No matter what industry you’re in, networking is a fantastic activity for career and personal growth. Whether you’re part of a traditional networking group or attending special events, you’ll gain so many career benefits (and probably make a few friends too!). Networking provides a chance to build confidence and professional relationships, learn and develop in your industry, and stay abreast of job opportunities that may arise. But it also allows you to share experiences and ideas, see things from other points of view, and understand the challenges faced in other roles and companies.
In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that networking has huge potential to shape the future of your career (and even your life). This is something I can personally attest to – because it was a networking event that convinced me to make the move to Newcastle. I was at a Gen Collective event at Noah’s, meeting amazing people in such a supportive atmosphere. Then, while Natasha Beyersdorf was presenting, a pod of whales swam past… which I took as a sign to pack my bags and become a Novocastrian!
As the technology and digital sector is growing in Newcastle, networking groups are a great way of understanding market trends and industry best practice, developing insights and hearing from specialists in this domain. So below, I’ll be sharing a little more insight into networking for IT professionals in Newcastle – including how to get started with different types of IT networking opportunities, and some top tips for new networkers.
How do I find IT networking opportunities?
For IT professionals based in and around Newcastle, there’s no shortage of traditional networking groups and non-industry specific networking groups. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few examples of both in-person and online ventures you might like to check out:
- Newwwie Slack Group – a large technology group from various companies and skills. They provide an overview of events, groups and organise the annual DevOps Day.
- Newcastle Change Community of Practice: a mixed group of practitioners sharing ‘stories of change to learn and grow’
- Local IT-based Meetup groups such as:
- Agile Newcastle – for those practising or curious about Agile delivery
- Hunter Data Analytics – for statisticians, researchers, data scientists and engineers, or anyone who’s interested in data
- Hunter Information and Analytics Forum – for anyone interested in data analytics and business intelligence
- Newcastle IoT Pioneers – for discussing and learning about the Internet of Things in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley
- Newcastle Coders Group – a group of passionate programmers, web developers, hardware hackers, students and technologists
- Newcastle Cloud, DevOps & Infracoders – for anyone interested in public cloud, IT infrastructure automation and DevOps transformations
- I2N Integrated Innovation Network: a UoN-based network that offers complimentary talks, workshops and innovation expert programs
- Newy Tech People: a fortnightly podcast featuring interviews with local tech professionals
Often, these groups are run by incredibly passionate people who donate their time and energy to bringing like-minded professionals together. So as well as getting involved as a regular networker, you might like to look into joining a committee, offering sponsorship through your business, or donating your time or venue to a networking event.
I’d also encourage IT professionals to find the right style of networking for you. In addition to trying out traditional networking groups, you might find opportunities for enrichment and advancement through a range of other avenues, such as:
- Mentorship programs
- Volunteering (try organisations like Got Your Back Sista, Samaritans, Dress for Success, Ronald McDonald House or Westpac Helicopter)
- One-on-one meetings/coffee with like-minded individuals
- Even just having a goal to interact and be open with people in your daily life, including colleagues at work!
Finally, if you don’t mind travelling a little further afield, you can take a look at what’s happening in your sector down in Sydney. There are bound to be opportunities that prove to be totally worth the train trip or jaunt down the freeway. And don’t forget: networking is just as big in the online sphere, too! Following blogs, companies and influencers on LinkedIn is another great way to gain insights and make connections. If you’re not sure who to follow, check out LinkedIn’s 2019 roundups of the Top Voices in Technology, Software Development and Data Science & Analytics.
If you’re brand-new to networking and still feeling a little nervous about getting started, here are a few of my top tips…
- Be present. Put your phone away and be ready to engage.
- Be prepared. Take business cards along, and have some talking points in mind.
- Set a goal. Perhaps aim to meet three new people at each networking session.
- Listen. Really engage with people and don’t just talk about yourself. And remember – the value of networking relationships goes both ways.
- Follow up. Contact your new connections afterwards and keep the relationship going.
- And finally… enjoy yourself! This should be one of your main goals at each event or meeting.
Do you have any great networking tips, groups or upcoming events to share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below, or get in touch with Clare directly at email@example.com
We’re particularly interested in finding a community within the Project Services space that is interested in starting a group. GWG would love to support you on this journey and connect Project Managers and Business Analysts in the region.