#FF DevTO

Talk about building a community from the ground up! DevTO is certainly a great example for how to do it right.

Me and Ginny at the first anniversary

Me and Ginny at the first anniversary

I attended my first DevTO just over a year ago at Richmond Day, which was their second event. I am on record as being the first female techie to attend apparently. There were about six of us, sitting around a computer where we were being shown by Chris Brooker how Epilogger was created. I’d seen it in action a few days earlier and was familiar with it, but it was great to hear the in depth development of the project. I had also just started learning WordPress, so I brought my first site to them in hopes they could help me understand one or two things about a problem I was having. They gave me some great direction and I was happy to report at their next meeting that thanks to the advice I received, I was able to resolve the issue. This next meeting had over 20 attendees, including quite a few women. This event was going places!

Over the coming months, they had more great presenters, including Wes Bos, Xtreme Labs and most recently, Paul Laberge of Microsoft and Sachin Monga Facebook. The venue changed from Richmond Day to the ING Café, with their One Year Anniversary held at CSI: Annex. The latest one was held at Polar Mobile. The beauty about the change in venue is that they keep getting bigger. They are making sure that they have room for everyone and are changing with the demographic.

Wes Bos showing off HTML5

Wes Bos showing off HTML5

Don’t think that this is just the place for developers! Oh no, this meetup is designed to be for everyone from marketing and HR to the developers themselves. They pride themselves on bringing everyone together that has something to do with developing and puts them in the same room with beer and pizza.

They have grown to have some great sponsors including Headstart Solutions with Sue Varty and Marc Roginsky, ThinkWrap and ThirdOcean with Carolyn Van and Karim Kanji. They have numerous giveaways from FITC and many other sponsors using an app developed by one of the founders, Nael called Twitter, Twitter, Chicken Dinner which picks winners based on your criteria for giveaways. Great little app that he designed after one of the other founders, Jo, brought the opportunity out. Jo hosts a lot of events and does a number of giveaways, so this was a great solution.

DevTO has only been around for just over a year, but their events are now selling out (they are up to 100 attendees) within minutes of them posting the event on the first Monday of the month. The events are held on the last Monday of every month and can be accessed here on Meetup.com. You can follow DevTO on Twitter and of course, each one of the founders is a joy to follow, so add them too (See below). Their next meetup is on Monday and I hope to see you there!

Founders:

The DevTO Team: Nael, Jo, Kevin and Chris

The DevTO Team: Nael, Jo, Kevin and Chris

Joallare (aka Jo): @clickflickca

Chris Jones: @jonezy

Kevin Kelly: @kevincodes

Nael El Shawwa: @naelshawwa

#DevTO – Part 1

I attended the second #DevTO session held at Richmond Day. I read a tweet about it and though it might be a good way to network and meet some new people. I knew some of the people involved more than the event itself, so though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I knew it would be great.

This particular time, I was the only woman out of 6 people; four organizers, one presenter and me. It was marketed not only to developers specifically, but also to anyone who has an interest or deals with developers. I’ve done a bit of coding in my time and work as an IT Generalist, so I deal with developers, designers and more acting as a translator between the technical types and the business types.

An event like this helps me understand what developers face and perhaps help my clients by asking the right questions the first time, hence saving time and becoming more efficient.

At the first one I attended, I had the privilege of hearing Chris Brooker present Epilogger from the developer’s perspective. I’d seen their short presentation at Code Your Art Out a few days earlier, but it only scratched the surface. In this more intimate setting, I had the chance to ask more questions that helped me understand what difficulties they faced, why certain pieces were chosen and why others weren’t as well as what the process behind it was. It was also helpful to Chris to get feedback from users and developers alike, to provide more functionality and get ideas on how to solve some of the problems that they might have encountered so far.

I’d also recently signed up for #LadiesLearningCode (another post coming on that one soon). I went to their brainstorming session later that week and found that many of the women there were in a similar situation to myself. I thought many of them would probably appreciate something like #DevTO, so when I saw the invites come up for the next one, I started “marrying” the two hashtags together. Next thing I know there is a waiting list for the next #DevTO! I’m not sure how many spaces were filled because of my actions, but it came out of nowhere!

I’ll post more on the next #DevTO tomorrow, but in the meantime, Make sure you follow @DevTO_ca for more updates and register for the event here. At last check, they only have 5 spots left. Did I mention that they provide beer and pizza? 😉