Nottingham is a city with hidden depths. Built around sandstone outcrops there are many tunnels and shelters hewn into the bedrock that are found all around the area. Some who grew up with the legend of Robin Hood, whose has close associations with Nottingham, believe the Robin & his followers hid in caves occasionally.
Fast forward to more recent times and the TechNation 2018 report insights for Nottingham describes the city as a “Meetup Hub” with a £1.3 billion tech turnover.
Nottingham’s not-so-secret weapon is the strength of talent it has across a wide variety of tech sectors. From gaming to science; pharmaceuticals to finance; startups to world leaders, there is a lot going on in and around the city. With so much going on it can sometimes feel like work happens in isolated ‘caves’. It is Nottingham’s vibrant ‘meetup hub’ that is really unlocking extra value as we come together, learn more about each other, share our experiences, and meet new people.
The growth of Tech Nottingham
My first experience of tech meetups was back in 2010 when GeekUp Nottingham was born. In fact, my first experience of speaking in Nottingham was in March 2011. From that small seed, where 6 to 8 people would gather together, the event grew into Tech Nottingham in 2014.
Whilst Nottingham today has a rich variety of meetups, I don’t personally believe the city’s tech scene would be as strong as it is without Tech Nottingham and the tireless work of Andrew & Emma Seward and the rest of the team. The core mission to “Make Nottingham a better place to live and work in technology” has no greater legacy than the support and growth of meetups and speakers that have directly and indirectly benefitted from Tech Nottingham.
A quick look at the Nottingham.digital website which lists most digital meetups in Nottingham shows 33 events currently listed; from tech, design, and ops topics. All free to attend in a wide range of locations with businesses and sponsors helping to make these events possible.
A seat of learning
Nottingham is blessed with two world-class universities ( Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent University ) and colleges. The benefit of strong ties into these institutions means more students are encouraged to take placements and find jobs in the local area.
Meetups offer a change for students to get a better idea of what opportunities or topics are available around Nottingham and challenges the oft-held assumption that London is the next logical step for tech industry opportunities. The support flows into universities themselves with business and individuals volunteering their time to judge competitions, give guest lectures on business topics, or support the growing tech focussed student societies on campuses.
The Nottingham Growth Plan has several strategies defined including ‘Developing a skilled workforce’.
The next evolution
I invite you to step out of your ‘cave’, share what you’re working on, meet new people, and listen & meet those who are contributing to the success of this exciting city.
It’s great to see a new generation inspired by Robin Hood; taking from the rich and giving to the poor. However instead of wealth redistribution, it’s experience we’re sharing. Nottingham is full of opportunities for you to draw from people with rich experiences and grow your career and personal opportunities in this city of legends.