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Go To All The Meetups, they said…

I’d rather be doing more of this.

My mentor, Sarah Prasuhn, has been encouraging me to go to meetups. As a woman coming from a non-technical background (physics), and being a self-taught programmer (hey Free Code Camp), she knows that networking is important. Particularly as I’m on the hunt for my first full-time gig.

I find the idea of tech meetups to be a tad corny. I would much rather be riding my bike or hiding in my house. Social anxiety kicks in a bit too: heading into a room full of people I don’t know, talking about subjects I mildly understand. Networking itself feels fake: if I am such a newb, what could I possibly have to offer?

In 2015, I was part of a team that won first place in the Jefferson Health Hack. The team lead, Brad, reached out to me in September after seeing my profile on AngelList. He offered to meet and chat. His emails were very encouraging — he let me know my imposter syndrome is normal. He invited me to the Internet of Things/Philly Makers meetup he leads at NextFab. This felt less intimidating. I had previously taken classes at NextFab, and knew the leader. And get this! I was able to help some other newbs on getting their code running locally and then deploying it to Heroku! It felt wonderful to be able to help other people!

No, for real, it felt like this.

I am still hesitant to get involved in other meetups. The ladies-only meetups are much less intimidating. They don’t seem to be language-specific. I look forward to attending the Philly JavaScript meetups and will report back after a few visits.

I look forward to not feeling like networking is just a veiled plea for job opportunities. Even more so, I look forward to feeling confident enough in my skills to be able to help other people. Sarah recommended going to the JavaScript meetups, so that is where I’m planning on going next. Plus some React. And I’m taking an Ember class with Girl Develop It in a week!

I guess I’ll just suck it up and go to all the meetups.

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