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Tech Meetups - A Beginner’s Guide

Attending tech meetups is such a great way to learn new things and meet people in the industry. It’s also a chance to network with people who might one day be your future employer or colleague!

I’ve attended a few meetups this year as a first timer and want to share what I’ve learned. If you have never attended a meetup before or are trying to convince a friend to come to one, hopefully this will help.

Some things you may not know about meetups:

  • People are far more welcoming than you’d expect, especially when you are open about being new.
  • There is no prerequisite - other than being interested. While a lot of attendees may work in the field, others may be students or just have a general interest in the topic.
  • Meetups are not full of experts. The people attending are of a very wide range of skill levels, so don’t be intimidated or think that everyone is a senior developer with decades of experience.
  • Meetups have different formats. Some have a panel of people that get asked questions, others have a series of talks, and others can be more hands on in a workshop format.
  • Often job announcements are made at the end. This is often a chance to hear about jobs before they are advertised.
  • Some meetups have social activities after the event e.g. going out for gelato. This is a great chance to really get to know people!
  • They often provide food & drinks - so don’t worry about not getting a chance to eat beforehand.

Some tips for attending meetups:

  • If you are nervous about attending and want to know more about the meetup, check out the photos on meetup.com and Twitter. You’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you arrive.
People playing Giant Jenga at SydCSS

Playing giant Jenga at SydCSS

  • Make sure you RSVP in advance as numbers can fill up quickly.
  • Arrive early. Introducing yourself to the few people who’ve also arrived early will make it easier to start a conversation.
  • Let others know it’s your first visit. You’ll be amazed at how welcoming everyone is and you’ll inevitably meet some other newbies too.
  • Don’t leave straight away - often the best conversations are had after the talks.
  • Subscribe to meetup.com notifications. Meetup organisers use this as a way to communicate last minute messages about location etc.
  • Don’t give up after your first try. The first one is the hardest. Keep up the momentum.

Hopefully by now you are convinced that you should join a meetup! If you need help choosing one, let us know, and we’d be happy to recommend some. You’ll often spot members of the Lookahead team at many of these events so make sure to come and say ‘Hi!’ - we are always up for a chat!