By Arerosuoghene Wisdom
ForLoop Port Harcourt held her second developer’s meetup six days ago, on Saturday, August 18, 2018.
The event was lit,💥 the speakers and sessions, intoxicating, and the outcome, thunderous! With over 200 developers and developer-wannabes gathered in one hall for a whole day, the hall suffered from (stack) overflow.
I’d love to tell you all about the event, the sessions, the speakers, the food, the VR (yas!!!! there was VR. Oh wait, what does VR mean? Virtual Reality. If you still don’t get it, google it).
But permit me to first take a minute (hope ya not counting) to give you a little background for this event.
Leading up to the event
You see, the Port Harcourt tech ecosystem (as with any other tech ecosystem, you’d agree) has a ton of newbies — persons who are just getting into the game. It’s easy for these new ones to get lost when they find themselves in the middle of a technical conversation with more advanced fellows regardless of where the conversation occurs (WhatsApp, Slack or at Meetups).
So when I was approached by Lucas Bruce, official organizer of forLoop Port Harcourt, Precious Chukundah and others from the local tech community to champion the organization of a second forLoop event, I wasn’t gonna turn down the opportunity to nurture upcoming artists (sorry, developers 😉).
Armed with the aforementioned knowledge, and with experiences from previous meetups and events, I proposed that the event be designed to target entry-level to intermediate-level developers in the community. Proposal carried. And Meetup 2.0 — “Newbie to Expert”, was born.
The event was to cover Career Choices in tech, how to use and contribute Open Source regardless of whether a developer is an expert or not; and finally the Tools and Patterns one must know if he’s to become an expert.
So let’s modify the event theme a bit. Newbie to Expert — Career Choices, Open Source, Tools, and Patterns. Gbam! We now have a direction; let’s get a team of volunteers to pull this off.
Word got out that forLoop Port Harcourt needed volunteers to help organize an event. You guessed right. A ton of folks from the community came forward to join hands and resources to make the event a looping success 😁. These friends went above and beyond for this event. They spared nothing. They withheld nothing.
Quite a few others contributed one thing or the other to make forLoop PH Meetup 2.0 a resounding success. Thanks a million, everyone! If I didn’t mention your name, nor vex. You know, the brain is not to be trusted sometimes 😉.
Let me start by saying this. This is the first event I’m familiar with where attendees arrived at the venue before the organizers and speakers. Yes, you read that right! The event was to start at 9 am, but before 9 the hall was already half full!
This is the first event where attendees arrived at the venue before the organizers and speakers!
The event was supposed to begin with an Introduction to Career Paths by Lucas Bruce but he had to go and make sure that our VR gears will not lose track of their way. So our MC of the day, AYAOSI GODFREY, opted to begin the event with talks on Tools and Patterns.
Tiku Okoye, a Front-end Developer with just a couple months of experience under her belt, took center stage excited to help others just getting into Front-end Web development appreciate the need to build faster websites. She wrote about her speaking engagement here, but suffice it to say, she effectively demonstrated why a developer should be concerned about page load time and how to improve same. There wasn’t someone who couldn’t relate!
Next up was Obinna Odirionye. Microsoft Student Partner, Ingressive Ambassador, Github Campus Expert 🙌🙌. Obinna built upon the previous talk and took the attendees through a magnificent Tool for site optimization: Webpack. He patiently showed everyone present how to set up and use Webpack in developing awesome Web applications.
Nsikak Thompson, Lead Android Developer at Start Innovation Hub, Uyo and Co-lead, Google Developer Group, Uyo stepped up to show the way for Android Developers in the house. He talked about how to architect Android apps so they are easier to maintain. He also showed the attendees Tools and Patterns they have to be familiar with if they’re to become expert Android developers.
Lawrence Agbani was the last speaker we had for the section on Tools and Patterns. Lawrence came all the way from Lagos, where he works as a Software Team Lead for Konga (yes, the Konga you know!). Aside from leading a Software Team at Konga, Lawrence is also a Microsoft Certified Professional! Lawrence clearly explained to all present the difference between Frontend and Back-end as Career Paths in Web development. He went further to show the Tools and Patterns one would need to learn and master in order to start and grow as a Back-end developer.
And then it was time to give the attendees a proper orientation. Lucas Bruce was on hand to efficiently highlight various Career Paths tech offers. He took the time to explain several, several buzz words flying around in the tech space that sounded like blood-sucking mosquitoes to the newbies. He practically took the attendees by the hand and told them: this is the way, walk in it.
