This month, I started my own dev community, Tampa Devs! I had my first event which had a turn out of about ~30 people.
I wanted to write in this post why I started this group, and what I hope to see it in long term.
A few years ago, I didn't have any experience as a software developer. I struggled for the longest time learning on my own, trying to make it through into tech.
I would watch youtube tutorials and go through freecodecamp and get lost on "what should I be learning?" mentality. Basically tutorial hell
Sometimes I'd ask for help online on forums like stackoverflow. Questions I asked got downvoted to oblivion and I always felt discouraged when I couldn't figure out a bug.
It got to the point where I gave up several times before picking back things up again
Luckily I found a community called OrlandoDevs. Some of my closest friends are junior developers I met through here several years abck.
We went through trials by fire together at hackathons, learned to do presentations, got our first jobs, and so much more. Eventually one of those friends became my podcast cohost for CodeChefs
I look back and remember these good times. I went to a meetup almost everyday there, these topics ranged anywhere from iOS to android and everything inbetween.
Heck, people called me "Mr Meetup" because I was basically at one of these events everyday.
I learned so much in such a short time span.
I moved to a new city a few years back. Even though the city I currently reside in (Tampa) is considered one of the fastest growing tech cities, I just don't feel that same sense of community.
Now I have friends starting in tech. I see myself in them, when I first started.
Struggling through tutorial hell. Struggling to even get an interview for their first job. Asking a million questions like "Should I learn X or Y?".
Being road blocked by bugs they can't figure out or being rejected at interviews because of their citizenship status.
Right now, I provide mostly career advice. But that only gets them so far. Had I started my career like them in this city, I don't think I would've made it this far
This is why I created TampaDevs. It's to bring back the magic of the first real developer community I experienced when I started my career.
I've only hosted two events so far, and both turned out pretty successful. The first was a group networking event, and I've been able to have some of my more successful senior friends mentor my more junior buddies.
The 2nd was a hackathon where we won $4100 in prize money. A huge resume padder for sure, and I've been able to teach my friends how software applications are built.