Beyond bootcamps: Meetups are key to tomorrow’s jobs, says Miami’s WordPress guru

Miami’s WordPress guru says meetups are key to building the talent pool in 2017

We’re going to be spending this month making the city’s movers and shakers nail down some resolutions and predictions for their work in 2017. This week we’re talking tech scene. You can see all of the resolutions here.

David Bisset is a full-time freelance developer living in South Florida. He works with WordPress and also does stand-alone PHP work. He’s also a speaker, meetup organizer, and organizer of WordCamp Miami, one of the largest and longest running volunteer-run community tech events in Miami.

The strength is in nurturing local talent

I’m someone who has been involved in the South Florida tech scene for the past decade — I started … with local meetups and became a leader at that level because that is where I think the strength of the South Florida tech scene really is.

We’ve been seeing more startups born in South Florida, and not just being born but also acquisitions of companies. For example, one called Redfish Media and another is Live Ninja. They’re both very recent examples but prove the trend. With money and finances bring pumped into the companies, it validates their worth and proves we have physical talent – human beings in South Florida to back that up.

As recent as two to three years ago, we had a lot of ideas but not a lot of people behind them. Now we’re seeing more and more crowds. That’s going to get bigger in these next five years with more homegrown talent.

My perspective is different than the startup scene — I think the strength is the local and grassroots tech community. That’s really the strength of any tech scene. Rarely do homegrown startups happen when there aren’t [local] meetups.

Building an in-house tech scene

We’re building a local in-house tech scene. Before, startup options in South Florida were limited. You could take a course at some local art school but it would probably be out of date … but now we’re growing our own [training programs]. Overall that is going to be part of why we see a boom in the next couple of years … the IronHacks, WynCodes… chapters like Girl Develop It, Code for Miami, and the local WordPress community.

It’s these local community-driven free or not-so-free communities that are and will continue to drive the tech scene forward. They don’t get a lot of exposure because everyone is focused on big money and big names — but they’re going to increase.

Before, you had to teach yourself but now you have a network, from robotics to PHP there’s a Meetup for it. That’s where a lot of people working in these companies come from.

We’ll struggle with being taken seriously

We’ll struggle with recognition and being taken more seriously [in terms of] local classes, chapters, and communities. I don’t think many people yet on the CEO side or leader side do. South Florida companies should be devoting more time to local meetups and taking them seriously in terms of publicizing them and helping smaller communities to help strengthen them.

I haven’t seen too many companies yet — but a big exception is Waffle Wednesday from Live Ninja. Big companies don’t help local, small communities out … homegrown startups should be supporting these small Meetups.

Bisset recommends the following Meetups as resources for local companies to engage with:

Here are a list of Meetups Bissets recommends