By Ashley Forseille, Operations Coordinator at Dyspatch
Dyspatch (formerly Sendwithus) has always been a community-focused company. From organizing the next Battlesnake or Startup Slam, sponsoring local hackathons, to providing mentorship to students and young professionals, we believe that building our community is just as important as growing our business. A strong, vibrant, and diverse community means that our team is able to connect with peers, talk through projects and problems, and learn about exciting new technologies.
“Community events are so important in creating a welcoming industry and city. I moved to Victoria four years ago, and I didn’t know anyone! Attending local events with like-minded individuals allowed me to build my network and grow a friendship circle. It’s one of the reasons I got involved with Ladies Learning Code and why so many other women have done the same.” – Julianne Johnson || Canada Learning Code, Victoria Chapter Lead
Our team members support a wide variety of community events and organizations and I love to hear about what they’re involved in. Because our HQ in Victoria is home to our engineering teams, a lot of our community focus here is on growing options for developers locally. Our devs are mentors and instructors with Canada Learning Code, they meet for con•cat Breakfast Club on Thursday mornings and support HighTechU, and they spend their free time building the new Battlesnake open source project.
For a city of its size, Victoria offers a wide variety of options for folks working in all aspects of tech, options that provide opportunities to find peers, mentors, and professional development. I have always found the community here very welcoming to newcomers, so if something interests you, don’t hesitate to give it a try.
“There’s definitely a burgeoning tech scene in #yyj, but until you’ve broken into the bubble a bit, it can be tough to know what’s going on. The local meetups and community events become a great way to start to make those connections.” Jem Bezooyen || con•cat organizer
For UVic and Camosun students, there are tons of opportunities to gain experience and start networking before looking for your first co-op. We know you’re already excited for the next Startup Slam (September 2018) and Battlesnake (March 2019). These events can be a great way to connect with local startups and talk dream jobs with companies like GitHub and Google. If you’re a Capstone student, the Camosun College Web & Social Media Meetup will help you network with your peers. UVic also has some active clubs like, GameDev, WebDev, and Women in Engineering and Computer Science (WECS). Make sure to check out their events, such as HackUVic, Hackathing, and the WECS Speaker’s Series.
For non-technical folk like me, Canada Learning Code workshops are an accessible and fun way to better understand the software and technologies that our stellar development teams use to build and improve the Sendwithus and Dyspatch products. PeopleOps has also been an important resource, from crowdsourcing information on the PeopleOps Slack Workspace to attending workshops on HR-related topics.
The community in Victoria is successful in large part because of the hours that our amazing local organizers put into planning and hosting workshops and events. Thank you for your commitment!
“Every community event I’ve been involved in planning has been about sharing knowledge. WhiskyDev is something pretty different than a lot of the other meetup type events I’d seen in town. I’d attended things like the Java Users Group, GeoGeeks, and the StartUp Meetup. [Java Users Group and GeoGeeks] happened rarely because they were so content heavy. StartUp Meetup was interesting, but there were only a few devs that attended regularly, so I felt like an outsider. With WhiskyDev it seemed like a great, casual way to get to know other devs in the community, network, and meet people with a broad array of skills and knowledge.” Jamie Starke || Co-Founder of WhiskyDev and Organizer for DevOpsDays Victoria
All of this is not to say that Victoria is the perfect community. We still have work to do to make sure that all people feel welcome at events and find equal opportunities for finding mentors, learning, and building community. Organizations like YYJTech Ladies and Canada Learning Code are helping to create a stronger community for female-identified folks working in tech, but we still struggle with encouraging and supporting members of other underrepresented groups.
Organizations like YYJTech and HighTechU have put in place structures to help improve diversity in tech in Victoria, and I hope that by integrating diversity and inclusion initiatives into existing events, more and more diverse community members will be encouraged to get involved. This is something that Dyspatch is committed to in our events and we hope other organizers are as well.
Speaking of which, if you’re one of those organizers and you’re looking for a space to hold a community event, we have a free space available and would love to have you. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.