Top 10 Strategies for Networking Your Way into Chicago's Tech Scene

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: July 7th 2024

Networking event in Chicago's tech scene with people exchanging ideas and business cards.

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Discover top strategies for networking in Chicago's tech scene, including attending 1871 events, joining the Chicago Tech Slack community, participating in meetups like Chicago Tech Meetup and MATTER events, and engaging with Chicago Women Developers. Boost your exposure and connections through platforms like Built In Chicago, Techstars Chicago, and University of Chicago Innovation Fest. Volunteering at Chi Hack Night and joining MobileMonday Chicago also offer unique opportunities to learn and connect with industry professionals.

1871 is more than just a tech hub - it's a vibrant community where aspiring founders, innovators, and tech enthusiasts gather to connect, learn, and grow.

They host a ton of signature events throughout the year, covering everything from pitch competitions and innovation summits to career fairs and startup accelerator programs.

Whether you're an entrepreneur seeking mentorship or a coding whiz looking to network, there's something for everyone.

But 1871 isn't just about events; it's a catalyst for driving Chicago's tech scene forward.

As a cornerstone of the city's innovation ecosystem, it fosters collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and serendipitous connections that can propel your career to new heights.

With a thriving community of successful startups and established companies, you'll have ample opportunities to learn from industry leaders and potentially land your dream gig.

Immersing yourself in 1871's dynamic environment can open doors you never knew existed.

From networking mixers and thought-provoking panels to coding bootcamps like the ones offered by Nucamp, you'll gain the skills, connections, and exposure to truly thrive in Chicago's competitive tech landscape.

Dive into the heart of the city's innovation hub and unlock your full potential.

Table of Contents

  • Join the Chicago Tech Slack Community
  • Participate in Meetups via Chicago Tech Meetup
  • Network at MATTER Chicago Events
  • Engage with Chicago Women Developers
  • Take Part in Techstars Chicago
  • Connect Through Built In Chicago
  • Attend University of Chicago Innovation Fest
  • Volunteer for Chi Hack Night
  • Join the MobileMonday Chicago Community
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Join the Chicago Tech Slack Community


Alright, let's talk about the Chicago Tech Slack. This online community is like a massive group chat for techies in the city, but way more organized and useful.

It's a virtual hangout spot where you can network, collaborate, and learn from others in the industry. To join, just visit the link and sign up with your email - easy peasy.

Being part of this community is a game-changer, especially if you're trying to break into the tech scene.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Expand your network: Connect with professionals from all kinds of tech backgrounds and companies across Chicago.
  • Stay informed: Get the inside scoop on job opportunities, events, and news straight from community members.
  • Seek advice: Pick the brains of experienced pros for career guidance, technical support, or feedback on your ideas.
  • Collaborate and learn: Join channels dedicated to specific technologies, programming languages, or areas of interest to share knowledge and best practices.

To make the most of this community, here are some tips:

  1. Complete your profile: Fill in details about your expertise, interests, and goals, so others can connect with you more easily.
  2. Be active: Ask questions, share insights, and participate in discussions across different channels.
  3. Attend events: Join virtual events and meetups organized within the community to network and learn from guest speakers or panelists.
  4. Offer to help: Volunteer for community initiatives. It's a great way to demonstrate your value and build rapport with fellow members.

As one seasoned member, Matthew Perez, put it,

"The Chicago Tech Slack is a treasure trove of knowledge and connections. It's a place where you can find mentors, potential collaborators, and even job opportunities, all while learning from a diverse group of passionate individuals."

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

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Participate in Meetups via Chicago Tech Meetup


Chicago's tech scene is absolutely thriving, and one of the best ways to get connected is through Tech in Motion.

This group has been bringing techies together for over a decade, hosting all kinds of events from live webinars to networking mixers. They cover everything – data science, cybersecurity, dev workshops, you name it.

And with chapters all across the country, you know they're legit.

