A Musician’s Guide Networking in the Software Industry

If you’re a musician turned coder, you will doubtless be thinking about how to get that first developer job. Networking in the developer world is very different to classical music networking, so here’s a quick introduction to relationship-building (aka networking) in the software industry.

  1. Rock Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is HUGELY important — I got my 2nd developer job because I had a good LinkedIn presence and a recruiter I really liked reached out to me (shout out to Alex, if you’re reading this!). So here’s what you should do:

a) Look at these examples of career changers’ LinkedIn profiles

Paula Muldoon
Jaycee Cheong
Howard Reith
Peter Dodds

b) Add the following to your LinkedIn profile:
– picture (can use one of your musician headshots, although potentially without an instrument if you’re just starting out)
– make a headline (example: “International musician turned coder”)
– “About” section. This is your chance to tell your story about why you learned to code and what skills your previous life as a musician you can transfer.

2. Go to meetups/virtual conferences
Developers love to get together and chat after work. Go to meetup.com, find a meetup that’s relevant to you, join, and start chatting! Ruby meetups generally are beginner-friendly. Software Crafters is a good one as well. And lots of conferences are not only online right now, but you can watch conference talks from previous years any time for free. Not sure where to start? Try Brighton Ruby — they have Ruby-specific talks as well as general programming ones, they’re a friendly group, and the speakers are AWESOME. Check out Katrina Owen’s Cultivating Instinct talk. And oh yea, she’s a musician too.

3. Add people on LinkedIn
Your goal is to get to the magical number of 500 connections, at which point your profile says 500+ connections and you look like somebody that people want to know.

a) Add everyone from MusiCoders that you’ve interacted with
b) Add everyone from your software bootcamp, including teachers
c) Add everyone you interact with at software meetups
d) Add conference speakers whose talks you like, usually with a message “Hey, I saw your talk ____ and I really liked it because of ____.” They will probably accept, and if they don’t, it really doesn’t matter.

4. Rock your Twitter profile

Twitter is where the dev world socialises. And also posts jobs. We don’t use Facebook (I know, it’s weird). The good news is rocking your Twitter is less work than your LinkedIn profile. And while I haven’t yet found a job via Twitter, I have gotten an expenses-paid speaking engagement in Madrid. (Which is less exciting for us touring musicians, I know, but is a great think to put on a developer CV.)
a) Open a Twitter profile
b) Follow me (@FiddlersCode) and look at the devs I follow and follow them (at some point I’ll try to write a list of who to follow)
c) Follow the MusiCoders devs (especially @MathiasVerraes)
d) Follow #CodeNewbie

5. MusiCoders

This is your tribe — the people you have SO MUCH in common with. Join the #careers channel, and ask for support, advice, and introductions.

Not sure what MusiCoders is? Find out here.

Thanks for reading, and good luck job hunting!

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