Pittsburgh software developer communities
In the past couple of years, I started to get involved in various local Pittsburgh groups of people who are committed enough to the art and science of software development to actually meet up outside of work to share ideas and experiences. Now and then, there has been talk of bringing the different groups together for special events, to share even more (especially outside the boundaries of particular computer language communities), so I felt it was a good time for me to compile a list of the different groups whose meetings I have attended or at least have heard about.
I welcome additions and corrections as well as further discussion of this list. I will update the list upon feedback.
(Last update: 2011-10-18)
The Pittsburgh Ruby group is quite active. It has been meeting the first Thursday of every month at Vivisimo.
I have been attending this more as I finally started getting into Ruby in 2010.
The Pittsburgh Python group is also active. It has been meeting the fourth Wednesday of every month at Vivisimo.
There is a lot of use of Python for scientific computing, such as natural language processing and machine learning, among this community.
I do not attend this group’s meetings regularly because I currently only use Python to maintain an SCons script at work.
The group has been pretty active, despite the location.
The Pittsburgh jQuery user group is scheduled to meet once a month at HackPittsburgh in Uptown. However, I get the impression that it has not been meeting very regularly. I attended the meeting in March and another in August, but otherwise, have had to miss a meeting or there was none.
The Pittsburgh Java User Group has been around for quite some time. It meets at the Pittsburgh Technology Council on Second Avenue. When there are meetings, they are announced on the mailing list and posted at the pghtech calendar where one should register before attending.
PittJUG was more active in the past: I was attending fairly regularly in 2009 and 2010, but now meetings have been infrequent.
However, an experiment is about to begin to revitalize the group: on October 25, we’ll be trying an Open Spaces format to take place of the old format that seemed to result in long presentations by people.
Pittsburgh Geek Out Day
Speaking of Open Spaces, Pittsburgh Geek Out Day was created specifically to use that very format. There have been three “geek out day” meetings so far, in April, May, and August 2011. The first two involved blocking out a Saturday morning each, and the second was on a Wednesday evening, and I attended all three.
I am sold on the virtues of Open Spaces. The format of long presentations by people is, I think, usually quite inefficient of everyone’s time and attention. A lot of the users groups have moved toward “lightning talks”, which are definitely an improvement, but opening things up toward even more active participation by everyone was a revelation to me.
The next meeting of Pittsburgh Geek Out Day is November 5, so sign up if you haven’t been to one yet and can spare a Saturday morning!
This group involves a mix of people who are developers as well as those who are managers, and of course, those who fall into both categories.
Developers for Apple platforms, i.e., MacOS X and iOS, have a home at CocoaHeads. I have never been to their meetings, but have a friend who attends, and it seems to be pretty active.
It meets the third Thursday of every month at Smith Micro.
There is an Pittsburgh Apple iOS meetup group, but I have not been to it.
There is a Pittsburgh Clojure users group that used to meet, but I never made it to any of the meetings, and it seems to be inactive now.
The Pittsburgh Coding Dojo was active many years ago, but has been rather inactive recently. The last meeting I went to was in March 2011.
There is an active Pittsburgh .NET users group, but I have never been to any of its meetings.
I hope that this list will be useful to those who are already a member of one or more groups and interested in checking out the others, and perhaps in creating cross-group learning experiences and events.
Are there any other groups of interest that I am missing? Please let me know.
Also: since I have always taken notes for myself at each meeting of each user group that I have attended in the past couple of years (ha, I should have started blogging earlier, given my obsession with writing), if anyone is interested in any summaries or the like, let me know. So far, the only meeting I have written up for my blog has been a recent Agile meetup on anti-patterns.