There are nearly 300,000 Meetup groups in upwards of 200 countries. These groups cover a large variety of interests, including technology, writing, and fitness, to name a few. After joining and hosting several Meetups, we’ve compiled a list of reasons Meetups can be beneficial to you both personally and professionally.
Networking – Social or Professional
If you are new to an area or have made a career change, Meetups can be your ticket to meeting new people, making connections, and getting immersed in the local community. Each connection made at a Meetup can hold an endless amount of possibilities, whether it’s a new friendship, a step towards a new career, or exposure to potential partnerships. There are some Meetup groups that are solely focused on the social gathering aspect of networking. For example, the Loudoun Agile Network (LAN) https://www.meetup.com/Loudoun-Agile-Network/ Meetup group brings Agile enthusiasts together to network and learn from each other. Similarly, and with groups all over the world, Women Who Code offers a space for women in technology careers to get together to learn, write, or work on code for school, personal, or work projects. Overall, Meetups are a welcoming place for socializing, learning, and sharing experiences.
Because Meetup groups can be specific to an industry, activity, or topic, they allow you to meet people with similar interests and experiences. For example, those starting their careers can attend Meetups to learn some of the basics in their field or gain familiarity in an area necessary for their job. Conversely, if there is a domain that you are passionate about and willing to share your expertise and experience, you can also start your own Meetup group. NOVA UX is an excellent example of a Meetup group that has been around for several years and has nearly 5,000 members (as of publication). This group meets monthly for events that promote knowledge sharing, such as presentations by expert speakers on topics ranging from data-driven storytelling to inclusive design. Meetups allow individuals to be both the student and the teacher, creating an environment of knowledge sharing where people can grow their skill sets, whether job related or not.
You can also use Meetup to assess where the market is heading, especially in the IT community. Tools, technologies, frameworks, and methodologies are constantly changing, so keeping an eye on existing Meetup groups that are rebranding or new ones that are popping up is a great way to get insights. DevOpsDC is an example of a group that provides a good pulse on what new technologies are gaining momentum relating to the CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) pipeline.
These are only a few reasons why Meetups can be extremely valuable on both a professional and personal level. In today’s world of ever-changing restrictions on social gatherings, many Meetup groups have adapted by going virtual so members can still reap the benefits from the comfort of their own home. Whether you are looking to get involved with the local community or propel your career forward, Meetups can be a great starting point in the process.