Networking for Nerds

Introverted people are ubiquitous in the computer science industry.  Many of these people have enormous potential but there’s one issue; nobody knows it.  The term “networking” often used in the corporate culture seems like a forced – and optional – activity to many technical folks.  That being said, many people do not partake in this seemingly uncomfortable exercise.  Not every interaction needs to be formal and business-oriented in order to get your name out there.  Sometimes all it takes is a casual conversation about a similar interest in order to get someone to remember you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pitching that this will be easy for the socially challenged.  You will need to step out of your comfort zone briefly but the goal is to increase the radius of that comfort zone.  The first question that logically needs to be answered is, “Why?

Advantages to meeting new people

  • Increased probability to be recommended for a job opportunity.
  • Different perspectives foster well-rounded learning.
  • Build interpersonal skills.  Communication skills are beneficial in countless facets of life.
  • Healthy relationships with others facilitates personal growth and builds happiness.

The next question on deck is, “How?

General tips for starting and holding a conversation

  • Give someone a compliment and tie it to a question.
  • Ask about someone’s interests in order to find some common ground.
  • Be sure to participate in order to show that you’re listening/engaged in the content of the conversation.
  • Suggest grabbing lunch or a coffee to expand on the topic of conversation.

Be sure to keep in touch after the conversation in order to build the relationship further.  This leads us to the final question that needs to be answered, “When?

Right now.

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