Tonight was my second Philly on Rails (or Philly.rb) Pub Night. There were noticeably less people than last time, but it was better as a result. It was like going from a class of thirty in high school to a class of ten or fifteen in college. You get more time to interact and to talk and to share ideas so you wind up getting a lot more out of it.
The topics of conversation were diverse and interesting, as usual. John, an animation programmer and Ruby enthusiast, explained about this place in Philly where developers can go work in an office-like environment on free lance projects. To go work there you have to pay a small fee and in exchange, you get a quiet place to work on your projects and you’ve got lots of smart people there to ask questions to if you need it. It’s mainly people who work for themselves, but who do not want to work in isolation. Cool cool cool. If possible, I’m going to take a day off work and join them for a day.
What hasn’t ceased to amaze me is the level of diversity among the attendees. There is a wide range of backgrounds and experience among the folks who join Philly.rb each month. The ages range from 18-50 with the majority around 25. Some are married with kids, others are single and thrilled about it. Some program for a living, others do it part time. Some are startup types, others like the big-company security. You wouldn’t be able to tell that most are developers. What we do share, other than being almost entirely male, is a desire for a community of like-minded developers to socialize with.
Alan, a really smart and down to earth guy, said that he also attends the New York Ruby meetings from time to time as well. They are also twice a month and rotate locations in Manhattan. They’ll probably be some long nights, but I’m going to try to make it to a few of them too. I think he said there were hack nights, where people basically get together to write code, and instructional nights, similar to what Philly.rb did last week. Those meetings are apparently on a much larger scale though, with 30-50 people attending on average, many of whom are well known in the Ruby and Rails communities.
Should be a good time.