I’ve always agreed with the idea that the most connected people are the most successful. As a recent graduate, connecting with others is super important to grow my career. Through networking with people both inside and outside of my current company, I’ve been able to find valuable mentors, develop new skills, connect with senior management, and build professional relationships that I will be able to maintain throughout my entire career. “What you know gets you in the room, but who you know gets you a seat at the table.” — Ellie Alessio, a founding member of CyberHype Charlotte. All of us have very busy lives, and taking time to connect or generically “network” during the workhours, or more effort, after workhours, can seem daunting. However, especially in the technology field where changes in the field outpace traditional learning, having other avenues to tap into other areas of growth is critical. But any career, regardless of field, can be boosted by surrounding yourself with a network of individuals with skills that you can learn from. A network can provide you additional reference best practices around your role, or career advice, or simply emotional support for when things in your career seem to not be going as planned. It is important that you recognize where you are in your career and what type of connection you need. Also there are legitimately times in your life where you need to preserve every spare moment for yourself, your family or other commitments. Just remember that as you can, rotate in some attention for your career and spare some time for networking and connecting, even if it is just with one person vs. a community of individuals. To make sure that you are spending your valuable time on worthy activity, look for an event, community or activity that aligns to your own personal career interests and goals. This could mean anything from a group with the same skillset, level of expertise, or simply the time of meeting that meets your workstyle (i.e. virtual, in person, after work, other). At CyberHype Charlotte, this is what we refer to as ‘finding your crew’. Lastly, looking back to the wisdom of Ellie, a network can also open doors for you to a new idea, or possibly a new role. Despite the vast community of tech professionals, both within the world, USA, and even our community of Charlotte, NC, it can still be small. Building connections can help you, especially as you look broader for career opportunities. Technology is a growing profession, and so are you! Empower yourself by connecting and stay successful!

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