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Tech Meetups : Laravel Chicago Spotlight

October 17th, 2016

Information flows freely when you walk through the door of a Meetup.  From conversational language breakfasts to equine enthusiasts – you can find a meetup for nearly any hobby or interest. And the benefit of meeting people with similar interests goes beyond good conversation and new relationships – it can also be beneficial to your career.

Technical meetups are popping up all over the country and across the world.  People with very specific tech interests can exchange their knowledge in a space where everyone shares the same interests.  Plus, many meetups are sponsored by local companies that may allow you to see their space after hours or talk with their employees about the work environment.

We spoke with Hao Luo, the head of the Laravel Chicago Meetup to get his insights about why meetups are so important, and how meetups provide a way to learn & socialize outside of the workplace.

What do you think is the principal reason that people attend meetups like Laravel Chicago?

Guests come to Laravel Chicago because they are curious about the technology and are looking for a community to exchange ideas.

What is the benefit to having a meetup in a company space versus a neutral space?

There are many benefits to having the group at a company setting. First, the space is usually accessible for most attendees.  Second, members can interact with the sponsors before and after the meetup to make connections.   Plus, many sponsors regularly help advertise our events on their social media networks.

What are your goals for Laravel Chicago?

My goal for Laravel Chicago is to form a community of tech-enthusiasts who are interested in Laravel.  More times than not, a developer can feel lonely working in a silo, and Laravel Chicago is a place where a developer can feel a sense of belonging.  The ethos of the web is about openness, and collaboration.  I believe, as web developers, our profession dictates us to have a similar mindset, and as we collaborate together, we become better developers.

How did the group start and evolve?

Laravel was just getting popular a few years ago, and I realized that Developers in Chicago who were interested in the PHP framework were craving a community.  Together with my manager, we created a group on Meetup.com and had our first event in Evanston.

Unfortunately, only two people came to our meetup event. We were, or course, disappointed, but we continued to have it in Evanston. Unfortunately, the meetup just wasn’t getting enough traction and we had to suspend the group.  Sometime later on, one of our co-workers told us about Talener and how they might be interested in sponsoring us.

In 2012, we were able to revive the group and had our first meetup group in downtown Chicago at the Talener office. The turnout was phenomenal. And those people who came to that event are regulars now, years later.

What is your goal going into every meetup?

I want to foster the sense of community and pique the interest of our new members.  At the same time, I want to encourage our members to get out of their comfort zones. Often, this means challenging them to present at our upcoming events.

Any advice for novice developers joining a meetup group?

  1. Keep Being Curious and Continue to Learn
  2. Make Friends
  3. Remember to contribute back to the community by giving a presentation of two. Don’t be nervous- we really are all friends!

What would you say to someone who is nervous or feeling a little uncomfortable about coming to a meetup because they don’t know anyone or they don’t think their skills are up to par with the rest of the group?

It’s always nerve-wracking doing anything the first time. Coming to a meetup group and having to meet new people in a new environment is touch, but it really does get easier from there. And—don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

 

If you’re interested in PHP Frameworks, generally curious about Laravel, or just getting started as a developer, take a few minutes to look at their meetup and join us on Tuesday, October 25th for their next meetup at the Talener Chicago office.  As always, pizza & drinks are provided!

For more information, visit the Laravel Chicago Meetup Page, or get in contact with Mary Kate at mmcgillivray@talener.com or Gabe Klein at gklein@talener.com

Posted in News, Talener Blog

April 19th, 2015: Chicago Apache Cassandra Event

March 23rd, 2015

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Searching for a free, all-day Cassandra event in the heart of Chicago?  Look no further that the DataStax Cassandra event on Sunday, April 19th.

What: DataStax is holding a FREE, day-long event in Chicago on April 19th about Apache Cassandra, a big data/ NoSQL database used by companies like Apple, Netflix, and The Weather Channel. Check out all of the details below!

Where: Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers- 301 E. North Water Street, Chicago, IL 60611

When: Sunday, April 9th from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (CDT)

Why: Cassandra is used by thousands of companies and over 30% of Fortune 100s for its high availability (peer-to-peer & simple active multi-data center), ease of operations, performance & scalability. This is the time to learn about Cassandra.

The Details: Sponsored by Microsoft Azure, HP & Vormetric- this Apache Cassandra event is hosted by DataStax in the heart of Chicago for a full day. Free breakfast, lunch, and parking validation included! This will be a free three-track event on April 9th to get you skilled on Cassandra.

  • Track One: Intro to Cassandra, including hands-on training
  • Track Two: Use cases and advanced tips & tricks
  • Track Three: Half-day management focused track for executives to understand how and why companies are using big data technologies (featuring the Microsoft Azure team & Asurian VP of Enterprise Architecture & Data Services)

Can’t make the entire event? No problem! Check out the schedule and RSVP here.

Have questions about the event or need more information? Contact Lina at DataStax or check out their event website.

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Talener

Posted in Events, News, Talener Blog

Jumping into the Job Search: Your 1st Tech Job

September 16th, 2014

503340623Last week members of Talener NYC headed downtown to meet with some of the recent graduates of Dev Bootcamp, one of the original learn-to-code intensive programs. Equipped with a knowledge of Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and a practical understanding of the tools used to manage and organize the coding process, many of these students are now on the hunt for their very first technology job.