But Tech in Motion isn't the only one. Chicago Startup and Tech Mixer is the spot if you want to mingle with entrepreneurs, startups, and big-name companies like Google and Apple.

These paid events let you rub elbows with some seriously successful people and maybe even find your next business partner or co-founder.

If sports are more your vibe, check out Chicago Sports Tech.

This group is all about the intersection of sports and technology, so you can geek out over wearables, apps, and other cutting-edge innovations in the industry.

Plus, their happy hours are the perfect chance to chat it up with fellow fans.

No matter which meetup you join, remember – it's all about putting yourself out there.

Don't be afraid to introduce yourself, ask questions, and share what you're working on. The more you engage, the more connections you'll make. Your next career move could be just a handshake away.

Network at MATTER Chicago Events


MATTER Chicago is the place to be if you're all about healthcare innovation. It's a community of entrepreneurs and industry leaders who are changing the game.

Their event lineup is impressive, with something for everyone looking to expand their network and stay ahead of the curve.

They've got these programs where you can learn from the best and brightest minds in healthcare.

Like, one week you could be listening to a tech leader share insights on the latest AI breakthroughs, and the next, you're pitching your startup idea to a room full of potential investors.

It's exciting!

MATTER is also all about fostering diversity and inclusivity. They're actively supporting underrepresented groups and making sure everyone has a seat at the table.

That's what innovation is all about.

So, if you're serious about breaking into the healthcare tech scene in Chicago, MATTER is the place to be. Just make sure to come prepared – do your research, bring your best efforts, and don't be afraid to take chances.

The connections you make here could be game-changers for your career.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

Engage with Chicago Women Developers


Chicago Women Developers ( is where it's at if you want to level up your coding skills and connect with other badass ladies in tech.

This non-profit has been making waves since 2014, hosting all kinds of dope events and meetups to empower us women in the STEM field. They've got 5,197 members and a squad of dedicated organizers keeping things fresh.

Some of their upcoming virtual hack nights sound like a total vibe.

On July 11th, 18th, 25th, and August 1st, you can bring your laptop and code alongside other members, no matter your skill level.

It's an open, judgment-free zone to work on your projects or just hang out and pick up some new tricks.

But CWD isn't just about coding sessions. They're all about creating a safe, supportive community for women in programming.

With 763 past events under their belt, including their most recent virtual hack night on July 4th, these ladies know how to cultivate an inclusive space for us to grow, learn, and connect.

Joining CWD means gaining access to a dope network of like-minded professionals.

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, being part of a positive community like this can seriously boost your job satisfaction, career opportunities, and overall confidence in the tech world.

So why not slide into their next event and see what the hype is about? You might just find your new crew or land that dream gig thanks to the connections you make here.

Take Part in Techstars Chicago


Techstars Chicago is where it's at if you're tryna network and level up your startup game. These guys are all about empowering innovators and helping entrepreneurs change the world.

Throughout the year, they host a ton of dope events - from intimate chats with seasoned entrepreneurs to massive showcases. It's the perfect chance to connect with like-minded hustlers and industry vets.

If you're a startup, Techstars Chicago is a game-changer for:

  • Getting noticed: Show off your innovative ideas and products to investors, mentors, and potential partners who can take you to the next level.
  • Making connections: Explore collabs and synergies with other startups, unlocking new growth opportunities.
  • Gaining knowledge: Pick the brains of successful entrepreneurs, VCs, and industry leaders for valuable insights and guidance.

To make the most of these events, here's the 411:

  1. Elevator pitch: Craft an elevator pitch that grabs attention and highlights what makes your startup unique.
  2. Active participation: Get involved in discussions, workshops, and breakout sessions to showcase your expertise.
  3. Building bonds: Build genuine bonds by focusing on shared interests and potential collabs.

Success stories like Cameo, a celeb video shoutout platform, prove the value of Techstars Chicago's resources.

