Taking Software Social in Minnesota

When it comes to the tech scene, the Twin Cities are not to be ignored. The area has been given the nickname Silicon Prairie for good reason—from Best Buy to Medtronic, many large organizations call this area their home. Minnesota tech start-ups are in the news every day, and their number is growing. This means that the Twin Cities are home to a vast number of skilled technologists who work daily on technology to improve our world. Many of them are so passionate about their craft that after working 40 or more hours, they come home and tinker on a side project or two.

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Image by Flickr user Ognian Mladenov

All of this hard work can be pointless, however, if it’s not shared. With the dawn of a new year come new resolutions, and many tech geeks resolve to meet others with similar passions. Because of this, several tech groups have cropped up around the Twin Cities with the purpose of bringing together developers of various technologies to make new connections, swap stories, learn from each other, and—more often than not—eat pizza. Meetup.com is a leading avenue for these groups to reach out to current and aspiring members. As of the time of this writing, a search for tech meetups within 10 miles of St. Paul brings over 100 results.

Many of these groups are geared towards specific development languages, like PHP and Python, and AngularMN is one of these. Founded in December 2013, the group has held monthly meetups that range from presentations on topics like structure and scope to hack nights where members gather with their laptops and work away on personal projects. The group’s mission, as written on its website, is to “give Angular.JS developers here in the Twin Cities a place to learn more about Angular, share success stories with one another, show the best practices we’ve had success with, and hang out together to talk about this budding Javascript framework.”

Perhaps one of the best parts of these groups is that there is no barrier to entry. Another popular web development group, JavaScriptMN, whose purpose is to discuss all things JavaScript, states on its site that veterans and newbies alike are encouraged to attend and share knowledge.

Given the abundance of coding enthusiasts in the Twin Cities area, chances are good that if there isn’t a group serving a particular location or area of interest, there are folks who would jump at the chance to participate in one. Sites like Meetup make it easy to start a group and hit the ground running, and anyone from a guru wanting to share knowledge to a newbie wanting to learn from others can create a group. Founders have tools that include an events calendar for members to see upcoming functions and forums for members to communicate to each other. Members can opt into receiving regular emails to stay updated on the group happenings and leave reviews about the group to give the organizers feedback—and, when positive, attract new members. For coders in the Twin Cities area who have a resolution to take their craft social, now is as good a time as any to make it happen.

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