How Software Developers Have Built a Technology Community in Wichita
DevCT is a community group of software engineers and anyone interested in technology. We had an opportunity to talk with one of the co-founders, Seth Etter in our podcast.
It all got started when Seth was teaching at a local community college and was complaining about the lack of a community group. Someone said, "Well stop complaining and lets form a group to support each other". And it was that simple, just a couple of guys, a few technology tools and a lot of hard work.
They started using MeetUp.com to schedule gatherings. And the members would give talks at monthly meetings. Their purpose was to connect, to learn, share, and find connections that might lead to job opportunities.
Eight years later, they have nearly 1,200 members and they now meet at a co-working space, the Labor Party, located in the Old Town part of Wichita.
Today they have at least five events each month and they have 1200 members in the Slack group and1100 in their MeetUp site.
Seth also founded Open Wichita, a community organization focused on using technology to drive civic change, part of the Code for America brigade group. Seth got engaged with the group to do his part. A quote that impacted Seth was:
“Being involved means offering your hands, not just your voice.”
Seth is a software engineer at AdHoc, and is a remote worker in the technology industry, where is supports the development of APIs and Data Pipelines for healthcare.gov.
With Open Wichita, the group focused on working on local software projects that wanted to have an impact.
With more than 1,100 local members, we see not only a few large technology employers, but also a number of smaller software development shops, focusing on developing technology and applications for other companies and a host of workers who largely work remotely, to enjoy the low cost of living and maintaining a wonderful lifestyle.
For example, Seth’s employer, AdHoc, is 100% virtual workers. Also highlighted companies like the Flint Hills Group that was formed after a layoff by a handful of workers with different but similar skills.
Seth also highlighted how he works from various coffee shops and now recently started using a hot seat at Groover Labs as a primary work spot.
In our podcast we also talked about how the technology community has grown in Wichita over the last few years, specifically focused on software development.
The interview wrapped up with how to develop a career in technology. Seth pointed out that going to college for getting a technology education is more structured than trying to learn everything from the internet. That's two approaches to getting an education, but the best you thing you can is participate in a technology community like DevICT.