I have been working for 5 years at the same company now. I want to go and find a new job. Finding jobs or getting interview calls has been difficult, there are have far and few. And to compound the problem I need work permit(H1b) to work.

My question is how do network with other programmers and increase my chances of getting a job/interview. And secondly how to increase my network?? thanks

  • 2
    User Groups! Start-up meetups etc – Martijn Verburg May 20 '11 at 15:05

You can't "network to get a job," it's impossible to do well, and it's a big turn-off to have someone get to know you and lose interest when you can't help them get a position at your company.

Networking is like farming. You plant seeds, cultivate and weed consistently, and harvest at the right time.

What you should do now is what you should always be doing. Things like:

  • Have lunch with current or former colleagues several times a month.
  • Attend at least one user group meeting every month.
  • Speak at a user group meeting at least once a year.

Whether you are meeting someone new or someone you have known for years, focus on:

  1. What are they doing/learning that they are interested in?
  2. How can you help them to do their job or advance their skills?

Of course, you will be curious about how they can help you, but to have useful contacts, you need to be a useful contact, so focus on the part you can control.

Even though these are long-term strategies, start now. The relationships you develop during this job search may help you in the next one.

  • +1 for being useful to the people you meet. The ideal kind of network is one where people you meet are constantly asking you to help them, and you constantly have to turn them down because you have a job. Once you decide you want to move to a new career, the switch can be as easy as saying: "You know what, yes, if you hire me full time, I'll be happy to help you out" – blueberryfields May 21 '11 at 22:24
  • Oh, and, this kind of network will be useful to you even if you don't decide to jump ship. The confidence and reputation you gain from helping people almost always spills over into a more rewarding experience at your current job. – blueberryfields May 21 '11 at 22:26

The most profound network is rediscovering the network you already have - my best job opportunities have come from previous colleagues. I'd recommend that, no matter what channel you use, you make a point of reviewing your address book and hunting down people you've lost touch with. A "hi, how are you doing?" email, Facebook message, or LinkedIn message is a good prequel to saying "does your company happen to have job openings?"

Joining almost any programming-topic driven community - online or off - is also likely to be helpful. Linked In always seems to be a particularly professionally driven community. I also liked @Brian's idea of developer events. I know around here there's a couple of JEE driven communities that get together for talks on JEE topics plus some networking. There's also professional organizations - like IEEE.

Another tip that I hear over and over is figure out channels that are not overwhelmingly high traffic. It's worth it to comb around discussion boards for recruiters -- there's a number of channels that are high noise to value - Craig's List, Monster.com - they generate a LOT of traffic for each job posted, and much of that traffic comes from people with no job qualifications who didn't even read the posting. You can rise above the rest on some of these high volume channels with a strong, thoughtful cover letter and a resume tuned to the opportunity. But another way to rise above is to hunt down job boards that are viewed by recruitment as higher quality - for example, I see that careersoverflow.com (the careers site attached to this exchange) has some nice quotes from companies about the quality of people they find there.

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    +1 for careersoverflow.com. I found myself part of a very small group of people being considered for local positions as a member of that site. It was easy to stand out, and the employers I interviewed for were one's that would sail through the Joel Test. I ended up taking a job from a company that contacted me through careersoverflow.com and it has proved to be an excellent move. – quentin-starin May 20 '11 at 19:03

You must become very visible.

  • Put your name instead of Anonymous and start contributing
  • Post your CV in every database you find
  • Participate to local gatherings or conferences
  • Send you CV to head hunters
  • Contribute to open source projects
  • Frequent chats or forums
  • 3
    I am not sure about #2 and #4 - they are signs of desperation. – Job May 20 '11 at 15:51
  • @Job: I agree, I always found suspect that a developer actually need to find a job. However, this doesn't apply to junior profiles – user2567 May 20 '11 at 16:04
  • If you put your CV in every database, who's going to know? – JeffO May 20 '11 at 18:09
  • @Jeff O: for example if you are putting your CV on Career 2.0, you'll be visible to companies using Career 2.0. – user2567 May 21 '11 at 9:03

Consider social networks to start, such as linkedin.com. Look for recruiters an start adding them as connections, and send them some email in the system if they have any openings. Companies also advertise jobs on twitter too, having a twitter account can be beneficial. Also put your resume out on various sites like monster.com, careerbuilder.com, etc.

To connect with other developers, outside of social media, go to developer events like user groups, etc.


  • 3
    I would say be careful when letting your resume out on various sites. Sometime you can get many calls from recruiters wanting to find out what jobs you've been applying, for their benefit not yours. – TeaDrinkingGeek May 20 '11 at 14:53
  • don't post your phone number, I made a post about this issue a few days ago and got good advice on that, I posted now without my phone number and now I can screen via email first – programmx10 May 20 '11 at 19:19

Here are a couple of suggestions:

If there are local users' groups (Java, .NET, Linux, etc.) in your area, join one. If not, form one. Consider joining the ACM and/or the IEEE Computer Society and attend local chapter meetings.

Consider taking evening classes at a local community college (or university) to fill in and broaden your technical skills. Many times these classes are attended by working professionals who are trying to do the same.

When you do get contacts, keep them active using professional social networking groups (such as LinkedIn).

Stackoverflow has a career site.

The fact that you need an H1B is a huge liability right now. In the U.S., you are only eligible for jobs where you have a specific set of abilities that an employer is having trouble finding in a citizen or permanent resident, and given that our unemployment rate is high right now, you may have trouble finding a niche that an employer needs that an out-of-work resident cannot supply. Also, many in our profession (especially those who are looking for work) will not extend much sympathy for your situation.

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