5 ways to boost your career with Social Media

January 26th, 2015

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Photo by Kevin Dooley

If you are in the Bay Area tomorrow, Jan 27, come see myself, Yann Ropars and Yury Velikanov talk about how to leverage social media to boost your career. We will be talking at Oracle head quarters at the NoCOUG/BIWA conference at 2:30 pm 

Why use social media as an IT technician? Because

vibrant social networks are key to landing jobs, moving forward in your career, and securing personal happiness

Richard Florida  professor Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto

 Success no longer comes from possessing knowledge; instead, you have to participate with others in creating a flow of knowledge. 

– Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute, and author of Einstein: His Life and Universe

Networks matter – who do you turn to for help? Who can you trust? How do you get a new job? How do you know what products to buy? What are the latest discoveries? How do you know if 12c is ready for prod?

Networks of people can accomplish things an order of magnitude faster than a lone individual. Look at wikipedia or open source software.

My first big social networks “ah ha” was 15 years ag  with a group of Oracle technicians  that Mogens Nørgaard had created an email list for. With the help from several different people on this list such as Anjo Kolk, James Morle and Jonathan Lewis, I was able to put together a program in a week to read Oracle’s SGA directly with C instead of SQL. Really cool stuff! Without each of their input I might have spent a year instead of a weekend.

That was 15 years ago and I’m convinced  more than ever that social networks are hugely important

My second big social network “ah ha” came in the world economic meltdown in 2009.  My company at the time wasn’t strong but I was happy there because I was running my own project and was head down working on my project ignoring the rest of the world. Then when the economy slipped I realized that my company was in a bad position as they cut salaries across the board, laid people off and cut my project team down to a handful and dumped 4 other software projects on by desk that I had no interest in. With almost no time to work on my project that I was passionate about, hardly any team left, more work than I could handle on other weak software packages and a lower salary, I was chomping at the bit to get out, but I realized I didn’t have any one one turn to.  All my contacts were at Oracle which I didn’t want to go back to and my current company. I realized I need a strong Linkedin network to leverage to find a new job. Ultimately it was the network that Mogens had set up that saved me and connected me to Delphix. Before this experience I had thought linkedin was just a place to put your resume online. I didn’t realize it was a strong social network that could actually help me get a job.

Now days, if I meet a DBA who is not on Linkedin, I assume that the person is a 9am-5pm “lifer” at the company they are currently at. It leads me to think they are happy where they are, have no plans on ever leaving, and no ambition to leave.  My assumptions are probably often wrong. Maybe the person just doesn’t know the power of social networks but there are so many people on social media who are easy to connect with, why bother with people who are hard to connect with?  In person connections were the only way to connect 20 years ago. In person connection, or local connections are still important, which is why Silicon Valley is so powerful. Silicon Valley is so powerful because there are so many smart, motivated, passionate IT technicians who can easily hop from one job to another, meet at bars, meetups, hackathons, conferences etc. But now days online social connections are becoming more and more important. When communication is rapid, things happen faster.

Social media for me is

  • email groups, like Oracle-L
  • forums, like OTN
  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • facebook

 

5 ways to boost your career with social media:

  1. Find jobs
    • become more well known by your presence
    • create a network of people you can turn to and who can validate your skills
    • share your knowledge and generate
  2. Find employees
    • someone send you a resume? See who they are connected to. Are they connected to a strong network?
  3. Solve technical problems
    • have an error, ask if others have seen it
  4. Create projects together
    • github – get input and help on scripts and projects
  5. Get feedback on technology
    • what’s new
    • what’s useful
    • what can you ignore
    • what problems should you watch out for

 

How do you get started?

Hop on twitter. Find someone important who only follows a few people. For example in the Oracle world, go to Tom Kyte‘s twitter profile.  Tom is only following 22 people and you can bet those 22 people are probably pretty good people to follow, so go through his list and pick out most or all and follow them. Then you will be on a good start to creating a nice Oracle twitter feed.

Retweet other peoples tweets. It will get  you noticed and help you build a following.

Twitter can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff so I use a couple of tools.

Prismatic will go through tweets and pull just the tweets with links to articles and then server up the articles in a news reader. I love it.

Tweetdeck will allow me to track words or hashtags. For example I can monitor all tweets with my company name, Delphix, or during a conference like Oracle Open World I can track all the tweets with #OOW and #OOW15.

Start a blog if you can. I often use my blog as just a way to document stuff I’ll forget and will want to find later.

Comment on other peoples blogs.

Get on technical forums and participate. My favorite Oracle forum is the Oracle-L list.

If you write scripts to help you, share them on github and help other people with their scripts on github.

On linkedin, connect with everyone you can. If your company is small enough, just connect with everyone at your company. Connect with friends, colleagues, customers, everyone you can.

 

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photo by  Daniel Iversen

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photo by neliO

 


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