Each day I speak with hiring managers seeking talented developers, business analysts, project managers, and a number of other technical professionals. I’m seeing more and more that it’s not only what skills you have on your resume but what “extracurricular activities” you are involved in as well as how you are fine tuning your skills that make a difference. Getting involved could be as simple as visiting a local user group focused on your development language or maybe a group focused on a new language you have a hankering to learn. Other options include being involved in the Technology Council for your city or or taking a few classes to get certified.
By joining a group or council, typically you will meet people with similar interests, learn about leading edge technologies and tools, or get advice on challenges you are seeing at your current workplace from others that have walked in your shoes. If you decide to get additional degrees, certifications, or just take some classes, it shows you are eager to take on new challenges and improve yourself adding value to your current and potentially future employer.
So if you’ve considered joining a group, talk with those colleagues that are involved in user groups or search online at such places as www.meetup.com.
Here is a good list of professional IT networking groups that you might be interested in joining:
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
- Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP)
- Association for Women in Computing (AWC)
- BDPA (Black Data Processing Associates)
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR)
- Independent Computer Consultants Association (ICCA)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society
- Network Professional Association (NPA)
- Society for Technical Communication (STC)
- Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech)
- Women in Technology (WIT)
- National Association of Programmers
Hopefully, I’ll see you at the next technology networking event.