Be Thankful for User Groups
One of my first tasks on the marketing team was to create an intro video for a User Group in New York. I had never heard of a user group prior to working at Stackify. As far as User Groups were concerned, there were 2 things I knew when I started. First, Stackify develops products to help developers be better developers. Second, developers should know about us. I’ve learned a little since then. Not only are user groups a great way to get the word out about new tools for developers, but it’s a great way to socialize and network.
I recently attended the Kansas City .NET User Group’s year-end meeting with a co-worker. There were around 40 people in attendance from various industries, professions, backgrounds, etc. When I arrived, most everyone was face down in their phones or laptops, but as soon as the meeting started the familiar upward glow from overworked devices soon faded and the meeting got underway.
There was a panel of well-established .NET developers that were also co-founders or owners of their own dev companies. Panel members included: Lee Brandt (Developer Evangelist at Stormpath & Director of the Kansas City Developer Conference), John Alexander (CEO of AJi Software), Heather Downing (Senior Mobile Development Engineer at VML) and Duane Newman (Co-Founder of Alien Arc Technologies, LLC). The topic of discussion by the panel was around where .NET is headed and what new Microsoft Technologies mean for the future of our industry.
While I found the panel discussion very informative, as a noob, some of the discussion went over my head (e.g. when diving in deep about coding languages), and at times I felt a little out of place. That said, I was able to keep up to for the most part. If anything, my need to be “in the know” gave me plenty of topics to brush up on! What I found interesting was the open forum style of the event. The room was full of top professionals in the Kansas City area, sharing their passion with like-minded people about tools, methods and suggestions to improve development, and their lives in general. The level of experience did not matter, social status did not matter, just a free flow of ways to make .NET developer lives easier. It became apparent that the people in this room had a passion about development and were not just there for the free food & swag…though that part is always a bonus!
After the panel, there were several attendees that stuck around for a raffle, boards games and to socialize. We even found ourselves quite popular at the panel’s conclusion, as several attendees waited their turn to get a Stackify dev humor t-shirt (e.g. Code Blooded: Kill(a);) or our version of Developers Against Humanity. In my opinion, the biggest part of the meet up was the networking opportunities. There are plenty chances to collaborate and share ideas, technologies, etc.
If you are ever invited to and/or are on the fence about attending a user group, go and check it out! Not only are they informative, but they afford attendees the opportunity to network and share solutions and ideas to make developer’s lives easier. If .NET isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other user groups in the KC Metro area, not to mention other midwestern cities.
At the end of the day, Stackify and user groups have the same mission statement: Develop tools for developers to help developers be better developers. So, be thankful for your local user group this holiday season and check one out. If nothing else, you will meet some really smart, really cool people in the process, and you might even learn a thing or two! Besides…you never know where a Stackify Swag DevBox might show up next!
by Kevin McCoy
Stackify Marketing Team
If you are outside of the KC Metro area, a great place to start to find your local User Group is meetup.com. There are over 100 User Groups in KC for technology alone! If you are passionate about what you do, find something you are interested in, attend a user group and get involved!
Here’s a few of the Midwest User Groups
|User Groups||Type||# of Members||City||State|
|Illinois JUG – Chicago||Java||756||Chicago||IL|
|Chicago .NET Users Group||.NET||884||Downers Grove||IL|
|KC .NET User Group||.NET||949||Leawood||KS|
|Chicago .NET Developers Downtown||.NET||1301||Chicago||IL|
|St Louis JUG||Java||1042||St Louis||MO|
|Schaumburg Microsoft .NET Technologies Meetup||.NET||553||Schaumburg||IL|
|Illinois JUG – Northwest||Java||390||Schaumburg||IL|
|Software Development Comunity (SDC)||.NET and Java||1808||Naperville||IL|
|Kansas City Sprint User Group||Java||396||Kansas City||MO|
|All Things Web Tech||.NET and Java||966||Chicago||IL|
|Springfield .NET Users Group||.NET||208||Springfield||MO|
|KC Code Mentors||.NET||424||Kansas City||MO|
|Como .NET User Group||.NET||100||Columbia||MO|
|KC Tech Happy Hour||Unspecified||395||Kansas City||MO|