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What suggestions would you give to find networking opportunities or to network at user groups and other developer venues?

For instance, if you went to a code camp, would you try to network with other developers there? How would you go about doing it? Would you go up to someone you don't know at lunch and introduce yourself?

I recently attended a user group meeting and found it somewhat boring. Only a few people really seemed to talk to others. Most attendees seemed to keep to themselves. Is this typical for developers?

I've never been good at networking, probably somewhat introverted around people I don't know, so networking isn't my strong point. However, I would definitely like to branch out more and meet other developers.

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4 Answers

Bob remember you have the whole community at Programmers and Stack. If you ask me its quite a network. But to answer your question most developers, and I include myself prefer to network with other developers in places like these. For one you have access to the internet (lol) and two you get advice and feedback from developers all over the world, not just developers from the local community.

Also most conferences now actually recommend you collaborate online first and meet in person at the actual conference or meeting. StackOverFlow did one of these recently.

But if you're going to a user group meeting or developer conference I would strongly recommend you stick to the technology you specialize in. In other words don't go acting like your an expert in everything. This usually causes others to avoid you or for experts to ignore you because they figured you out. Also I definetly think you should check if theres a way to talk to members that are in the same field before you go. For example twitter, stack, programmers, facebook, etc. I haven't been to one in the past year that doesn't provide some method of communicating before hand.

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Many programmers are introverts, so yes I would say it is typical for developers.

I would continue to go to the user group meetings. Networking takes work, and even if you're meeting 1 or 2 people a month, eventually that adds up.

I would also go to events like code camps as well. And yes, bring a stack of business cards and introduce yourself. Worse case scenario is the person you meet is a pompous @ss (another typical trait)... Big deal, move on to the next one :)

Just my 2 cents.

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Apart from User Groups there are also technology conferences... It is probably not very easy to get to know many people there, that is unless you are very out-going person.

But networking doesn't have to start in real, heck you have StackExchange community, Open Source projects, various specific technology related forums... As well as blogs and (gulp) Twitter. There are plenty of opportunities to network. Just find the one that is the most suitable for you.

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To add up to what everyone else said I think coding camps, user groups and software events/craftmenship events are good places to meet people and be aware of what is happening out there. I will keep attending (where possible) a user group where you and other regulars will be able to familiarise each other with time. True sometimes you have people with various personality clashes but also friendly folks out there, so I think gradually you can build up some steady networking and just be yourself!

For any SO peeps in London SkillzMatters is a good place for meet-ups, talks, courses and conferences where some events are FREE (where I try to attend).

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