Network, Look for Job Leads at Local Barcamps

BarCamps are user-generated, participatory mini-conferences where speakers present on a variety of topics. They’re good place for you to gain some local credibility in your area of expertise as a speaker, or just discuss the latest trendy extreme tech topics with like-minded individuals.

Have you been to a BarCamp in your area? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

Last weekend’s BarCamp, hosted at the new Envylabs office in downtown Orlando, featured over 50 speakers and pulled in around 300 attendees. Topics included everything from website programming, to photography, to what it’s like to work at a startup.

Attendees included Ruby-on-Rails experts, project managers and developers of all stripes. I also met marketing consultants, sandal-wearing engineering gurus and one or two suits. It turned out to be the ultimate personal networking opportunity.

Lou Mongello’s talk, How To Make A Living From Podcasting, was particularly inspiring. He’s a Walt Disney World connoisseur and makes his living through his WDWRadio website (which isn’t affiliated with Disney, by the way). Over the last seven years, he’s broadcast interviews, trivia, ebooks, videos and all manner of information about Disney World to a growing on-line audience.

Some of his nuggets of inspiration included doing something you’re passionate about, sharply focus on your demographic, and deliver a never-ending supply of interesting new content.

It was great to see a viable business, website, and brand created out of something as arcane as a passion for Disney World, by somebody who left a lucrative lawyer position. Where else would you ever find a guy like this, except at BarCamp?

Comments

  1. BY Marland says:

    I’d would like know how could set up one of these events in my area, what resources would I need?

  2. BY Rob Reilly says:

    Marland,

    You’ll need a space, projectors, a few knowledgable speakers, attendees, some marketing, and sponsors.

    Here’s how it worked for BarCamp Orlando:

    EnvyLabs opened their office (about 20,000 sq ft or so – one whole floor) and set up 4 venues.
    Each venue had a projector (or large monitor), chairs and a screen.

    Speakers signed up the day of the event. Obviously, they knew their topic ahead of time and were ready with their talk, slides, and laptop. They posted their topic on a board, where everybody could see, then did their thing at the appointed time.

    Marketing consisted of announcements sent out through social media, Facebook, meetup.com and so on. They also had t-shirts printed up and advertised locally.

    Sponsors included, Envylabs (the venue), Maker Faire – Orlando (had a table with demos), and other local tech companies. Sponsorships are important and take a little while to establish. Envylabs staff also provided administration of the printed material and manned the conference, making sure everything ran smoothly.

    This page http://barcamp.org/w/page/404135/OrganizeALocalBarCamp has info and tips on getting started with organizing a BarCamp.

    You might find out if there is a BarCamp, in your area, and go help organize, attend, or speak, before going through all the effort to set one up on your own. Google “barcamp” and your city.

    Rob
    Mobile Development Community Guide

  3. BY greggpollack says:

    Thanks for coming it to our event Rob, bar amps are certainly a great way to meet talented people and maybe even find a job!

  4. I am ready to work at any time.

  5. BY Jeffrey says:

    So your telling me(speaking to the author of this cover) that their are job conventions out there where I don’t need to wear a suit and a tie? along with this artical, I’ve been reding alot of other Dice.com articals and it like finding a job working with computers should be as easy as applying for those stupid pyramid scheme.

    I’m a 22 year old post-graduate from a school that has gave me the ability to learn more about my passion towards the IT field. Thank the cyber-gods that I have a current job that pays alot of my bills but it doesn’t involve me with working on computers. I can really use artical to help me in landing me a job but if anything…I just want to work on computers.

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