Beyond Coding: Relationship Building for Developers
Forging a successful career as a developer in today's technology sector goes far beyond what you type into your keyboard.
In light of our upcoming Code Writers Workshop in Seattle on April 28th, let's take a closer look at one of the most powerful skills for developers looking to advance their career: Relationship building.
The truth is, even if you write flawless code, long-term career success as a developer depends heavily on the rapport, trust, and respect you've built with others in the industry.
But the old adage, "It’s not what you know, it’s who you know" is a little too simplistic. In fact, it's not about having a huge list of contacts you never communicate with--it's about nurturing genuine, long-term relationships.
Benefits of Business Relationships
Creating and maintaining strong connections with others offers several unique benefits:
Finding career opportunities. This is the most obvious benefit of a robust network. Maintaining your network affords you access to career opportunities that will never be seen in any job ad. Additionally, such opportunities may come with a referral - a distinct advantage in a competitive market.
Access to advice. A strong network can act like a think tank, offering you the chance to tap into the expertise of those with the answers you seek. You may even find mentors that offer an additional boost to your career.
Identifying potential partners and co-workers. Building business relationships is a marathon, not a sprint. The contact you make today could be a future business partner, coworker or even an employee.
Creating new relationships from existing ones. Relationship building, when done correctly, can be a self-sustaining process. Making genuine connections with others can often lead to new contacts, which spawn new relationships, and so on.
Maintaining Strong Business Relationships
Building business relationships is one thing, but maintaining them over the long term is crucial to get the most out of them. Here are a few tips:
Stay connected. Not communicating with someone for a long period of time can alienate them from your network, meaning that they may be hesitant about helping you when you finally do make contact. It's important to check in with them every so often by phone, email or social media to let them know you're thinking of them. Better yet, say hello in person occassionally, whether at a professional event or over coffee to demonstrate that you value your relationship with them.
Nurture authenticity and trust. Maintain a reputation for honesty, integrity and authenticity. Nothing erodes relationships like the impression that you might take advantage of someone. Being dependable and honest in all your dealings will strengthen your business relationships tremendously.
Show genuine interest in others. One of the most basic methods for gaining respect in any relationship is to show interest in other people. Listen to what people have to say and be sincere in your interest. Ask questions and keep track of the stories they've shared with you.
Deliver results. Often you may need to show others that you can deliver before they will put in a good word for you. In this case, the concept of "under-promise / over-deliver" can be useful. Try to deliver early and take initiative to help in unexpected ways.
Focus on giving. Think about how you can help people in your network. By leading with value, you build trust and credibility, particularly early on in a relationship. The truth is, people are often more likely to return a favor than initiate one.
Quality over quantity. Not every contact you make will turn into a relationship. Relationship building is an investment of time and effort, so it's important that you invest wisely. Follow up with people you meet, and nurture the ones with whom you truly connect.
Developing a genuine rapport with others can open up opportunities that would be otherwise invisible. Perhaps that old adage should be reworded to reflect today’s reality: “It’s not who you know, it’s how well you know them.”
If you'd like to learn more about the power of relationship building and other career track strategies specifically tailored to developers, make sure you register today for the Code Writers Workshop happening on Friday, April 28th, 2017.
This one day, hands-on event will focus on career advancement, tech-centric leadership and team building, and current industry trends. You'll also have the opportunity to meet speakers from leading Seattle companies and network with some of our community’s most innovative engineers and thought leaders.
Register today: https://www.codewritersworkshop.com/events/seattle