About a year ago, I realized that after having worked in the Internet industry in Toronto for almost 15 years (yes, since 1996), that I had very little actual involvement in the developer community around the city, and actually, I wasn’t even really sure if there was one that applied to me. I’ve certainly seen people talk about going to language or technology specific user groups, but there was nothing just for people that were developers, just to get together and share stuff, because hey, you don’t just write code.
The act of writing code is the end result of a lot of other kinds of work, planning, task breakouts, negotiations with customers, bosses, designers and other developers. We struggle with understanding the customers problems (where else can you work for a bank, a major car manufacturer and a major retailer all within the span of a year?) and how best to solve those problems with code. Once you start peeling back the layers what we do becomes more complicated than it seems. This is not to say that the complication is a bad thing, it’s part of what we do, no avoiding that!
And this is where the “You don’t just write code” part of DevTO came from, a realization that we do a whole hell of a lot more than spend hours upon hours banging out line after line of code behind a computer. We are people that contribute in more ways then we usually get recognized, and that’s one of the things that I felt was missing in my life as a developer.
Scratch your itch
One of the things I’ve learned over the years when it comes to building products, is to scratch your own itch. That is, to solve a problem that you personally have as a gateway to building or doing something that solves a problem for a lot of people, and for me, DevTO was exactly that, a way to solve problem(s) I was having, and once I started talking to a couple of people about it (my amazing co-founders) I quickly found out that this was an idea shared by more people around the city than just me.
The past 7 months have provided more than I ever imagined in terms of what I was looking for when I first starting talking to Kevin, Nael and Jo about this idea a year ago. Speaking personally, it’s been amazing for me to get connected to others in my community and to find some exciting opportunities that have really gotten me out of a but of a rut professionally. It’s actually amazing that I spend very little time actually doing development when it comes to DevTO, but it’s had such a positive impact on that part of my life none the less.
I can honestly say that I did not expect to be talking about planning our 7th event, much less talking about some bigger and better things we will be doing (in the new year!). I’m confident that I can speak on behalf of all of the co-founders at DevTO and say thank you to all of the attendees, speakers and sponsors who have taken DevTO from a small idea and turned it into an amazing recurring monthly event.