After going through their accelerator program, Cameo secured vital funding and mentorship, propelling their growth to a billion-dollar valuation.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

Connect Through Built In Chicago


Built In Chicago is the place to be if you want to get connected in the city's crazy tech scene.

Their "Events" section is like a one-stop shop for all the coolest networking opportunities in town, whether you're into panel discussions, workshops, happy hours, or pitch competitions.

It's like having a VIP pass to the hottest tech parties in the city.

But Built In Chicago isn't just about events. They've got a whole lot more going on:

  • Company Pages: Get the inside scoop on companies, job openings, and what it's really like to work there. It's like having a backstage pass to check out potential employers or collaborators.
  • Community Resources: Stay in the loop with guides, articles, and resources that'll keep you up-to-date on what's happening in the local tech community.
  • Job Board: Cut the chase and connect directly with the top tech companies that are actually hiring. It's like having a personal matchmaker for your job search and networking efforts.

And let me tell you, people are raving about this platform.

One user said, "Built In Chicago has been instrumental in helping me expand my professional network and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends." Another user praised it for helping them "facilitate meaningful connections and collaborations within the tech community."

To really make the most of Built In Chicago, here are some insider tips:

  1. Create a profile: Create a profile that'll make people go "Wow, I need to connect with this person!" Showcase your skills, experience, and interests in a way that'll make you stand out.
  2. Engage actively: Don't just lurk – engage! Leave comments, ask questions, and share your insights on company pages or community discussions. It's like joining the conversation at the coolest tech meetup.
  3. Follow updates: Follow the companies and professionals you admire, and stay in the know about their latest updates and events. It's like having a personal invite to all the coolest tech parties in town.
  4. Show up to events: Show up to events regularly, and don't be shy about introducing yourself and exchanging contacts with fellow attendees. Networking is all about making connections, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

Trust me, by tapping into the resources and networking opportunities on Built In Chicago, you'll be at the center of Chicago's tech world in no time.

Attend University of Chicago Innovation Fest


The University of Chicago's Innovation Fest is a month-long party celebrating all the game-changing discoveries and entrepreneurial hustle happening on campus.

This student-driven shindig has been bringing together the academic world with industry pros since 2012, and it's the perfect chance to bridge that gap between theory and the real world, while making connections that could level up your network.

Innovation Fest is jam-packed with a diverse lineup of events, like:

  • Startup showcases where aspiring entrepreneurs get to pitch their ideas to investors and mentors
  • Keynote speeches from industry legends and successful UChicago alumni
  • Panel discussions breaking down the latest tech trends and market movements
  • Hands-on workshops and hackathons for leveling up your skills

You'll get to mingle with a mixed bag of professionals, from seasoned execs and venture capitalists to up-and-coming innovators and fellow students.

Past events have hosted heavy hitters like Brian Fitzpatrick, the founder of Tock (acquired by Squarespace), and Mert Iseri, the co-founder of SwipeSense.

To make the most out of your networking game at the University of Chicago Innovation Fest, consider these tips:

  1. Research the event schedule and speaker lineup beforehand to identify who you want to connect with.
  2. Prepare an elevator pitch that sells your background, interests, and goals.
  3. Attend workshops or hackathons to showcase your skills and collaborate with potential future colleagues or business partners.
  4. Follow up with your new connections after the event to keep that rapport going and explore opportunities.

By diving into this energetic environment, you'll gain insights into the latest tech and trends, but more importantly, you'll build connections that could take your career or entrepreneurial dreams to new heights.

Volunteer for Chi Hack Night


Chi Hack Night is the place to be if you're all about using technology to make Chicago better. These gather every Tuesday to get their nerd on, working on projects that help the local community.

It's a melting pot of developers, designers, data scientists, and activists who are stoked about civic tech.

Volunteering at Chi Hack Night is a solid way to level up your skills and meet cool people.

