How can you derive value from developer inspired meet up groups?
Part of the selfless developer inspiration series.
As any newbie will tell you going to a software developer inspired meetup is a great way to meet people who are within your industry.
They are a means to chat about what you are doing and to speak to people about the challenges that they face within the industry.
What is a technical meetup?
Meetups are a chance to redress the balance between people who are working in other sectors who wish to move in to the coding industry. As with all things there are successes and pitfalls with all meetups.
In my experience, it is very important for you to define your expectations before you attend the meetup. This will help you assess whether the meetups over a period of time are worth going to or not.
Meanwhile, a while ago I started attending the London Laravel meetup and the London Vuejs meetup.
London Laravel Meetup
The London Laravel meetup have been in operation for a number of years whilst the London Vuejs meetup had only just started up at the time.
The format of these events consisted of two talks that were spread out over the course of each evening.
The London Laravel meetups were carefully organised and the talks were very informative and very useful.
Usually during a new software release there were webinars and this was a wonderful opportunity to put forward your carefully crafted questions to the founder.
The webinars were extremely valuable to me as a web developer because they were an important opportunity to define my narratives.
You will be pleased to know that there were people here who offered to assistance in finding opportunities within the software industry.
I actively participated in applying for these opportunities (I took part in a mock interview in a city pub) but sadly my efforts were placed in the recycle bin.
Meanwhile, I needed to forge a new narrative so I decided to join the London Vuejs meetups.
London Vuejs meetup
The London Vuejs meetups at the time were organised by two people from the Laravel meetups.
At the time, there was a lot of buzz coming from the newly formed meetups and I was very enthused about the potential opportunities. (I took a day off work to go)
The funny thing was that both organisers have personalities that were polar opposites of each other.
One of them is very open minded and he is very open to new ideas and congruent. You will be pleased to know we got on “like a house on fire”.
Whilst the other person had a career in acting before coming in to the world of tech.
I attended these meetups over a 6-month period and I was steadily developing my craft at the time and I was interested in developing a career in Vuejs.
On separate occasions, I asked the organisers how would I be able to land a position as a developer.
The person who I got on with like a house on fire was very helpful and he provided me with the steps on how to accomplish this by setting up a portfolio as the first stage.
On completion of the portfolio I asked the former actor whether he was prepared to place me as a recommended junior developer?
He replied “Oh I forgot”. Three months later his response was “Can you give me your email again, I forgot”. I quickly realised that he was a serial procrastinator.
Procrastination is a means of self-sabotage and it allows people to shift blame from themselves on to other people.
Over the past 15 years I have worked in varying multifaceted domains. I have lived and worked in a developing country teaching ICT to teenagers within an International School. I have also worked for large banks all over the City and Canary wharf. This means that I have communication skills that are highly developed and they can be applied to a wide variety of challenging environments.
Simple effective communication is extremely important in the development of meaningful relationships.
The former actor’s response is a symptom of a wider malaise in that there are some people who lack integrity and this creates difficulties in building relationships.
Moreover, I was looking through the comment section within social media and I stumbled across a comment that a member had posted. The comment thanked the former actor for the recommendation he provided to him, that led to his appointment in a new software developer position.
Sadly this was one of the many reasons why I terminated my membership of the group.
Please remember that my experiences should not influence or prevent you from taking the opportunities that these meetups have to offer. I have met wonderful people at these meetups who are keen and very eager to nurture new talent so that you can excel.
As we all know the software development industry is not known for its enduring commitment to empathy, there are so many examples of this for example HBO’s Silicon Valley’s Laurie Bream’s character is robotic in her decision making and she is completely emotionless and extremely terse in her choice of words.
I have come from an area of industry in which empathy is critical to the success of how organisations manage existential problems within the software industry through support. Who knows perhaps support is the complete antipathies to software development.
Let’s build professional networks that are based on integrity and provide deeper meaningful engagement with each other. Stop viewing other collaborators as the enemy and let’s work together.
Whilst I acknowledge that meetups may not be for everyone, I would encourage you to join them.
Depending on your expectactions, meetups are places where you can do the following:
1. Raise your profile
2. Take advantage of opportunities
3. Build meaningful relationships
4. Find qualitative advice on side projects you may be working on
These benefits will help you along once you become proficient in your craft. This is because you will have established yourself in the industry and if you develop a niche and you target you niche you will be in business.
Always remember that you will be best placed to decide whether they meet your expectations or not.
However, if you aren’t ready for it there are alternatives.
Why don’t you try going to the codebar this is a place where you can mingle and meet experienced developers and they can look through your code in small groups.
These groups are made up of people from under represented communities in a safe and collaborative environment with an established code of conduct.