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TechShock – A tech meetup

TechShock

The developers here at VG have been talking about wanting to arrange a meetup for quite some time. At some point we sat down and tried to nail down the details of how we would arrange it. We created a group on Meetup and about a month later, on September 25th, we held our very first meetup event. It was a big success. A month later, we did our second event – focusing on the mobile application discussion around native/hybrid and web solutions. On Wednesday, December 4th, we’re arranging our third event. Title: Modern PHP.

I feel bad for not having written about the meetup group on our blog before, but figured it was better late than never. I apologize to anyone that might have missed our events. The intention of this post is to share our thoughts starting up and going forward – as well as a short background.

Roots

We’re working on a lot of different projects at VG. While most people familiar with the company probably relate it directly to the newspaper and website (VG.no), we’re doing a whole lot of other projects as well. At some point, we realized that each team or single developer was constantly learning and discovering new things that other people might not be aware of – which is something we wanted to change. About once a week, we sit down for 15 to 45 minutes and have one person share something they’ve learned.

Expanding

Sharing knowledge between the team members is a good thing. It makes us more curious, keeps us updated, gives us inspiration and helps us develop cool new things. But we wanted to take things even further. We wanted to invite people in and share not just our own knowledge, but also learn from others. We’re always looking to get in touch with talented, inspiring people – starting a meetup group and arranging events would enable us to do so.

Current state

At the time of writing, there are 267 members of our group – feel free to become the 268th. We’ve done two meetups and our third is right around the corner. Our goal was to try and have an event every month – this is proving to be quite challenging, but we’re hoping to keep hitting that target, but might have to settle for once every 6 weeks.

Arranging these events takes quite a bit of work. Booking a location and finding a suitable date is the easy part – figuring out a topic for the event and finding speakers is a lot more challenging. Sometimes we want to do some of the talks ourselves. Writing these presentations are a lot of work, and it takes guts to get onto that stage in front of ~90 enthusiastic people eager to learn.

The future

Going forward, we’re hoping to get more external speakers, and would love to hear from you should you want to talk at one of our events. Feel free to suggest topics for events as well!

The social aspect of our events have been a real success – a lot of people show up, new friends are made and there is a really good vibe. We hope this keeps up!

There is no clear schedule of event topics planned at this time, but we are going to touch events not only focused on programming, but everything from UX, project management, robots, automation, scaling, testing and lots of other topics.

Feedback

We are developers, not professional event organizers. It’s important to us that we keep getting better. If you have attended the meetups and have feedback, or you have not attended any of our meetups for reasons we can do something about – please – get in touch. Email us, write a message on our meetup discussion board or leave a comment on this post. We’d love to hear from you, no matter if your feedback is good or bad!

The name?

The name of our meetup group (TechShock) is a true testament to the Phil Karlton’s quote:

There are only two hard things in Computer Science:
Cache invalidation and naming things.

We made it up initially as a code-name for our internal knowledge-sharing program, but couldn’t think of anything better.

Summing up

If you have not joined up already, you should definitely head over to Meetup and join our group. You’ll find all the event details there and you will get an announcement each time we a new meetup is posted. See you at the next meetup, right?

Developer at VG with a passion for Node.js, React, PHP and the web platform as a whole. espen.codes - @rexxars


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