How to Build Your Online Network to Get a Web Development Job

By Kathleen Taylor, Bud E. Smith

If you’re seeking a job in web development, why not let the web help you achieve those goals? One of the great conundrums of modern life is just how one’s online life interacts with one’s real life, where you actually see and interact with people in person. At best, the two realms support each other. You have a lively, interesting, real life, supported by lively and interesting interactions online.

If you’re better-known, better-respected, and having more fun in your online life than in your real life, that’s not a bad thing. You want to be having a positive experience in both realms, so if you’re rocking it online, that’s one down and one to go.

However, as a web development person, your technical interests and breadth of interest can make it easier to be a big shot online than in person. If this happens, how to bring that strong persona into your real-world life?

Use these tips to help you build a strong network in both worlds, online and off:

  • Go for a two-fer: Try to be well-known and well-regarded in both your online and real-world lives. Don’t settle for one or the other.

  • Have your online technical focus match your working life: If you work with Python every day, but are regarded as a “wheel” in the C++ world due to your previous work, your personas aren’t supporting each other. Try to spend your online time and your real-world time on the same topics. (This can mean either changing your online focus, or moving to a different job that matches your current online focus.)

  • Have your online friends overlap with your work friends: Ask your work colleagues where they hang out online. Try hanging out there too. You can do good mutual reputation-building if there’s overlap between your online and work lives.

  • Prioritize work: When in doubt, put more energy into your work than into your online life. (And much more than into non-productive online pursuits like dating sites and online games.) Work can and should be rewarding, in many ways, and you can help yourself make it so by putting work first.

  • Reduce screen time: Studies are showing that sitting — a necessity for logging screen time — is actively harmful to your health. All of those in web development need to move around more. So cutting screen time in favor of moving around — and even getting outside — will be better for you, even for your career, over time.