Attending My First Meetup

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Attempting to network and surround myself with similarly minded people.

Person giving a presenting in a classroom

What Is Meetup?

Meetup is self-described as “Meetup is a platform for finding and building local communities.” It’s a website where you can look for groups in your area that are full of people that share a similar interest with you. The groups tend to be themed such as sports, improv and acting, or in the case of the one I attended last night, JavaScript!

I joined the group Long Island JavaScript Group a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t wait to attend their monthly meeting. So, let’s talk more about it.

Meetup Agenda

While every meetup is different, they tend to stick to some sort of an agenda, from my understanding. The one I attended went from 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm and contained two presentations – the first was on OWASP’s (Open Web Application Security Project) top ten security risks as of 2017. The second was a presentation of a current Bootcamp attendees 1st demo web app, a workout tracker using Ruby on Rails and JS.

person writing in a small journal/notebook with a laptop in the background

What Was It Like?

While neither presentation was immediately useful to me, it was still a great experience. I got to meet real web developers – it was exciting for me to see web devs in the wild.

Networking is a huge reason to attend Meetups – 99% of the attendees last night were already working in the field which could help me in a couple of ways:

  1. Everyone there is a new source of knowledge I didn’t have before

  2. When it comes time to look for jobs it is going to be crucial to know people who may help me break into this brand-new industry…brand new for me, that is.

The networking alone is reason enough for you to start attending Meetups if you haven’t already. Depending on your skill level some of the content will likely be over your head, but that’s okay! There are multiple reasons one should attend something like this.

People were friendly and easy to talk to. Nobody was condescending in the slightest about me having done this for just a few months (at the time of writing). On the contrary, everyone was super supportive which was great!

Side note: If you are not already, please find parts of the coding community where you belong. The super arrogant & obnoxious 1% is exactly that – 1% of all the coders and developers out there. Everyone else is super helpful, supportive, and encouraging which is exactly what newbies need.

a picture of a city landscape

What’s next?

I am looking forward to more Meetups! I’ve found another local group called Developer Deep Dives which I am greatly looking forward to as well. If you are shy or socially anxious, do what you can to get out there and meet people! A great first step would just be attending one of these, even if you don’t speak to anyone – you can work on that for your 2nd one.

I eventually hope to speak at a Meetup. Being a former professional musician, performing (or speaking) in front of a crowd does not bother me. In fact, I perform better under that pressure, so I am very much looking forward to presenting something. Whether it be my portfolio and projects, a JS app I am working on, or talking about beginner topics I feel comfortable in.

In my short few months on this journey this community on Twitter, Discord, Meetups, and more have already given me so much that I can’t wait to give back.