How Cartegraph developers stay at the forefront of the tech industry
User groups are a type of club that allow users of a certain technology to meet up to share knowledge and experience with other users for the greater good of the community. In fact, Cartegraph hosts user groups nationwide for users of our software. A few years back, a fellow developer at Cartegraph had the vision to start a software development user group in our hometown of Dubuque, IA.
Since then, several more of our developers have played essential roles keeping the group moving forward into the future. From day one, Cartegraph has provided support to our group in the form of money and facilities. Several other companies in the area have also provided support, allowing us to continue hosting the group (with free pizza!) without having to charge dues.
Our group meets at Dubuque's Clarke University, which allows us to connect with local computer science students, giving them insight on what the "real-world" has to offer as far as career opportunities. On top of that, these students could become Cartegraph developers some day!
The development staff at Cartegraph takes pride in its craft. We understand that learning new things and staying educated are crucial ingredients for innovation and bringing ideas to life. As agile development practitioners, we value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Cartegraph sponsors our user group because it provides clear benefits to its developers.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love tech books. I’m constantly reading and learning new things. Some of my colleagues prefer learning from videos. But I think we all agree that the best way to learn is to watch somebody do it right in front of you. The ability to ask specific questions and get an immediate answer is invaluable when trying to understand something new, particularly in technical areas.
You don't have to be an expert to teach somebody something. I've given several talks on topics ranging from regular expression to cross-platform mobile development using HTML5. Attendees have always been willing to listen, and have always understood when I don’t have a sure answer to their question.
But the learning doesn’t stop after the session concludes. Before and after each session, there’s an opportunity to meet other people who are engaged in the same practice as you. Sometimes I learn more from a 10-minute chat after the training session than I do from the session itself. It’s collaboration like this that allows communities of learning to be built that transcend the walls of a single company.
Our group consists of members from several Dubuque-area companies. Some write software that is then sold to customers. Some write software to provide infrastructure to the business’ operations. We all face unique challenges, but solutions often overlap. By getting together and sharing our best practices, we become better equipped to provide effective solutions to those challenges.
With the help of sponsors like Cartegraph, we can grow our user group, in order to continue providing value to those communities, for the good of our company, our community, and our profession.
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