know through friends/family/co-workers, or simply people you haven’t connected with in a while. They may or may not have a direct connection to the tech industry, but they may know someone who is in the tech industry or at a company you’re interested in or they may have professional advice that will be helpful for you. Take the following steps to reach out:

  • Send a message to this person and explain why you’d like to connect. Why are they the right person for your questions? Provide them with a couple of options for times to talk.
  • Come up with some questions to ask them during the call. It can be helpful to send them the questions ahead of time so they can prepare for the conversation.
  • Take notes during the conversation and consider adding them to your networking tracker.
  • Decide on one takeaway from the conversation that you can follow up on. This might mean doing a little research into something they mention or asking for an introduction to someone from their network.

Depending on who you choose to reach out to, your questions will look different. Here are some suggested prompts to get you started:

  • Tell me about your background. How did you get to where you are now?
  • What does your company do? How does your role contribute to that?
  • What is the number one piece of advice you have for someone like me who is changing careers/starting something new?
  • I’m not sure what industry/companies I’m interested in. Do you have any advice on how I could start to figure that out?
  • I know I’m interested in __ kind of work. Do you have any advice on how I could learn more about that?
  • How did you figure out where you wanted to start with your first job? How has that influenced your career?
  • Is there anyone you would recommend I talk to at your company or in the tech industry at large? Would you be able to make an introduction for me?

FAQs & Things to Keep in Mind

As you get started with networking at Turing, here are a couple of frequently asked questions and answers that might be helpful:

  • What constitutes networking? Do I have to talk to someone in person/on a call? A: Networking is building a relationship. To do that, it involves having a conversation. The way that conversation takes place – on a call, through email or Slack messages, DMs on Twitter – is entirely up to you.
  • How do I go about contacting someone if I don’t have their email? A: There are several sites listed here that can help you find people’s email addresses.
  • Is this the only networking activity we’ll be doing? A: No, we’ll be exploring networking from multiple different angles and discuss how to approach it for both general research and for job applications. This activity is meant to get you started!

Check for Understanding

  1. Complete the final section of the reflection sheet for this lesson by creating your networking goal. Completing your networking goal is a deliverable for Mod 1.

  2. Complete this exit ticket. Completion of this exit ticket is required for your professional development this module.

Continued Application

You’ll meet in your first Mix It Up group this week with students in different cohorts, and the conversation will be focused on networking. Please be prepared to share your ideas about your networking needs, comfort level, and goals.

Due Dates & Reminders

  • Complete the exit ticket for today’s lesson by EOD Friday of Week 2.
  • One of your deliverables by the end of the module is to complete your networking action step. Take time now to set aside time to get it completed, and if you have any questions about this, please reach out to Allison on Slack @allison_reu_singer.
  • Professional Coaching:
    • What is professional coaching? Sometimes referred to as “career therapy,” coaching provides you with the opportunity for thought partnership on goals that you have for your career. What topics could be covered? Whatever you want! Some popular topics are:
      • Stress management
      • Organization and time management
      • Career transition guidance
      • Using your Pairin data for growth
    • You can sign up for small group coaching sessions with Emma here.
    • If you’d like to get additional reports on your Pairin strengths, reach out to Allison on Slack (@allison_reu_singer).
  • Check out upcoming PD office hours and bring your questions!