November 26, 2018, by Carla Froggatt
Six Reasons to Get Involved in the Nottingham Tech Scene
By Kathryn Moss, Employability Officer in collaboration with Jessica White, software developer, UNiDAYS
Did you know there is a massive tech scene on your doorstep?
According to the Tech Nation 2018 report, in 2017, there were over 11,607 jobs available in Nottingham in the digital tech sector with over 102 digital tech businesses launching in 2016 alone. This means that Nottingham is growing quickly among the tech hubs in the UK.
The Nottingham tech scene is booming with around 26 meetups a month on a wide breadth of topics. One of the largest meetup groups, Tech Nottingham has over 1,891 members! This is fantastic for people with like-minded interests to get together and share their knowledge.
Why should you get involved?
1. Get noticed by employers
If you are looking for a route into a tech role, did you know that tech meetups, conferences and Hackathons are a great way to get noticed and (possibly) get hired? You will meet people from all walks of life, from those who are passionate about tech to business owners looking for new talent. Some meetups even have a part at the beginning where employers advertise roles.
Meeting employers face-to-face before you apply gives you a better chance at being successful – they may recognise you when they’re sifting through applications. It also gives you a chance to find out more about the company. It’s important to get a job, but it’s even more important to make sure it’s the right job. Do they do things you are interested in? Do you think you would fit the culture and be happy there?
Attending these events demonstrates that you are eager to learn, happy to listen to other people’s ideas and viewpoints, and want to discuss cool things in technology. It demonstrates that you are passionate and communicative. Great traits for this industry.
2. Learn something new
Any kind of tech meetup, be it a conference, a hackathon or an informal event are great learning opportunities. If you’re looking to learn new things but don’t know where to start, you can bet that there will be someone at the tech meetup who can help. If you want to try out a new programming language, for example, you could find someone who knows it inside out.
3. Find your place in tech
Tech is part of everyone’s lives. From using your bus card to pay for your travel to posting a picture of the amazing latte you’ve had on Instagram. Not everyone who works in technology started out knowing they wanted to work in the industry though, and not everyone in technology is a coder.
The tech scene in Nottingham is an incredibly supportive and inclusive community. It is full of people ranging from coding wizards to complete novices. If you have never written a line of code before, you will still receive a warm welcome. People are passionate about sharing their knowledge, so take advantage of this.
Getting involved can help you find your place, be it design, development, quality assurance, or something else. Meet people with alternative backgrounds and learn from their experiences. Scope out if the industry is one you can enjoy working in, without committing to anything long term.
4. Gain confidence
Hackathons are also a great way of getting involved in the tech scene, even if you do not have a technical background. Often, teams need someone on their side who can look at the design, project manage or help people to see things from different perspectives. There’s a hackathon right here on campus, Hacknotts. This is a friendly and fun environment to experience your first event.
Hack24 is a Nottingham-based hackathon and has been sponsored by some fantastic local employers, such as UNiDAYS, Capital One and Esendex. A few of the meetups in Nottingham, such as Women In Tech, arrange teams for Hack24 aimed at helping people get involved who are new to hackathons. This can make your first experience a little less intimidating.
5. Get help with things that you are stuck on
Have you ever spent hours staring at the same piece of code wondering where you are going wrong? Meetups are full of people who are passionate about coding so you might meet someone who has been where you are now.
6. Make some great friends
On top of everything, meetups are a great place to meet new people and make friends. They are full of like-minded people, so you are extremely likely to meet someone who shares your passion.
Four ways to get involved in the Nottingham tech scene
- Meetups. There are so many different meetups that you are literally spoiled for choice. Tech Nottingham is the largest and you can sign up to their mailing list here.
- The Tech Nottingham Slack Channel is a bubbling hub of online activity and a great way to engage with fellow tech folk. The channels range from the student channel to language-specific channels, to channels where people share pictures of their pets. You’ll get to know the Nottingham tech community, ask questions, and find people to accompany you to your first tech meetups. To join, you need to sign up to the Tech Nottingham mailing list.
- Hacksoc is a fun way to get involved, learn new things and make some great friends. You can also attend their weekly programming lessons to brush up on your skills.
- Conferences. There are some great tech conferences out there for you to attend. A fantastic, local tech conference is Inspire WiT, which brings together inspiring speakers from across the tech community.