Blog Entry

Get Involved in a Community

A little less then a year ago I decided I wanted to be a web designer. I created this site and found a few local web design companies. I needed a summer job so I emailed these companies to see if one of them would hire me. One did. I did my best and learned all I could. I taught myself CSS and web standards and even a little javascript and PHP. All the things I learned over the summer were things I should have known before I even thought about becoming a web designer. I’m amazed someone hired me but I’m extremely grateful she did.

Summer ended which meant school started and I didn’t have the time to work anymore. I continued to play around on the web and I started my own blog. Having a blog opened up a number of opportunities and I did my best to keep learning new things through other web design related blogs. After school one day I came across an article written by a man who owns his own web design company right here in Arizona. I don’t remember exactly what it said but to me the article said, “Come meet a lot of really cool people who can help you with your career.”

I was thrilled. I was nervous. I went to the meeting. It was awesome.

At first I was reluctant to go. I figured I was going to be the only teen. I had very little experience and I didn’t know what to expect. The only other web designers I had ever met were the few people I had worked with over the summer.

I went to the meeting and when it was over I knew I would be making a lot more trips to Phoenix. The meeting was inspiring and since then I’ve learned much more then I have ever learned from the web or from school about web design and business. Because of this community I’ve had tons of opportunities I wouldn’t have ever had otherwise.

I mean how many teens get to go bowling with some of the best web designers in the state? Honestly. I’ve had a number of job opportunities, learned more then I even realize, had some good ideas, and even some interesting thoughts that I wouldn’t have had without a local offline community close to where I live.

I’m very thankful and consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to get involved in a community like this one. One of the most important things I’ve learned from all this is the importance of networking and getting to know as many people as you can. If you’re like me and you’re new to something it’s even more important to get involved and talk with everyone you can.

The phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is definitely true when you’re just starting out.

After going to the meetings each month I decided one community wasn’t enough. I wanted to meet even more people and that’s where some effort on my part came in. In the past 6 months I would guess I’ve met or atleast talked online with 100+ people that I didn’t know before I got involved in the communities.

What I’m really trying to say is that if you want to do better in whatever it is you’re doing, meet as many people as you can. Get involved somehow and get to know the people in the area you want to excel in. They’ll help you without even knowing it.

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