Nodeschool in Honolulu

George Lee
Nov 8, 2014 · 3 min read

At the time of this writing, we have had two Nodeschool events here in sunny Honolulu, so tl;dr it’s been pretty successful. Admittedly, I had concerns going in to the first event. Sure, Nodeschool has been successful worldwide with new chapters opening every day, but that doesn’t mean it’d be a guaranteed success. Being the organizer for Ohana.js (our local Javascript user’s group), I was unsure of how well it’d be received given that you can do the workshops in the comfort of your own home. I think learning with others is great, but I also think it’s a hard sell on others.

Our first meetup was on October 7th, 2014 and we had about 25 people attend. Most of the attendees were either regulars to Ohana.js meetups or students at Dev League (our local hacker school). The Dev League students only had about 2 weeks of Javascript under their belt (and at the time of this event, the Javascripting workshop was not available), but their instructors and TAs were available for help. In the future, we’ll definitely check out the Javascripting workshop for people who might be new to programming.

At the first meetup, we had a lot of trouble with the wifi connection, but we eventually got it to work. Once that was up, we did some introductions to break the ice. @wangbus and @taesup of Slickage then did a great job of explaining what Node is and how they use it at their company. Many thanks to them for doing that introduction, as I was ready to jump in to code right away.

For the first event, we just stuck with Learn You Node. We went through the exercises one at a time, first introducing the problem before giving students time to implement a solution. We had a good ratio of students to mentors, although I got the sense that some mentors wanted to be working on workshops themselves. @wangbus, @taesup, and I took turns implementing solutions to the first 6 exercises in Learn You Node. Overall, everyone was able to follow along and the response was very positive. We proposed that we do these events monthly and the group was unanimous in agreement.

Before the second event, I set up a poll on Facebook asking attendees what workshops they were interested in. The clear winner was Stream Adventure, so we had two groups at the second Nodeschool event on November 4th, 2014: one that continued Learn You Node and one that started on Stream Adventure. Our turnout at the second event was a bit smaller (partly my fault, as I didn’t advertise this one as much), but there were still some new faces. @taesup and I lead the Learn You Node group, where we quickly went over the first 6 before getting started on 7. By the end of the night, we only got to exercise 9, which was a bit challenging for those who are newer to programming. I believe the Stream Adventure group got to exercise 6 or 7 before calling it quits.

Overall, I’d say the event was a success. There are some things I need to get better at (namely sponsorships or at least getting some snacks in the room), but the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Some attendees continued to work on workshops after the event was over. Clearly, my fears of Nodeschool events not working were unfounded. The events weren’t flawless, but we’re going to get better every time we do it.

Finally, mahalo to @wangbus, @taesup, @theremix, @thgaskell, @mrbarbasa, and others who provided suggestions, helped set up, and mentored students. I’m way too disorganized to put this all together myself. You guys are awesome!

    George Lee

    Written by

    Software Engineer at Hobnob. Always learning.