Networking for a tech job in the U.S. federal government

I'd really like to work as a software-, web-, or application developer for the U.S. federal government or one of its vendors. I'd be entering as a non-veteran, non-preferred, citizen member of the public.

I'm searching regularly, and would like to augment that with personal networking. How do I meet people who could advise or refer me?

I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, which had some GovTech meetups that seem to be defunct now. Are there other events or forums to attend?

Please don't suggest Code For America. I've had my application rapidly denied (I'm over 40, which was probably a factor).

Thanks a ton for the context here! totally agree on the strategy of using more personal networking :) Maybe @LaurenPatti has ideas given the work at MxD (context of what MxD does here
Hmm maybe @Leahgrace @Manda @madroscla might have some insight on job boards or resources/places to source open roles?
Hi Akiko, a couple of things: There are not too many jobs in the federal government for software engineers Most of these jobs are filled by contractors. Some, like Ad Hoc and Nava, work more like private sector startups, but many have been in federal contracting a long time and use a lot of buzz words to sound more modern. There are a few places, namely USDS, and 18f, that employ engineers, but they are term limited (2 years, 2 terms, a total of 4 years) and are still in that “consultant” model like a contractor. Some USDS work is also advisory, rather than building product, similar to Presidential Innovation, another path to term employment. There is also Tech Congress, which is similar.
Sorry writing from my phone and the Elpha platform got weird. Anyway, once you have been exposed to working in the Federal Government, you’ll have a better sense of where folks might be hiring engineering folks (GSA is one place that comes to mind), but most technical roles are architect/staff eng or higher, and more focused on rules and tools than writing great code. There are a few exceptions, including a small section of USCIS, but I don’t have good visibility into their hiring process and there’s no such thing as a referral in federal employment. Hope that helps!
this is so interesting!
Oh and to the best of my knowledge (and a CfA alum) they no longer run a fellowship program.
Thank you so much for these details, none of which I would have known otherwise. Your response proves why personal networking is so valuable!
Curious are you set and stone on working for the Fed government? I am asking because I wonder if you could look for companies that provide the Fed government? Eg. some consulting companies that do federal consulting you could be involved on the tech team on some of these assignments?
I am looking at both the govt. and its vendors. I have friends who have very satisfying careers in defense contracting, for instance. Unfortunately, they're not in tech practice areas, so don't have useful referrals for me.
I see thanks for specifying. will keep eyes peeled