This is great news. I just saw an email today sent to me from http://meetup.com/nashvillejug. Maybe that number doesn’t seem huge to you, but after just a year-and-a-half, I think we are reaching more and more people in the Java community in our area.
Earlier today, I was on the phone with a recruiter that helped secure me an interview over two years ago with a local company before I even moved to Nashville. She was calling to share a potential opening, but it wasn’t for me. With that aside, she asked how was NJUG going. I was happy to tell her it was growing fast and pointed her to our website. I explained we average 20-30 people every month. She was impressed.
I remember the first meeting back in October 2010. I gave a talk about “7 Reasons to use Spring” and Csaba was my audience. To tell you the truth, this was the way things were for several months. I don’t know whether Csaba had confidence or not (you’ll have to convince him to write a blog!), but I did. I felt like we had to be active and consistent, and that eventually we would draw out participants. How many did I expect? Having been a part of the Melbourne Linux User’s Group, I was used to average attendance numbering in single digits. I figured this group would reach a similar state, and I would have been quite content to see a handful of passionate Java developers once a month. When it’s not 100+, then it’s easy to have 1-on-1 conversations with everyone. I never expected things to grow so quickly as NJUG has. When 35 people show up to see the lead architect from The Lampo Group, it is an incredible feeling. This was even more intense when I had been away for several months due to family issues. Coming back to a group with a packed room was awesome!
As I continued this phone call with my recruiting friend, I mentioned that while we keep the meetings technical, she was free to attend and network as well as post openings on our Google Group. After receiving yet another email from new recruiter through LinkedIn today, I realized that this felt like more than just technical material being shared at monthly meetings. The opportunity to interact and meet other developers as well as recruiters encourages me. I realized that should I need help finding a new position in the future, I have lots of contacts in this area that will help me out. Knowing that my cohorts of NJUG have the same opportunities is also good to know.
It feels like we are building the key component to any technology: the community. In this case, we are building up Nashville’s piece of the Java community, and that makes me very happy as I watch the membership numbers grow thanks to warm, fuzzy emails from meetup. With a slate full of speakers for the next few months, I can’t wait to see ya’ at the next meeting!