10 Networking Tips For Your iOS Development Career
This article is written by Rosie Allabarton from CareerFoundry. Make sure to check out their awesome career-building courses and mentorship!
So you’re a junior iOS developer, starting out in your new career. You want to land your first contract and are excited about finally putting those sought-after skills to use in the real world, but more than anything you want to start interacting with real humans again! How you long for watercooler chat after months of learning Swift!
But finding your first job isn’t as easy as you thought. You’ve got the skills, but without the experience you’re struggling to even get an interview. At this rate, nobody but your flatmate is going to see that lovely suit you bought just for the occasion. And it’s a pretty awesome suit.
When you’re new to a field it can be overwhelming finding out how to make those first connections, connections which will ultimately lead to that all important first job. That’s why in this article we’re going to cover the ten essential networking tips you need to get yourself firmly established in your new career.
Don’t worry, if you follow our tips you’ll soon be getting some much needed human contact again, and a job to boot! I know, we can’t believe it either. Keep reading.
Real life is worth more than online
You may be spending much of your time in front of a computer screen but don’t underestimate the importance of meeting others face to face. An email is good, but a handshake is always, always more memorable (unless it’s a sweaty one. Nobody wants a sweaty handshake, trust me).
There are numerous ways you can meet other iOS developers, via meetups, hackathons and events like industry panel discussions. If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll probably also find them tracking down Pokemons in your local park.
Below you’ll find a number of sites where you can find interesting events to go to and take part in where you live, which usually include opportunities to network afterwards.
Pimp your personal brand
Your online presence is key to setting the right tone with potential employers. Whenever you’re applying to a job, the first thing they’ll do is Google you, so make sure what comes up is relevant, passionate and showcasing your most up to date skills and qualifications. And no, no one wants to see those Cyprus pics from 2014, so keep those private.
What’s important to remember is that each social network needs to be approached differently. Below you’ll find a quick guide to the most important ones:
- Follow influencers in the field, not just your mum
- Ask questions of experts and industry leaders
- Join conversations about new technologies and cutting edge techniques
- Tweet about exciting developments in the field
- Follow companies you’d like to work with
- Treat LinkedIn like an online version of your CV – fill out your details and show your passion. Include a short summary about what kind of work you’re looking for.
- Use LinkedIn Publishing to blog about the industry and demonstrate your knowledge
- Connect with companies you’d like to work with
- Connect with tech recruiters
- Join freelance and industry groups
- Include a professional photo! Selfies not included. No, especially not that one.
Medium / Tumblr / WordPress
- Blog about your experiences learning iOS development
- Upload screenshots of your work
- Keep a diary of your search for work and how you tackle each project, including personal projects if you don’t yet have anything you’re being paid to do
- When your blog is set up, invite other developers to guest post so you can get shared on their social media pages too.
- Answer any questions about iOS development which you are able to answer in detail and with authority
- Demonstrate your knowledge, your passion for the industry and link to relevant sources to help others
- Where relevant, and in the context of a longer answer, consider linking to your own blog to further evaluate a point
Don’t burn any bridges
When saying goodbye to one career and hello to another, it can be very easy to be dismissive of your old company and the job you used to do. We’ve all been tempted to stick two fingers up at our old boss as we stalk out of the building in a haze of smoke. But however tempting this might be in the moment, try not to do this.
Even if you can’t stand your old boss what you mustn’t do is cut ties with the people you used to work with; very often these people can be the very same helping you get your first contract as an iOS developer. Why? Because although they worked with you in a different capacity, they will be able to vouch for your reliableness, work ethic and what a great cup of tea you make. In other words, they are still very valuable to you as references when it comes to getting you your next job.
Help others out, help yourself out
No one wants to work for nothing. But when you’re carving out a reputation for yourself in a new field you can often find yourself caught in that Catch 22: you can’t get a job because you’ve got no experience, but you can’t get any experience when you’ve never had a job! It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
One way around this age old problem is to offer your services to a local business, a charity or school who are desperate for someone to build their app but cannot afford the rates of a professional iOS developer. Offer your services and do a fantastic job and you’ll soon have more work to showcase on your blog, and more experience to add to your CV. You’ll be helping out someone who needs you, but also helping yourself secure a valuable reference. And we all like that soft, fluffy feeling that comes with helping people don’t we?
Start small, aim high
Another option when looking to build on your experience is to use sites like Craigslist or Gumtree. Ignore all the ads which offer to turn you into a millionaire overnight – they’re not legit, trust us – and think about placing an advertisement offering your skills.
You can offer your services as a freelancer, and check to see what others are looking for too, and no we don’t mean romantically (though you can do that as well!). It may not be Microsoft yet, but you’ll be getting the experience, building on your reputation and earning some money while you’re at it. Not bad, eh?
Talk less, listen more
It sounds obvious, but it’s true. When meeting others at networking events, don’t rush to tell them your life history. It’s boring! Instead, listen. By listening hard, and asking the right questions you’ll pick up hints and tips about how they got their start in the industry, and if you’re might even offer to help you get yours. Even if they can’t help you directly, they might know of a job vacancy or freelance work.
Take business cards, make notes
Rather than forcing your business card on everyone you meet, ask others for theirs. That puts the ball in your court rather than theirs. When you get home make a few notes on the back of the card about what you talked about at the event. Later you can send them an email saying how nice it was to meet them and perhaps asking them a few further questions about getting your first job. Much better than waiting around for them to write to you, right? Just try not to sound like you’re stalking them, no one likes that.
Organize your own event
If you’re struggling to find events in your area, think about organizing your own. The idea might be daunting, but you’ll probably find lots of people in a similar position to you, as well as companies looking for new recruits. It could be a simple networking event, or a panel discussion on a popular theme, or a hackathon. Either way, you’ll get to know a lot of useful people from HR managers through to entrepreneurs looking for cofounders. You might even meet the love of your life! That’s right, I mean your future cofounder.
Reconnect with your former classmates
Remember when everyone rushed to join FriendsReunited to find out what their old school friends were up to? Well, if you studied to become an ios developer with an online or offline course, it’s time to reconnect with your former classmates. This time though it’s less important to know what kind of hairstyle they’re currently rocking, but to see where they’re working now and how they got there.
Perhaps your school offers an alumni network or has a placement team which helps students find jobs when they graduate. The more people you know in the field the better your chances of landing some freelance work to help build on your experience, or even find a fulltime vacancy. You could even offer your services as a mentor or teacher to newbies in the field with the school itself. Teaching is the best way to solidify your own skills, as well as looking fantastic on your CV, so it’s definitely worth a shot. It also means you can dig out that tanktop you’ve been hoping would come back into fashion.
Find a mentor
Perhaps you had a mentor when you were studying iOS development, or perhaps there’s someone you particularly admire in the industry right now. Reach out to them and ask for their advice on how they got into the industry, and what they have learned on their journey. If you find you have a good rapport with this person you could consider approaching them to be your mentor, to guide you through the difficult patches in your career, and pass on their knowledge and experience. A bit like asking someone to be your friend, it’s not really something you ask someone directly (didn’t work when you tried it last time, did it?), but if you allow a professional relationship to build, one where you reciprocate the help they give you with what you can do to help them, it can be extremely fruitful when building the foundations for your career.
So there you have it. Ten networking tips for your iOS development career, and some great job and life advice thrown in for free. What advice would you give others looking to launch their careers in iOS development? Do you have any tips which helped you on your journey? However you get there, a career in iOS development is one of the most rewarding, creative and secure out there, so don’t give up without a fight, and let us know how you get on!
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