Have you ever been asked about something you believed in 100% and struggled to find the words to explain why you felt that way? When it comes to Suncoast Developers Guild (SDG) I am happy to say I don't feel that struggle. So let's pretend anyone reading this asked me why I believe in SDG so I can share my view.
There are several reasons why I wholeheartedly believe SDG is needed and benefits the Tampa Bay community. I hope that once I am done, you might feel the same way (at least about a few).
1. SDG loves the Tampa Bay tech community
The SDG team is a family of people that love the Tampa Bay area and want to see it continue to flourish. It's easy to take a job and only put in the minimum, but this team has taken what was a job and turned it into a passion for teaching and helping the local tech community grow. SDG is a place for the tech community to come work, learn, and participate with the next generation of developers.
2. Opening doors for new coders and strengthening the workforce
Four years ago, I was looking for a new path and found an immersive code school which over time brought together the SDG team. Now that team is providing an ever-changing, fast-paced opportunity that allows a non-coder (like I was) to have a chance to start a career after a short period of learning. Taking that leap can be scary and SDG provides a safe and nurturing environment built for fast-paced learning.
Being a part of tech means you have to learn to evolve and SDG helps their students to not only learn to think as a developer but to be able to continue to evolve as things change in the tech world. By bringing in these fresh faces to the tech community, there is a ripple effect. Experienced developers that have been around and are stuck in their ways are pushed to learn as these new developers enter the workforce. Not only that, but these new developers also provide a reason for more experienced developers to share their knowledge as mentors. This opens experienced developers up to learning something new as they explain something they may have done a thousand times before.
3. Helping to develop a stronger tech community
Not only is SDG an immersive code school but it is also a community center. By hosting events such as hackathons and meetups they create a space filled with ideas and passion for development. Bringing different groups and skill levels together again reinforces the sharing of ideas and knowledge. These hosted events also create a wider network opportunity for developers. Building a strong network of contacts can often lead to new opportunities for work and increasing knowledge.
4. Introducing more women and minorities to the tech community
I'm sure everyone has heard by now that the majority of developers and leaders in the tech world are Caucasian males. SDG is trying to help break down some of the barriers that keep women and minority groups from believing that they too can have a successful career as a developer. Offering an alternative educational setting is sometimes all a person might need to get started. SDG provides free crash courses, run by staff and volunteers, to introduce new areas of tech for those that are not sure if they would want to take the leap. The immersive setting alone is sometimes enough because it does not require a person to spend two to four years in a program that provides instruction on topics that will be outdated by the time they graduate.
5. SDG is for the community and by the community.
SDG took the non-profit route in order to provide a service to the community and also to be inclusive. Our alumni and advisory board are part of that community and SDG rely heavily on their participation. Their participation is what will help keep the program and the community moving forward, improving the education provided and sending talented new developers into the workforce.