It’s amazing how quickly things change in Tampa. Over the span of 2018, we lost some good meetup groups, but others have emerged that are doing incredible things for the community. We’re taking a few minutes to recognize what these meetups are doing to further tech in Tampa.
#1 – High Tech Connect
This tech meetup group is incredible. They have monthly Tech Fest events that spotlight a few companies. There’s usually a non-profit/not-for-profit, a startup, and 3 or 4 standard companies. We love that they include staffing agencies in these events – yes, we’re biased – since, in Jeff’s words, the better we educate our staffing agencies, the better this works out for everyone. We wholeheartedly support educating tech recruiters.
The group itself focuses on creating connections in the tech community in order to make it a more cohesive, connective body. What’s better than bringing a diverse group of tech nerds together?
This meetup group is headed by the amazing Jeff Fudge, Zac Duffy, and Daniella Diaz. It always makes us really happy to promote diverse groups that focus on inclusivity, so this meetup gets our #1 vote. Plus, it’s Jeff. We love Jeff.
An update to this group: Jeff let me know that they will be doing a candidate focus for High Tech Connect. An hour before each Tech Fest event, they will have a session called “Tech Prep.” There will be a couple companies volunteering their time to help coach candidates: recent or upcoming graduates, people in-between jobs, or interns looking for work. They will provide resume reviews, networking tips, advice on LinkedIn profiles, information on training grants, etc. They just keep making a great group even better!
#2 – Tampa Bay Agile
These guys made it in our list last year, and they’re making it in again! We’ll give a huge shout out to Fred and Ed, hosts of the Lean Beer meetup, for fostering a collaborative environment where people can ask questions about Agile anonymously. This is great if you’re the shy type, or if you have what you consider a ‘really stupid question’ that you’re embarrassed to even ask. This tech meetup is chock-full of knowledge and great for people with a genuine passion for Agile.
There’s also the coffee version of this meetup, if you’re more of a morning/coffee person than a booze person. Oh, and the best part? In Fred’s interview, he told us that the meetups were expanding – they do Lean Beer in St. Petersburg too now! It’s awesome to see a meetup do so great that they add extra locations.
One of Tampa’s most successful tech meetup groups, seeing an average attendance of between 50 to 200 guests. This group touches on everything AWS: case studies, AWS services, happy hours, expert Q&As, and more. The great part is the case studies involve local companies, so you could go to a meetup hosted at Malwarebytes (which has happened!) and listen in on how their engineers leverage AWS to maintain billions of records in real time.
Incidentally, this is another meetup organized by Jeff Fudge. Jeff saw that there was no AWS meetup, so he decided to create one – and it’s been a huge success since inception. We’re thrilled to be able to support and promote his groups, since he’s such a strong pillar in the community.
#4 – Tampa Hackerspace
This tech meetup was in last year’s list. Back then, the group had 3.5k members – they’ve now expanded to 4.2k. That’s a pretty massive increase for a year! We’re impressed with the growth the group has seen, but we also understand why: the group is awesome!
Their workshop has 3D printers, a laser cutter, CNC routers, machine tools, an electronics bench, and some robot kits, to name a few. Events are held on a daily basis nowadays, and range from woodshop, 3D printing, welding, textiles, Arduino basics, electronics, laser cutting, and more.
Basically, if you want to learn how to do cool stuff, get a membership and attend these meetups! The membership isn’t too pricey when you consider all the equipment you’ll have access to. Apply here.
#5 – Tampa Bay Bitcoin
Organized by Gabe Higgins, this group is the prime resource for crypto in Tampa. Contrary to the name, it doesn’t focus solely on Bitcoin. It touches on crypto as a whole, and is very informational for blockchain beginners. This group will help you get started, and it will teach you how to avoid scams and navigate that world safely.
Blockchain isn’t going anywhere. It’s a valuable technology with many use cases and applications, and those are only getting more numerous as time goes by. For example, we’re seeing entire real estate transactions happen with cryptocurrency now – so there’s definitely good reason to educate yourself. Gabe has been running the Bitcoin meetup since 2013, and we think it’s amazing that he saw the value in it and started helping others get involved. Strongly recommend this meetup.
#6 – Tampa iOS Meetup
Hosted at Sourcetoad by their own Joey DeVilla, the iOS group is an educational monthly meetup that focuses on sharing projects, tutorials, resources, and getting help. All skill levels are welcome, and the events usually include demos, talks, and pizza (yum!).
This is one of the more skill-specific groups we’re putting on this list – but, having been an active meetup since 2015 and using technology that isn’t going away, we strongly feel it deserves to be on here.
#7 – WITI – Tampa Bay
Shout out to supporting women in tech! The group hosts monthly meetups that focus on technology topics. Past examples include the advancement of women in STEM programs, cloud security, healthcare tech, big data, etc – relevant topics that women can learn a lot from.
While most events are free, some have ticket costs – generally $30 or less – and that may be off-putting to some, but we’d urge you to attend a free meetup. Let’s do what we can to support the inclusion of women in tech in Tampa.
#8 – Women Who Code Tampa
Contrary to what the name suggests, this tech meetup group isn’t only for women – all are welcome. The group is more so about having a safe space where anyone can be inspired to excel in technology careers, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. They host meetups that are relevant for software engineers, devs, UI/UX designers, and more. Definitely worth a visit!
The Tampa chapter of an international organization, Code for Tampa Bay Brigade works with local governments in order to make communities better. They are known for their National Day of Civic Hacking events, which always produce interesting ideas to further the common good.
#10 – Tampa Bay DevOps Meetup
A pretty active meetup group boasting monthly events. Some are free-form topic-less meetings, while others have a specific theme being covered. Events in the past have touched on Git, CI/CD pipelines, containers, Kubernetes, etc.
It’s a pretty great community, very helpful to all levels of DevOps engineers.
#11 – Honorable Mention: Tampa Bay Area Software Craftsmanship Meetup
I have it on good authority that this group will be returning to normal activity this year, which is exciting! Jim runs an awesome meetup. This is a monthly discussion group based on software craftsmanship. Topics run the gamut from testing, security, languages, technical debt, and more. We’re very much looking forward to this one coming back to life!