Local User Groups on the Rise

Jan 28th, 2019

A user group is defined as a group of people who have similar goals, interests, or concerns in both personal and business aspects of computing. Typically, members of these groups meet on a regular basis to share ideas, meet new people, and discuss the future of the technology the group is interested in.

In this case, the user groups of The New York Tech Loop are located throughout the region (Troy, Albany, Saratoga Springs, and Schenectady). Our user groups span multiple technologies from the Kubernetes platform to the SQL Server User Group. Many of these meetups can be found at: https://nytechloop.org/events

As a developer, it is crucial to stay up to date on the latest technology while taking part in the social, in-person conversations going on around the technology you're working with. As we at the NYTL work to bring the software community together, we've come across multiple local user groups that can benefit you as a developer and have highlighted two groups to give you an idea of what they have to offer.

Let's start with the most recent, Capital Region Kubernetes User Group. We recently spoke with founder Mark Abrams who for almost 20 years, has worked with tech startups in all capacities. His mission is to evangelize open software and is now leading the push to bring together the Kubernetes users in the region.

The Capital Region Kubernetes User Group was founded in November 2018 with the goal of discovering, combining, and expanding, the open source community within the region. Sponsored by Rancher Labs, the group has grown quickly on Meetup with over 85 members to date. The meetups are about understanding the Kubernetes platform, help people with their pitches for events like KuberCon, and inspiring others to share what they are learning. Mark states that "no one is a master of the Kubernetes platform yet since is just a few years old and there's still much to learn and discover". His short term goal is to bring together the Kubernetes community in the region and then focus on drawing in some "experts" to speak, share and teach what they've learned.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Capital-Saratoga Region AWS User Group which has been around for about two years and has brought together 284 members. Founder Scott Stewart has done a great job of bringing together developers, engineers, and technology professionals who are all interested in Amazon Web Services. AWS "has been cushing it over the past few years...around everything from machine learning, serverless computing, iOT, and data storage scalability."

To give you an idea of the amount of growth and interest in AWS in the region, the first AWS User Group meetup was in February 2017 with 11 engaged people in attendance. Now, the meetups have continued to vary from general roundtable discussions to presentations to very general things like "how to make Websites run faster using AWS Web Services offerings." Now, Scott is looking for the 284 AWS User Group members to double this year (NYTL will be there to help)! This meetup might seem large and intimidating but Scott and all the other members make it clear that all levels of technical knowledge are welcomed, from beginner to expert.

Some of the user groups are focused on a particular technology or application but are all very welcoming to newcomers. Mark (Founder of the Kubernetes User Group) said it best; "It might be scary for newcomers to get involved because they might see it as a group of experts but we want this to be welcoming to all because we are all here to learn and grow." The benefit to these in-person groups is that you get to meet, learn from, and teach people who are interested in technology that you are also. You get to chat with people in person and don't have to wait for a response to a thread in order to get answers.

"A lot of time its hard to even know what you should be looking for in order to learn something online. In other words, often to learn something online, you need to know what it is you are trying to learn." - Scott Stewart

If you're interested in joining a user group or are always looking for more information on local software related events, follow us on social media and we'll keep you informed.

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