This post is Part 1 in Leading a WordPress Meetup Group. Read Part 2 if you're looking to start one.

One of the things that I love about the development community – regardless of what language, platform, or technology used – is that we love holding meetups in order to get together and chat about what’s relevant to our work as well as to help one another get better at what we do.

Last year, shortly after WordCamp Atlanta, I ended up joining my local WordPress Developer Meetup group (and props to Naomi C. Bush for putting that together).

One of the challenges of holding a developer-specific meetup group is that it can seem irrelevant to even those who may be considered advanced users versus, y’know, developers.

As such, Naomi and I are working together to increase the quality of the group by widening the scope. We also have some plans to help to keep those of you who aren’t local to stay up to date with what our group is doing.

In the this posts and the one following, I want to share what we’re doing locally and then some tips that we’ve learned from experience as to what you can do locally to help begin a local development group.

WordPress Gwinnett

WordPress Gwinnett

When the group first started, we were on the heels of WordCamp Atlanta (by the way, are you coming this year?) so the local community was generally excited and overall jazzed about all things WordPress.

But as the year passed and we got busy with life, the group ended up being a relatively small group of core people. Throughout the year, we ended up discussing several things:

  • Things that each of us were learning in current projects
  • Questions and answers for certain projects we were working on
  • Presentations on unit testing within WordPress
  • Code Reviews of our plugins and themes
  • The State of the Word 2012

Overall, I think the group was successful, but we’re looking to help make it even better. In the coming year, we’re looking to expand this group to include topics that are relevant not only for developers, but for advanced users as well.

You can follow the meetup on Twitter at @WPGwinnett and on our homepage, as well.

Should I Attend?

Of course, this raises the question: What is an advanced user?

The way I see it, an advanced user is someone who is comfortable:

  • Downloading, installing, and configuring WordPress
  • Familiar with how to setup WordPress on a local machine
  • Is comfortable downloading, installing, and configuring themes and plugins
  • Relatively familiar with HTML and CSS (and potentially JavaScript)
  • Has an interest to learn more especially as it relates to writing code for WordPress

If you fall into that category, then absolutely think it’s worth dropping by. If nothing else, join the meetup group and feel free to ask any additional questions there (or here in the comments).

And What Are The Topics?

To kick off the year, we’re going to begin talking Theme Development in February and Plugin Development in March. As I mentioned, this is typically geared towards advanced users, but even if you’ve never written a theme or a plugin and are interested, feel free to come by.

Obviously this post is heavily targeting my local community, but in the next post I’ll be sure to share some practical tips for hosting your own local meetup group. It also ties into a few things we want to begin doing with WP Daily, as well.