When I started at MagenTys I was unaware of what a “Meetup” was, of course, I have heard of the term “meet-up” but I always thought this was a general term used to y’know “meet up” with someone. In case I didn’t use the term enough in my last sentence*, the definition of Meetup is “an informal meeting or gathering” so pretty much on the same lines of what I was thinking. After I had been at MagenTys for a few weeks I came to understand there was another type of Meetup, on a more topic-specific and larger scale, and we held these quite regularly. We used a website to help initiate these and advertise them to the wider community, this website was funnily enough called meetup.com. Meetup.com is a great website which helps people organise, host and look for gatherings relating to their interested topic, this can range from industries and programs like tech and Microsoft to hobbies and interests such as cooking and art. The Meetups we organise at MagenTys are usually surrounding the tech industry and the topics that matter most within this area, we have The Community for Agile Testing and Digital Technology London.
After I had organised the first couple of Meetups, I came to understand that the tech community is a large and enthusiastic bunch of people. They have a lot to say about the varied topics they are so passionate about. For a little more context, during our Meetups, we usually have a company host the event and possibly give a talk and then a member of the community gives another talk. These talks can vary in subject matter but usually revolve around the tech industry and/or the projects they are currently working on. The Meetups can take place at any time during the day – “Breakfast seminars” or “Lunch and Learns”, but the majority of events we host at MagenTys take place between 6pm and 9pm
With the sheer amount of events that take place from week to week, it’s lovely to see so many people voluntarily spend their free time after work to attend these meetups. When asked why people choose to spend their own time attending events featured around the same line of work they are in, I was met with a few different answers:
“I feel that in this industry you need to continuously keep up with the latest trends and innovations”
“I learn different approaches to tackle the same problems I have on my business, people are always open to share with you what they do and how they do it”
“I like to network as you keep in touch after and this also generates and adds value over the knowledge you can acquire on those sessions“.
Here I have summarised the best points about meetups and why people choose to attend:
Learning outside your usual environment
Although you may think that attending a tech event after having spent all day at work around the same topic areas may be a bit of a drag, some people find it refreshing to be within a different environment. Some may even find it beneficial for their own learning and find it easier to adsorb new information in a different setting.
Learn from other people in the industry with real examples
Meetups are a great way to learn from your peers and provide real examples that you may not have come across yourself or yet to experience. It is a great environment to troubleshoot any projects you are currently working on and find a solution you may not have originally thought of.
Of course, an obvious benefit of attending Meetups is to network with like-minded individuals and other people who work within your field, be it DevOps, Agile or any sector you work in, such as Finance. It’s also a great opportunity to find a new role if you are in the market for a new job as many of the hosts will advertise if they are currently hiring.
Latest trends and innovations
Branching off from points 1 and 2, Meetups are a great opportunity to keep up to date with latest trends and innovations. Your current working environment may not be as easily exposed to the latest updates and deployments within the tech sector. Attending Meetups gives you that opportunity to hear about the latest developments
Check out some cool venues
Let’s face it, we’d all love a good snoop inside some businesses especially if the Meetups are being hosted at some big names, you get a chance to see what their offices are like from the inside! At The Community for Agile Testing a few of our hosts have included Amazon, Moo and Just Eat, and this was a great opportunity to check out their offices, especially if you work in a smaller company or are big fans of said company.
Platform to practice material
Meetups offer a great opportunity for anyone who has a talk they wish to practice for an upcoming conference or debate as a lot of Meetups offer their talk slots to their communities. This gives people the perfect environment to practice, get feedback and refine their talk for their upcoming event!
Making new friends
And last but not least, attending meetups gives you the opportunity to make some great friends and connections! Some may find it difficult to make these connections if it wasn’t for meetups as outside of work they may not be able to have the time or environment to find people interested int he same topics as they are. It’s nice to think Meetups give a platform for like-minded people to share their knowledge and interests with one another.
These are just a short list of some of the reasons people choose to spend their free time at tech Meetups and what people find beneficial about getting together at these events. And, as mentioned previously, there are probably hundreds of Meetups available around a bunch of different topics and interests. These are some of our attendees and personal favourites:
The Community of Agile Testing (Of course)
Our aim is to bring together people who are interested in Agile Testing to form a community where we can explore the role, share experiences and help provide the industry with greater clarity of what the role involves.
This meet-up focuses on Enterprise Agility, new ways of working which enable enterprises to offer value and opportunity to their customers.
Although these are on a larger scale, Tech City UK help digital tech companies grow through a series of programmes, research, and events aimed at building a pipeline of high-growth businesses, raising the profile of the sector, and providing a feedback loop from business to government to help shape policy. We also work to eliminate the issues that hold back startups such as skills and access to finance.
They are a global community focused on agile and organisational change and their vision is to make working life better.
They showcase the latest DevOps technologies available to individuals and companies in the UK.
In conclusion, Meetups are a great way to way to meet new people and make friends who share similar interests and work in the same area as you do. It is also a perfect opportunity to learn and grow in areas you may usually not have the opportunity to be exposed to and perhaps also find solutions to any situations you are struggling with within your profession. For the sake of a couple of hours for an event of an evening, there is a lot to be gained, so what are you waiting for? We have only mentioned a few communities out there but there are loads to be found!
What are your favourite meetups and why do you enjoy attending them? Use #ILoveOurTechCommunity and #ILoveMyTechMeetup to join the conversation on Twitter.
*And for good measure, the word ‘Meetup’ was mentioned a total of 27 times throughout this blog post.
Marketing Executive at MagenTys