Meetups why and how
I want to talk about the reasons why people should or already attend meetups. Some of this can resonate with you. Some you might find novel. And some you may find absurd. But regardless here is my list:
Most trivial yet worth mentioning is all the free stuff you can have. Whether its free food or drinks, a t-shirt or a bottle opener with a logo of the latest framework. The weakest point why you should visit a meetup. Yet, who doesn’t like free stuff?
The Actual Talks
These meetups are originated about sharing the knowledge and experience. Therefore, if you have a chance of learning something new. I see no reason why you would avoid the opportunity to become a more valuable developer.
This is a funny one. I don’t know any accountants who do papers in their spare time. However, I do know a lot of people in IT industry who don’t leave home that often. Take the opportunity, go to a meetup, step out of your comfort zone and talk to a stranger. This is a natural human need. No IRC, Facebook or FaceTime can replace a real human interaction. Talk to the people, get involved and be social. The breaks between the talk are exactly for that. Also, many of the meetups are followed with a hang out in a bar. It is worth to check it out too. A lot of ‘behind the scenes’ and other funny stuff is shared there that you probably would want to hear about.
The last and the most important reason to attend a meetup is networking. 90% of the time the place hosting the venue is hiring. Haven’t we all heard that cheeky line at the end of a talk ’oh and by the way we are hiring’. Meetups is the ultimate source of work. You may be headhunted via your past work, reference from past clients or discovered on GitHub profile. But people enjoy working with real people. Talk to strangers, talk to people who give talks, ask them what they do, tell them what you do. This is an easy way to either make a new friend or meet an employer/collaborator.
I mostly use these two sites to see what is going on in my area and find venues that I would like to attend.
If this topic got you hooked Late nights with Trav & Los have a great podcast called How To Enjoy Yourself At A Conference. Where Travis shares his experience and ideology of how you should approach going to a meetup. I strongly recommend to give it a listen.
If you are most interested in finding a job or a work partner you probably want to attend not only developer meetup. But also the ones in the close related fields such as design. Designers need someone to bring their ideas to life and you can be that someone.
Finally if you consider yourself a hardcore introvert, who would never enjoy himself at a social event, just for you I would like to finish this post with a quote by Alfred from ‘Batman Begins’
Who knows, Master Wayne, you start pretending to have fun... You might even have a little by accident.