As rewarding as we find our careers in Information Technology, it’s an industry that can often mean long, irregular hours; days spent sitting (or, to protect our increasingly compressed discs, standing!) in front of computer screen; and to top it all off, it often means many solitary hours with little to no social interaction. Whether you work from home or office.
A Tech Meetup group can often be the antidote to the isolation in which tech and knowledge workers spend their days. It’s an opportunity to emerge from the vacuum and see who else is out there doing diverse and inspiring things in the industry in your community.
But with the long hours is it really worth spending yet more time ‘on’ at the end of the busy workday to attend a Meetup group?
Tech Meetups offer any number of opportunities, personal and professional, to connect with like-minded professionals, or anyone else interested in IT. And, they’re FREE! They are often held at an office space, a co-work space, or even a casual pub environment and can consist of presentations, discussions, break-outs as well as simply socializing.
If we want to avoid getting caught up in our own little workaday bubble, a professional vacuum, your local Tech Meetup is a great opportunity to keep up with the advancements in technology, gain new insights and knowledge about your market, and engage in some personal and professional development. A Meetup lets you express your passion for what you do, or a particular technology, making these events a great place to learn and network with other passionate individuals within your local technology community.
If you’re still a Meetup sceptic, thinking ‘I don’t know anyone’, ‘I don’t know enough about the topic’ and ‘what will getting involved in a local meet-up do for me?’, wondering what exactly you can gain from a local technical Meetup, here are five great reasons to get you out the door for some fun as you connect with your IT peers:
Expand your learning- No two Meetups are the same! There are events where the wonderful organizers often arrange relevant speakers or information on pertinent topics to kick things off. There are others where the gathering is simple and unstructured. In either case, you can be sure to leave the Meetup having learned something new. Each exchange is an opportunity for expanding your knowledge, discovering new things and some much needed inspiration.
Connect with new people & businesses – A Tech Meetup is a fantastic way to network and make valuable new connections. In fact, a good Meetup is designed towards that end. It’s a safe, non-threatening place to put yourself out there, meet potential collaborators, recruiters, or workers in the tech space. It’s a welcoming environment, where attendees make the effort to return as often as they’re able, and where you’ll likely make some new friends.
Share experiences, successes and challenges – As stated earlier, tech and knowledge workers can often spend much of their time in isolation, enjoying victories and successes as well as sucking up the challenges and failures, alone. A Meetup is a great way to share insights gained from your experiences, offer and receive advice, or perhaps simply commiserate with others who have been there themselves.
Promote your brand – A Meetup is a terrific way to promote your business, product or service! They can be your secret weapon to building your business and can open up opportunities for learning, collaboration, and growth. If you choose to present you’ll be well positioned to confirm your credibility and authority in your field and market as well.
Free snacks & beer (sometimes wine, too!) – This may not necessarily standard, but it’s often the case. Consider it a tasty bonus to top off all the other benefits you’ll enjoy in attending!
Maybe free snacks and beer might not be enough to get you out after a busy day, but the other reasons should make it an easy sell. Tech Meetups are typically held monthly and it really is ideal if you can attend as many as possible to give you a chance to get to know others in your community and gain valuable knowledge!