Social media has completely transformed the way we interact with each other and this has never been more true than in the wake of a year nobody saw coming.
Millions of people turned to social media as a means to stay connected with friends, family, and loved ones while also using it as a way to stay up-to-date on the world around them. Twitter and Facebook became the modern-day newspaper, Instagram allowed us to reflect on long-forgotten times of travel and fun, and TikTok kept us entertained for more hours than many of us care to admit. In a time when in-person connection felt foreign and impossible, social media became a lifeline for many hoping to maintain as much normalcy as they could. But while many people were finding new ways to stay connected online, it was business as usual for IT professionals around the world.
For years, IT students and professionals of all levels have found solace in online communities. In a profession that is saturated with remote employees and such unique, individual roles, it’s easy to feel isolated in your work. This tends to be even more true for those just starting out or in the process of completing online training or certification preparation. Without the support of people who have been in your shoes or are currently in the same boat, it can feel overwhelming and confusing. Fortunately, modern technology and social media has allowed those in the IT industry to not only connect with others, but build long-lasting relationships.
At INE’s recent redefINE event, many students shared the importance of having an online community as they progressed through their studies. This was even more apparent when they weren’t allowed to meet or study in person due to COVID-19 restrictions. INE student Logan Flook said, “The community itself is amazing. The Discord channels that I've been able to join and talk to, there's just so many amazing people in cyber security that just want to help and just want to see people succeed, and that's huge. It keeps me going.”
He continued to share how surprised he was by how many people in his field were willing to help someone they didn’t know. “I can't tell you the amount of people who are like, hey, here's my number, give me a call. And they'll take 20, 30 minutes out of their day, out of the blue to help some random person off of LinkedIn on something that they're passionate about.”
INE student Lily Clark began her cyber security journey with no technical background and was similarly motivated by the help she received from others in the community. “There are so many people out there that want to help you and want you to be better than they even were. There are paths to get into tech, and there are people that want to help you get good at it,” Clark said.
The value of being part of online communities was also stressed during the redefINE panel where we were joined by Chief Content Creator and founder of the Simply Cyber YouTube Channel, Gerald Auger. When asked how students can navigate the current job landscape, he said “There's Discord servers all over the place, I just joined TrustedSec earlier today, a great bunch of people in there. Black Hills got a great one. You start connecting, you start finding out about opportunities.” He continued by saying “There's no empirical evidence to support this claim, but I honestly feel 50% of people who work in the cyber security industry got their job because of a networked connection, not because of a cold application to an open rack.” If you missed out on the fun of redefINE 2021, you can watch each recorded session by visiting the INE YouTube playlist.
Whether you’re a student just getting started or a tenured industry expert, the value of being part of an online community is immeasurable. With so many devices and mobile applications at our fingertips throughout the day, the opportunities to get involved are endless, and more become available each day. From Discord servers and LinkedIn to Twitter and Facebook, there are millions of people starting discussions, forging connections, and enhancing their personal and professional lives.
At INE, we recognize the importance of building these relationships and have created a platform for our students to come together and share in their experiences. With INE Community, you can engage with our expert instructors as well as other INE students! Our dedicated community leaders will help you navigate through content, foster engaging conversations, and get you the answers you need. In addition, INE Community is integrated with the my.ine platform to help guide you to the most relevant cyber security, data science, cloud and networking discussions based on the courses you're taking.
Head on over to community.ine.com and join in on a conversation today!