Monday, 16 January 2017

Take the lead - in your local Developer community

Related Reading: The Salesforce Developer Career eBook

Ever wonder who those super-stars are who run one of the hundreds of Developer User Groups around the world? Do you see the DUG Leaders getting shout-outs in Salesforce Podcasts, keynotes and blogs and think 'who are these heroes, and where did they come from?' ...

Well the answer is, they are actually most likely folks just like you; and therefore you can be one too!



Five years ago, the Directors at Desynit were talking to Chris Lewis and myself about some great times they used to have in London when they ran an occasional knees-up for the CA Plex developer community that they called Plex in the City. They just picked and broadcast a date and a pub, put it on some Plex forums, and developers turned up and had a great time. They made connections 14+ years ago that they still keep now, and every now and then the phone still rings at Desynit from someone looking for the "Plex development team" here..

This led Chris and I to decide to start “Force by Forcewest” a developer user group for Force.com Developers in the Southwest of England.


So we sent some e-mails, created a Facebook and Twitter page, and made a tiny flag which we stuck in an upside down plastic cup. When the date rolled around the two of us went nervously to the pub at the arranged time - and waited...

..and you know what; out of the dark, developers turned up!

We had a great time swapping stories, debating and drinking a few beers, and we agreed to do it again. I met some people on that very first meetup in 2011 whom I am still friends with today. More importantly, it went on to me discovering the vast and supportive Salesforce community - for which I now hope I am a useful part!

It was at Dreamforce 2012 I saw a session by Andy Boettcher titled “How to run a Salesforce developer user group” - I thought I’d struck gold, a kindred spirit! I was first in line for the session, and so imagine my surprise when he introduced both April Nassi - head of Developer Relations at Salesforce, and the fact that already there were already dozens of groups all over the country. After the session I spoke to Andy and April, and she set me up with all the information I needed to run a local Salesforce developer user group… both the Meetup group page, the financial support Salesforce can offer for hiring meeting facilities and food/drink and within a couple of weeks, a great big box of t-shirts, caps, books and even a Salesforce iPod to use as a prize or giveaway!

Within 6 months we were up and running, a new official Salesforce DUG for Bristol - and I was suddenly one of those heroes I thought the world of!

If you have even the slightest desire to get involved in your local developer community, you have a couple of options: find your nearest one and go along, or if there isn’t one near enough be your own local hero and start it up! If you are worried about the work load - firstly, it’s really not that hard(!) and secondly, you will probably find within a meetup or two that there are a couple of other people who will be keen to get involved and help organise events with you.

To find your nearby group head over to https://www.meetup.com/topics/salesforce/ and check out the map.

Have a browse over the DUG FAQs on the Salesforce developer blog

Get in touch with @Salesforcedevs on Twitter where you will get answers to everything you need to know! The DUG Leaders have their own amazing leadership team directly within Salesforce, we have a Slack channel, a Mobilize feed, and a DUG leadership group, which has occasional worldwide conference calls for sharing ideas - getting updates from Salesforce and feeding back on our experience running the groups. It’s a great bunch of people to be a part of.

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