There are currently 272,203 Meetup groups in 182 countries with a total of 30.3 million members. These groups cover a large variety of interests, including technology, writing, and fitness, to name a few. After joining and hosting several Meetups, here are a few reasons why we believe Meetups can be beneficial both personally and professionally.
1. Networking – Social or Professional
If you are new to an area or have made a major career change, Meetups can be your ticket to meeting new people, making new connections, and getting immersed in the local community. Each connection made at a Meetup can hold an endless amount of possibilities, whether it’s a new friendship, a step towards a new career, or exposure to potential partnerships. There are some Meetup groups that are solely focused on the social gathering aspect of networking. For example, Ventera sponsors the DC Full Stack Happy Hour Meetup group which brings Full Stack Developers to network and learn from each other. This group is for Java/Open Source Developers and Enthusiasts, where members meet for monthly happy hours in a relaxed setting to connect and learn from their peers about the latest trends in the digital services world. Similarly, NoVA Code & Coffee features Saturday morning “coffee dates” where members, known as “coders,” get together to learn, write, or work on code for school, personal, or work projects. Overall, Meetups are a welcoming place for socializing, learning, and sharing experiences.
2. Knowledge Sharing
Because Meetup groups can be specific to a certain field, activity, or topic, they allow you the opportunity to meet people with similar interests with whom you can share experiences and learn something new. For example, those starting out their careers can attend Meetups to learn some of the basics in their field or gain familiarity in an area necessary for their job. Conversely, if there is a domain that you are passionate about and willing to share your expertise and experience, you can also start your own Meetup group. The Agile Leadership DC Chapter is an excellent example of a Meetup group that was started in 2008 with a focus on Agile and has turned into the most active ALN (Agile Leadership Network) chapter in the US. Members meet monthly for events that promote knowledge sharing, such as presentations by expert speakers on topics ranging from scaled agile to test driven development to agile transformation. Meetups allow individuals to be both the student and the teacher, creating an environment of knowledge sharing where people can grow their skillsets, whether job related or not.
3. Market Trends
You can also use Meetup to assess where the market is heading, especially in the IT Community. Tools, technologies, frameworks, and methodologies are constantly changing in today’s world; keeping an eye on existing Meetup groups that are rebranding or new ones that are popping up is a great way to get an idea on what to use or what to learn. DC Continuous Delivery and DevOpsDC are two examples of groups that provide a good pulse on what new technologies are gaining momentum relating to the CI/CD (Continues Integration/Continuous Delivery) pipeline.
These are only a few reasons why Meetups can be extremely valuable on both a professional and personal level. Whether you are looking to get involved with the local community or propel your career forward, Meetups can be a great starting point in the process.