As a wise man once said, “strange things are afoot at the Circle K”. If you haven’t noticed, things are starting to move pretty fast in Nashville. This past year we had 5 community run events/conferences, a user group holiday party, and many other smaller events including user group meetups and hack nights. Some would call it a banner year for Nashville’s developers. However, as awesome as the past year was, there are still some pretty big questions floating around:
- How do we find developers to fill the positions that are available in Nashville?
- How do we keep the developers we have from leaving?
- How do we compete with other regions in such a competitive market?
- Basically, how do we as a community, as employers, as a city encourage and retain developers here in Nashville?
The simple answer is community/culture. We have to continue building our community and culture into something the developers want to be a part of. So how do we do that, what are some of the steps we can take? Below I’ve outlined a few ideas I’ve had that I think will help us continue the growth that we are seeing now.
We need to encourage the continued growth of the developer community. Developers want to be around other developers. It doesn’t matter how many “cool” places to hang out are created in Nashville, if we don’t have a strong and vibrant community, we won’t attract the people that we want and need. We have a growing culture around the user groups within Nashville that is encouraging cross platform and cross language collaboration. The user groups offer education, comradery, and connections that allow developers to flourish. We as a larger community should get behind the user groups and help support them. They are on the ground level in helping attract and keep developers in Nashville. The more successful they are, the more successful our city will become.
We can also focus on developing a culture of acceptance, use, and contributing to open source software. Open source is big and is only getting bigger. In Nashville alone, there are 603 people who are contributing code in some form or another on Github.com, a code sharing and collaboration website with a focus on open source software. There are 400 people who have at least 1 or more public repositories. Open source is both a boon to developers and to companies alike. It allows both to showcase interesting ideas they are working on, as well as use the greater community to build something that resource wise would be unattainable in a closed source project.
As I said above, we are at a crossroads. The need for developers is at an all time high and only growing. Our best bet is to continue to encourage the growth at the grassroots level, to showcase our town through the developers that already live here. Let’s continue to grow the culture and community and see where we can go.