Virtual Networking during COVID-19: High School Edition

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Shreya Chaudhary, Co-Editor-In-Chief, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has taken a hit on networking. Honestly, with everyone stuck behind their screens in their houses, it seems near impossible to communicate with the outside world, much less make connections. However, looking at the pandemic from a different light reveals that it can actually be an opportunity—you can meet different people you wouldn’t otherwise meet from all over the world. In this article, I’ll run through some of my personal favourite networking platforms. Note that this list is targeting networking for technology-oriented people, so some platforms might not apply to all fields.

 

Woman video calling her friend online with her computer at home, relationships and communication concept (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Meetup

I used Meetup before to attend some local events. However, nowadays, there are several Meetups online. For example, I’m currently most active with the Twins Deep Learning Study Group. In addition, I occasionally check out Silicon Valley Meetups. If you have any interest in any field, I strongly recommend you join a Meetup, or even create one yourself. There are a plethora of groups exploring different things, from quantum computing to artificial intelligence. 

 

Competitions (esp. DevPost)

Competitions are a great place to meet new people, try your skills, and win awesome prizes! If you enjoy innovating and programming, DevPost is a fantastic place to find hackathons (innovation competitions) hosted by big companies. Furthermore, if you’re on a quest to get a job, winning a hackathon from one of these companies can help you make a lasting first impression. 

 

Conferences

A lot of companies nowadays are hosting virtual conferences with unique communication platforms. Honestly, the conference networking varies; however, at most of the conferences I’ve attended, there’s an option to randomly be paired to chat with someone else in the conference. Of course, at the talks you attend, you can also network with the speakers (though some speeches are pre-recorded). 

 

LinkedIn

This is a bit of a classic. I view LinkedIn as a way to stay connected with all the people you might meet. At the end of a conference or presentation, I usually try to connect with the presenter or I share my LinkedIn with a group. This way, you can always have a point of contact with those who you have met. 

 

Slack / Discord

Slack and Discord are platforms to chat and call. Traditionally, Slack has been more professional whereas Discord has been more for gaming. However, recently, I’ve seen a shift towards Discord, with companies such as Microsoft, TigerGraph, and RASA having community Discord platforms. In fact, a trend I’ve recently been noticing is that a lot of tech companies have been using platforms traditionally built for gamers, such as Twitch and Discord.