Everyone in the hall was so thrilled about what they were learning that when asked if they wanted to take a break and do some justice to the food we had, EVERYONE SAID NO! I mean, who does that to our favorite Jollof? Jollof, please accept our sincere apologies. But then, we were only doing what we wanted to do: make sure everyone that came left with the knowledge of how to get started (if they haven’t already) and grow to become experts in their various fields.
Just in case you didn’t notice, that talk by Lucas Bruce was the first of 3 talks on Career Paths. The other 2 would come after the break. But first, let’s talk about what happened during the break…
Attendees were treated to a plate of remarkable Jollof rice (or fried rice) which was serviced with sizable beef and sprinkled with fried plantain. Hope I didn’t tantalize your intestinal and gastric elements 😁😁. Oh, there was an array of soft drinks to grease the tongue and throat and allow everyone push the food to their stomach repo seamlessly.
Still on the break matter, many attendees were given their very first VR treat on site. Attendees were obviously extremely elated, playing different VR games. Shhh, come closer, bring you ear. Don’t tell anyone I told you, but some persons literally thought they could fly 😂😂😂.
Okay, break over. It haf do. I know say you nor want make the break finish 😂😂😂. But on a more serious note, some would think that a lot of persons will be heading home after eating this kain sweet Jollof rice. Some others would think it’s gonna take a lot of work to get the attendees to gather back in the hall with VR games actively going on just outside the door.
Shocker! We only had to announce once that it was break over. And gbam! everywhere was full again. Yup, nothing’s wrong with your eyes, you read that correctly. THE HALL WAS FULL! These guys really mean this business, no joke!
Our first speaker after the break was Precious Chukundah, a member of the Node.js Africa board and CEO of Unicorn.ng. He took on from where Lucas Bruce left off, showing attendees what they must do if they really, really want to become experts: Volunteer!! In a talk titled, Volunteer, Learn, Grow, Precious shared with the attendees how volunteering in various organizations such as IONS Group, GDG Port Harcourt, Tech Port Harcourt, and more helped him to grow personally. He encouraged all in attendance to highly value volunteering opportunities if they are to become experts.
When we were sure that the excitement from the VR “session” had cooled down a little (I mean, that’s as much as we can expect), Damilola Kawojue bounced to the stage to show all of us the enormous potential and applications of VR tech. In his section, he exposed how VR technology can be used in various industries and more importantly (I guess?), how developers can build VR solutions.
The event concluded with a no-nonsense talk on Open Sourcing hammered on by the host and organizer, Arerosuoghene Wisdom. In his talk, .. (oh wait, that’s me 🤦♂️). Let’s go again… In the last talk, I helped everyone in attendance to understand the role Open Source can play in a developer’s career. I also explained that one need not be an “expert” or “world class” to contribute to Open Source. It was during this session that I mentioned a quote that has pretty much gone viral:
Done is better than perfect
Attendees were encouraged to worry less about being perfect, worry more about getting things done and not shy away from sharing the little they know — in the form of contributions to Open Source projects and in the form of article writing.
Aside from those talks, the attendees were also treated to 2-panel sessions where they had the opportunity to speak with experts in the room and ask them questions based on the various talks and well, anything else.
The panel sessions had all the speakers as panelists with 2 other guest panelists in the persons of Peace Ojemeh (Perrie), Open Sourcerer and Designer at SugarLabs and Agiri Abraham, another solid Open Sourcerer and Chairman of Node.js Africa.
I could go on and on and on about the event. But we both know we don’t have forever to spend here. So let’s leave it at this: forLoop PH Meetup 2.0 was terrific! 🔥🔥🔥 everywhere.
After the event
Shortly after the event ended and even days later, speakers and attendees stormed social media to applaud the magnificence of the event. Just in case you don’t believe me, just look at those pictures. If you still don’t believe me, ask twitter.
It still hasn’t ended o. Just when we thought the fire would start burning low gradually, we got a surprise! The excitement had spread so far that someone in Lagos who was supposed to speak at the event but could not make it for 1 or 2 reasons, sent in a message.
Please permit me to give an attendee a year free subscription on egghead worth more than $250
Like seriously!!!? Isn’t this just the best news ever! Almost immediately, I fired up gmail, sent an email to all attendees asking them to write about their experience at forLoop PH Meetup 2.0 for a chance to win this prize.
As I write this article, some attendees have published exhilarating articles already and others are still cleaning theirs up, getting ready to publish. Sooner than later, we’ll have all these articles on the forLoop PH medium publication. You can check them now (and/or later) to read these articles.
If you attended the event, and you’re wondering how to snatch this price, check out this thread on Twitter.
Alright!!! That’s it from me for now. Were you at the event? Did this article touch you? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.