Recently, there have been series of meet ups all over Nigeria which have also been extended to some part of Africa. I have been opportune to be part of some of these meet ups, which I must say was really worth it. Some of the community leaders/movers I have met are: Prosper Otemuyiwa (Google Expert), Aniedi Udo-Obong (Google Program Manager), Johnson Hanson (Country Mentor), Mark Essien (Hotels.NG), Ire Aderinokun, Codebeast, ( Andela and a host of many others. These set of people / experts have helped to grow the community to the level it is now.


What is Tech Meetup?

The original idea of tech meet up is to bring tech experts and business start-ups closer to aspiring tech leaders, developers, digital marketers and aspiring developers and start-ups closer, In order to create a platform for these categories of persons mentioned above, to have opportunity to ask questions, opportunity to meet with their role models/mentors in person and interact. These meet ups is meant to answer a great percentage of questions in the heart of these aspiring leader i.e. in whatever field as it relates to tech.


Types of Tech Meetups

Tech meet ups include GDG (Google Developers Group) meetup, Devfest(Developers festival), Django girls(Python Community), forLoop, Google I/O, Facebook Developer’s Circle, Digital Marketer’s community, Laravel Community and a host of others.

Tech meetups are made up four sessions

•    Motivational speeches / words of advice given by speakers
•    Breakout sessions, hands-on practical codelabs and opportunity to learn new technologies
•    Speakers are given time to speak on a pre-arranged topic
•    Panel sessions which create room for questions and answers
•    Refreshment, closing remarks and group photographs.

Some of the topics covered at tech meetups include;

•    Community development, how to start and grow a community
•    How to become part of a community
•    Importance of open source and how to contribute to open source projects
•    How to start and grow a start-up
•    How to improve your skills as a developer
•    Personal branding
•    Social media engagement in a productive way


What are some of the right reasons for attending meetups?

I call it the right reasons because, some people engage in things without knowing why? Here are some of the right reasons why you should attend tech meet up:
•    To learn from the experts
•    To know how they got to where they are from their stories
•    It is an opportunity to ask questions
•    To learn best practices
•    To know what is trending i.e. latest developers’ tools and how to use them etc.


What are some of the wrong reasons?

These days the original idea of meet ups has been downplayed, this is so because:
•    Some people are of the habit of attending every meetup, without engaging in personal development or growth from previous meetups attended.
•    Some are there because of the "swags", for example, t-shirts, stickers, etc.
•    Some are there to show off, snap pictures, share on all their social media, so that all their friends will know they attended the meetup.
•    It is a pity but the truth they say is bitter, but some are actually there for the food and drink.


What Happens After the Meet up

After a powerful meet up, you feel energized, you are encouraged and motivated to do something, to solve a problem, to be part of the ecosystem of those bringing changes to the community, to give back to the society…..
But the sad thing is that after all this fire has been poured on you as a tech participant, you get back to your base and soon forget everything and you are waiting for the next available meetup...


What then???

During one of these meetups, on my way home, I was discussing with a friend and he said something that got me thinking, He said, and I quote, "I have noticed that most of the speakers for the meetups are still the same speakers, i.e.  Uyo, Aba, Lagos, Port Harcourt etc.”  What was he trying to say by that observation, it simply means what was discussed in forLoop Uyo might just be slightly different from Port Harcourt. If that is true, why kill yourself over attending a program you have attended before, especially if the location is far from where you are, when you can as well put that time into creative use.This is not to say you shouldn’t attend tech meetups, choose the meetup you attend and make good use of it after attending one. 

In my opinion, after all the motivation and fire gotten from meetups, the next thing should be action. People should learn how to be motivated, to stay motivated and to be a motivation to others. You shouldn’t allow the fire to die. It is time to act! You should think of what next to do, there are a lot of things to be done, a lot of gaps to be filled, if you look around and within you, you will know that there is something you can do, irrespective of your present level and skill.

In conclusion, if you have not attended any tech meet up before, I would advise you attend one, it is an eye opener and it will ginger your spirit to do something for your community and to improve on yourself and your skills. And if you are no longer new to meetups, try to be actively involve in community building/development. It is not enough to learn, do something with what you have learnt. Your gift they say will make room for you…

If you find the write-up informative don’t forget to like and give it a clap. Thanks for reading.

Glory Agatevure is a software developer at KodeHauz. She's skilled in Mobile App Development.