Joining a tech community, whether online or offline, can be highly beneficial for personal and professional growth. However, as much as I loved engaging with the online community over the past 3 years, I have discovered that being a part of an offline community has some benefits too.
Hi everyone! It's been a while since I last blogged (about 2 months). I had a super busy schedule both in work and personal life and I needed time off from blogging. Additionally, my priorities have shifted, and while I remain highly passionate about contributing to the community, I am now doing so in a different form, which this article will touch upon.
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons to consider joining an offline tech community.
1. Networking Opportunities
As most of you will know, I am a classic definition of an introvert. In my article of reviewing Matthew Pollard's book, The Introvert's Edge to Networking, I mentioned how the word 'networking' terrifies me.
Joining a tech community in person provides a natural to meet and connect with like-minded individuals. Having been a WomenWhoCode Leader for 9 months, I've managed to establish valuable connections without resorting to traditional "networking" methods.
I simply collaborated and connected with many incredible and amazing people by organizing workshop events, panel discussions and mentorship programs to empower women in tech. Working on various projects with people is a natural way to build relationships, learn from each other and access new opportunities. At the same time, you feel good contributing to the community.
2. Develop Skills/Keep up with Trends
How many of you have attended online talks or sessions, but didn't exactly follow up on the new information acquired or begin working on any action items afterward?
This is quite common when learning remotely through an online medium. You feel detached from the speaker or mentor or panelist because you are physically not there. Attending such sessions, especially those without much interactivity or audience engagement, can make you a passive learner.
With passive learning, retaining a significant amount of information or taking action after the session can be challenging, unless you are an exceptionally dedicated learner who diligently takes notes and promptly implements the acquired knowledge.
That's why joining a tech community in person is more valuable, as most of us retain information through our experiences involving our five senses. By attending events, workshops, seminars, and meetups where you can learn from experts and peers in person, you can continually improve your skills and knowledge while staying current with the latest industry trends, technologies, and best practices.
One of the most meaningful aspects I love about joining an offline tech community is being able to collaborate. Sure, you can easily collaborate with someone remotely.
But meeting them in person for a coffee chat, brainstorming ideas through engaging conversations, and utilizing all five senses for collaboration can lead to more impactful results.
Many tech enthusiasts have innovative project ideas, but how many can actually find an elite team to execute?
Joining a community offline can help you find individuals with complementary skills and interests to work on these projects together. Whether it's developing software, hardware, or conducting research, a tech community can be a hub for collaborative efforts.
No matter how introverted I may be, having a support system contributes to maintaining positive mental health and reducing burnout symptoms. Being in online tech communities can be overall a positive experience once you find the right community. But in the world of online tech communities, there is the social media aspect, which creates unhealthy comparisons and expectations.
Some people I know said they became more burnout after joining online communities, as they would scroll through social media and engage in unhealthy comparisons with others. This would then result in increased stress and burnout for them.
Speaking with people in real life provides a clearer understanding of their situation. Most of us only post what we want others to see on social media. However, by engaging in deep and meaningful face-to-face conversations, you can experience the raw and unedited versions of people. This allows you to learn from those who have already navigated the complexities of the tech industry and seek advice without making unhealthy comparisons.
Creator: Photographer: Lemeshev N | Credit: NikLemesh - stock.adobe.com
5. Creating and Growing with Communities
You are essentially creating a community by being a part of a community. My mission to create communities of lifelong learners starts by actually interacting with people face to face and making meaningful connections.
What is more rewarding than being able to growing your community, your tribe?
Personally, I can see my impact and value when I am part of a non-online community. And as someone who has continued blogging for over 3 years, it is easy to get used to working alone. Working in a silo can leave me feeling that I do not provide much value through blogging.
On the contrary, when working toward building and growing communities, I connect, talk, and meet with many people, making it much easier to receive their feedback. This feedback often indicates how successful, or not, my community is in the direction we intended to grow.
With that, I hope this article highlights some of the key benefits of joining a non-online tech community. Of course, there are plenty of benefits joining any community, whether it's online or offline. However, I'd like to take this opportunity to (shamelessly) mention the non-online communities I am currently participating or have participated before:
WomenWhoCode (in leadership committee)
AlphaCamp (as a panelist/speaker)
Google Developer Groups (as a speaker)
Thanks for reading! Cheers!
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P.S.: If you're ever in Singapore and want to connect for opportunities, please feel free to reach me at my links below~