Here's the:

  • Skills Galore: You get to collab with pros and learn all sorts of cutting-edge tech. Coding, data analysis, design - you name it.
  • Do Good, Feel Good: The projects they tackle actually make a difference in the city. Talk about rewarding work.
  • Network Like a Boss: You'll rub elbows with people who share your interests. Who knows, you might even land your next gig through these connections.

To make the most of the networking game while volunteering, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Show up consistently: Familiar faces build trust and open doors.
  2. Speak up and share your ideas: Don't be a wallflower - get involved.
  3. Chat it up during breaks: Ask questions, swap stories, and let your personality shine.
  4. "The people you meet at Chi Hack Night could be your crew for life," says Jennifer White, a long-time volunteer. "It's an awesome community of passionate folks making a real impact."

So, if you're looking to give back while leveling up, Chi Hack Night is where it's at.

You'll gain skills, connect with kindred spirits, and contribute to something truly meaningful. Talk about a triple threat!

Join the MobileMonday Chicago Community


Check it out! If you're a tech geek like me and want to get deep into the Chicago mobile scene, there's this dope community called MobileMonday Chicago.

It's been around since '08, bringing together all the big dogs in mobile tech - developers, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, the whole squad. Their monthly meetups are where it's at, covering the latest and greatest in mobile trends, innovations, and opportunities.

One of the coolest things about MobileMonday Chicago is the chance to connect with so many people who share your passion for mobile tech.

Their website says they've got over 1,500 active members, so you know the networking game is strong. At these events, you get insider access to expert speakers, product demos, and panel discussions - it's like a front-row seat to the future of mobile tech.

But let's be real, the real value is in the connections you make.

As they say, it's all about who you know. So, here are some pro tips for networking like a boss at these MobileMonday events:

  • Show up early and mingle: Don't sleep on those casual pre-event convos. That's prime time to introduce yourself and swap deets.
  • Chat up the speakers: After their talks, hit up the speakers with questions, insights, or just let 'em know you're interested in collaborating.
  • Follow through: Within a few days, follow up with your new connections on email or social media to keep that relationship going and explore opportunities.

By getting plugged into the MobileMonday Chicago crew, you'll stay ahead of the curve in mobile tech and build valuable relationships that could seriously level up your career.

Oh, and don't forget to check out these Nucamp articles on landing that dream tech job in Chicago.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is 1871 and how can it help me network in Chicago's tech scene?

1871 is a cornerstone of Chicago's tech and innovation ecosystem, fostering collaboration and serendipitous connections through a variety of events like pitch competitions, innovation summits, and career fairs. Engaging with 1871 can propel your career to new heights by providing ample opportunities to learn from industry leaders and potentially land your dream job.

How can I join and benefit from the Chicago Tech Slack Community?

To join the Chicago Tech Slack Community, simply visit the link provided and sign up with your email. By being part of this online community, you can expand your network, stay informed about events and news, seek advice from experienced professionals, and collaborate on specific technologies or areas of interest.

What makes Techstars Chicago a valuable networking opportunity?

Techstars Chicago hosts numerous events throughout the year that are ideal for startups looking to gain visibility, make valuable connections, and learn from successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders. It's particularly beneficial for getting noticed by investors, mentors, and potential partners, making connections with other startups, and gaining knowledge from experts.

What types of events does MATTER Chicago offer for healthcare tech networking?

MATTER Chicago offers a diverse range of events such as networking mixers, panels, and pitch sessions where participants can learn from leading minds in healthcare, pitch ideas to investors, and foster diversity and inclusivity. These events are ideal for professionals looking to expand their network and stay ahead in healthcare innovation.

How can I effectively network at Built In Chicago events?

To network effectively at Built In Chicago events, create a standout profile showcasing your skills and interests, engage actively in discussions and company pages, follow updates from admired companies and professionals, and regularly attend events. Engaging in this manner can put you at the center of Chicago's tech world and help you build meaningful connections.

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Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.