On 4 March, at TechHub Manchester, the first Magento North West event took place. Magento North West is an attempt from myself and CTI Digital’s Technical Director Rick Steckles to bring together those who use Magento on a regular basis.
The idea was brought about after one of our internal team meetings where it was noted that Magento is one of the few large technical eco-systems without any sort of representation in the North. We setup a Meetup event, created a Twitter account, and tried to spread the word as best we could.
The responsive was very positive. There were over 40 people who registered interest in coming along, and several others volunteering to do talks.
The event itself went very well and was a fantastic opportunity to gauge how successful it could be. In the end, there were over 30 attendees and a great talk by John O’Rourke. Perhaps most importantly, the guests were enthusing about the next event and what could be discussed.
A day later, a colleague of mine asked what my ‘top 5 take-aways’ from the event where so here they are.
- As developers, we tend to undervalue ourselves. John’s talk was titled ‘Code to Cash’ and spoke about how developers do far more than simply program - often they’re involved with specifications, requirements capture, quality and testing, service and delivery. Yet, when people ask, we tend to broadly say ‘we make websites’. By realising that there is far more to it, we can use our time better and ultimately make ourselves more valuable.
- Even if you don’t realise you’re valuable, other people will. From talking to developers, business owners, and recruiters who attended the event, there was an obvious need for more of us.
- Everyone loves pizza - no really, I didn’t even get a slice before it was gone.
- Developers love sharing. From success stories to horror tales, developers love to talk about what they’re working on. There was a great response when asked for people to do talks at future events so it bodes well for the future.
- The biggest take-away from the night was that there is a Magento community. Perhaps a bit cynically, I always considered eCommerce (and thus Magento) to be very closed - after all, an advantage in eCommerce will usually translate to more money, for yourself or your end clients. I’ve always looked on slightly enviously at the Drupal and WordPress developers were the majority of things are open sourced, or at the very least blogged and discussed. I believe the enthusiasm and interest at the event goes to show that this need not be any different for Magento.
For more information on the next meet up, scheduled for April 8th click on the link below.