The Importance of Community

We left off at a very exciting part of this complex story of mine, where I had found a solid foundation of programmers on Twitter and started finding more on Meetup. One day, I’d come across a group called Central Ohio Pluralsight Study Group, which was a group that met up once a week for a period of time to study on a specific topic from Pluralsight’s video library. Some of the topics were a little over my head (they were intermediate courses), but I still utilized the chance at being around experienced developers to ask questions and gain more people to follow on Twitter, such as John Papa, a teacher of some of the courses on Pluralsight, and Calvin Allen, the organizer of the study group at that time.

I’d gotten a free trial card through this group, and was almost immediately hooked. There’s such a wide range of different topics and skill levels that anyone interested in development in any way should consider checking them out. In fact, I’d liked it so much that I put in a request to my company for them to buy me a 1-year subscription, and they accepted! After that, I started watching videos at work, at home, even listened to the audio in the car (they have phone apps, including Windows Phone (:) and was learning so very much that I’ve relied on it heavily even to this very day.

Changing gears! I’m going to go back to the groups I’d found out about. Through both Twitter and Meetup, I’d learned about Central Ohio .NET Developers Group, and decided to go to one of their meetings. It was a great time, where I saw a lot of people I’d already met and was introduced to many more. I also sat in on a few sessions and learned some things (they were a bit over my head at that point as well, as they were intermediate sessions). Once again, I racked up a few more Twitter users who were really solid developers, like James Bender and Alan Barber.

Shortly after this, I’d overheard about Code & Coffee, a seemingly-worldwide event that happens weekly, where developers choose a place to meet that sells coffee and then codes together and drinks coffee together. This is usually organized on Twitter as far as I can tell, but sometimes people get invited by word-of-mouth. I started going to the one that meets up on Thursday mornings at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, this cool little shop in Grandview. However, I didn’t realize how these were organized (I figured people always showed up), so on my first one, I was alone. Seth Petry-Johnson, another solid developer I met at lunch once, got me hip to announcing on Twitter (using the #codeandcoffee hashtag) the day before I was going to show up. Since then, there’s been a resurgence of many coders showing up to our meetup, simply because I show some interest and convinced some others to start showing up again.

I can’t seem to find any place where I can sit down and get a good amount done without being distracted, so Code & Coffee is where I get down to business most of the time. All that’s there is the coffee and other programmers, which sometimes help me to focus and also help me out a ton with any questions I have. There’s been multiple times where I’ve simply asked a question about something small, and then 20 minutes later I have a whole new piece added to my project because they took the time to give me pointers and helped point me in the right direction (thanks again John Nastase, Jonathan Stevens, Justin Rolston and many others!). Through these guys and many others, I’ve been able to succeed so far. It seems that, in this field, community is extremely important.

It’s near the end of the story of the laying of my foundation as a developer. Next week, I’ll be ending that part of the story, and in the following weeks, I’ll begin to describe the successes and pitfalls that I’ve had directly relating to the projects that I’ve undertaken.

If you have any comments or suggestions about this blog, please feel free to write them in the comments section below. I’m OCD about unread messages, so I’ll get to them quickly :).

Once again, thanks for reading!

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