Here’s some of the pointers we shared with their graduates to point them in the right direction for their search, whether they were interested in a career in front/back end development, quality assurance or project management:

Show You Mean Business: The fact that you made the bold move to invest serious time and money into an intensive coding bootcamp is a great indicator that you are very serious about your next career move. Relay this passion in your interview and use it craft a great story about your move. Your story will make you stand out among others who have been working in the industry for years and years.

Start with What You Know: One way to make your job search less daunting is to start by exploring options within industries you already know. Remember that in today’s age all businesses have technology departments, so connect with old contacts from prior jobs to get in the door. Your knowledge of the industry will help you transition smoothly in learning a whole new side of the business.

Make the Most of Staffing Agencies: All staffing agencies have their key accounts, so if you are contacted by a recruiter hear them out. We can’t vouch for other agencies, but we know at Talener we make sure to meet one-on-one with all potential candidates to hear what they are looking for and get to know you before working with you.

Think About the Phone Screen: Understand the point of a first-round phone screen is not to show your personality or to learn more about the job. Instead, it should be used just as a way to ensure an in person interview. Remember that no one was ever hired just from a phone call! Thinking about your phone screen this way will refocus the conversation and help guarantee a meeting where you can ask additional questions and learn more about the company and role.

What About Salaries: We did a search through our database of placed candidates who have recently graduated from similar coding programs and we found no discernible pattern when it came to pay rates or junior salaries. In NYC salaries ranged from the $50K – $90K as all companies and industries pay differently. When it comes to a first job, salary should not be a first concern. What’s more important is the experience you’ll be getting and the chance to join a team where you can quickly advance your skills.

Are you looking for your first (or tenth) tech job? Contact us today to see how we can help!

Posted in News, Talener Blog

Updates from the Tech Scene in Chicago

August 15th, 2014

It’s been a year since we opened our Chicago office and the city’s tech scene continues to boom! Some recent highlights and news from the tech scene out of the Windy City:

MerchandiseMartChicagoThe Move to Merchandise Mart: Originally opened as a wholesale showroom space in the 1930s, this sprawling building (which has its own zip code!) has expanded and evolved drastically over the years. Today, the unique floor plan is providing an attractive option for tech companies that embrace open layouts and collaborative environments. Some of the space’s upcoming tenants will include popular online review service Yelp and credit card payment software Braintree. They’ll join a number of tech companies, including 1871, a community center and digital startup coworking space, that has already made the Merch home.

From One Coworking Space to Another: Coworking options in the Windy City are also expanding, as seen with the recent announcement of Matter, a space specifically targeted for technology startups in the medical device and biopharma industries. The space, which has the backing of  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ChicagoNEXT technology and innovation council, is currently accepting applications for new tenants.

490521817Other Movers & Shakers: After a recent move from one West Loop building to another, electronic legal service provider Inventus LLC plans to double their workforce in the near future. Other tech companies in the Chicago area that have recently ramped up hiring efforts have included: Sprout Social, Codifyd Inc and Grubhub.

Work in technology and looking to make a move to Chicago? Or looking to hire? We can help! Check our job board for some of our latest openings or feel free to contact us directly!

Posted in Client News, Current Events, News, Talener Blog

Playing the Tech Startup Name Game

August 1st, 2014

Naming Your Technology StartupLet’s do a quick comparison. Think of an online directory of technology or startup companies. Now imagine the technology company section of the yellow pages (remember those?) from thirty years ago or so. Those old company names? Probably more cut and dry, flat-out descriptive (International Business Machines Corporation,) acronym-heavy, “figureoutable”(Microcomputer + Software = Microsoft), or simply based on the company’s cornerstone product or service (xerographic technology = Xerox.) In contrast, it seems like many of today’s companies read more like a jumble of Dr. Seuss character names, cutesy portmanteaus or a seemingly normal word twisted with a funky spelling or “ly” or “err” thrown on the back end.

In truth, naming your company is probably one of the biggest, early challenges a new business faces. And while sometimes the spark of inspiration is there from the start, leading to a sensible and “just right” name, in all likeliness, it doesn’t turn out like this. Instead, deciding a company is a serious exercise in brainstorming, thesaurus crawling, list making, research, testing and debate.

We put together some helpful resources from around the internet with advice for naming your new company, application or service. Take note that some of these pieces contain conflicting advice, but we wanted to show a range of opinions when it came to naming best practices.

3 Tips for Naming Your Business in the Modern, Mobile World via Entrepreneur.com

  • Short & Memorable: Some of the best company names contain 5 – 10 letters in their name, many with a hard consonant and/or a repeating letter.
  • Thinking beyond the website: Today picking a business name takes more than just confirming that it hasn’t been copyrighted before and that your ideal website domain is available. Take into account social media accounts that may use similar names and the search results that pop up when searching your new company’s potential name.

Before naming your startup, read this via The Next Web

  •  The Excuses Behind Poor Names: Julian Shapiro outlines some of the common excuses used to justify bad names, which include a lack of knowledge about your own business, laziness, and arrogance.
  • Using the Power of Online Tools: Included are some action-oriented suggestions for selecting a great name, utilizing keyword generators and domain portfolios for inspiration.

10 company name types on TechCrunch: Pros and cons via The Name Inspector

  • Breaking Down Name Types:  The Name Inspector checks into the good, bad and the ugly in the diverse variations in company names, from the punny to the purposely misspelled.

If after checking out some of these sites you’re still unsure of the direction you should go in, you could always just head over to Buzzfeed’s helpful Startup Name Generator.

Posted in Career Tips, News, Talener Blog

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