Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oppertunity awareness and the value of Networking

Networking is the process or practice of building up or maintaining informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities. When it comes to working in an IT field, networking plays an important role. When finding a job regarding IT it’s not “What you know” that’s important, but it’s “Who you know”. Through networking links are created with people in an organized way while committing to do our part but expecting nothing in return. Networking has its advantages and disadvantages.

1. You can be afforded an opportunity not yet advertised therefore reducing the competition significantly.
2. A job may be specifically created for you based on an employer’s requirement.
3. Networking provides social contact and stimulation.
4. Openings are created for you to be opportunistic and flexible.
5. Networking is a two way process that can enable you to help others.
6. Networking is a proactive job search method.
7. Networking puts you in control, setting your own pace and course.

Opportunity awareness is the process of looking at oneself in order to assess aspects that are important to our skills, interest, values, knowledge, personality, goals, self assessment, professionalism, the environment that is required to find jobs, workshops, events etc. The information learned by participating in opportunity awareness activities can help identify careers of interest, learn how they can prepare for them, and help them match their interests, personality.

Networking has played a major role in the study of my software engineering degree. I’ve known many people related to software designing and engineering before I started my degree. They have been great useful in improving my programming skills and also in clearing doubts in solving problems. As I was in the training program for the informatics Olympiad, the trainers and the other students of it are still having contacts with me. Whenever I have a problem regarding programming, especially when it is difficulty connected with algorithm I contact them. They provide fine solution. This is one of the valuable connections I have in my network. While I am studying my degree I have joined many communities and forums such as ‘Android Developer’ and ‘CodeProject’. They have been of great useful for me as it allows me to solve my problems and also being able to help others in their problems. These forums have made a great deal of impact on my knowledge especially when working on assignments. Even for today, networking has become invaluable for me. I also have a blog at google and a linkedIn profile. This was suggested by the lecturer in charge of professional practice module. I’ve made many connections with other companies because of this. I believe they will become in handy when I go into the IT field after my degree.

Many opportunities have risen due to the value of networking. Since I had connections with the University of Colombo School of Computing I was notified that Computer Society of Sri Lanka is hosting its National School’s Software Competition at University of Colombo. I was awarded for the participation and was chosen for training to be in a selected group comprising 3 people for the South East Asia Regional Confederation International School’s Software Competition. Though I was not being able to get selected, this was one of the greatest opportunities I had in my life. Embarking on this, it created more connections with more people with same interests such as I have. This also allowed me to participate for the informatics Olympiad training, which is still useful even for my degree studies.

I believe more opportunities will come forth in the next years of my degree. It is because of networking that these opportunities have raised. Since they have been of useful for me, I am keeping an eye out to capture any opportunity that comes. I do agree that networking also does has its disadvantages. But since I am still a student I think it won’t affect me much. As I have made evidences in the above sections, I am aware of the opportunities and the value of networking.

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