As we dart into the technological age at breakneck speed, the number of career and casual tech-savvy people increases – so it only makes sense that these dexterous individuals are creating their own networking communities, including one right here in North Queensland.
DevNQ is a community of software developers, programmers, designers, project managers and other professionals, amateurs or students interested in software development from throughout the region, brought together by group founder Tristan Davey.
Tristan formed the group in 2016 when he saw the need to provide a focal point for the industry in North Queensland, one which was sorely lacking in the professional development and networking opportunities afforded by our metropolitan cousins in Brisbane and Sydney.
“When I would travel to these centres I would see the amazing communities and skills that grew out of regular meet-ups and user groups,” Tristan said.
“I saw the industries that grew off the back of individuals who were engaged and learning from a community of like-minded individuals.
“Back in Townsville, I also saw first-hand the number of university graduates, and even established professionals, that would end up moving to Brisbane, Sydney or even Palo Alto, San Francisco or Seattle. Often this was simply because they didn’t have contact with the outstanding businesses and talented individuals we have here in the North.”
Since DevNQ was initiated, the group has grown to around 200 members throughout North Queensland, with 40 or more regularly attending the monthly events held in Townsville.
There is also an active Slack (online chat platform) community, as well as a weekly ‘Code Club’ meet up and live streams of many of their educational events on YouTube.
The group recently held a Hackathon event, with 30 competitors forming six teams. The winning team, CodeCrack, developed a system for teaching students how to program which could automatically validate the functionality and quality of the students’ code, providing them with instant feedback. The team worked the full 24 hours around the clock to build their app and deliver it on time.
“The Hackathon was a huge success,” Tristan said.
“Teams worked on a variety of problems from digitally validating educational certifications, to building games around homework for primary school students.
“The winning team, consisting of André de Jager, Alex Scott, Joanne Walter and Caleb MacDonald Black, plan to commercialise the project as a product in the coming months at DevNQ Code Club.”
It wouldn’t be the first DevNQ app on the market.
“Last year a group of DevNQ members used our weekly Code Club events to build ‘Rudolph,’ an app for discovering Christmas light displays,” Tristan said.
“It launched last Christmas to great success and plans to return this festive season bigger than ever.”
Tristan cited the group’s wide member base as part of its success.
“Our community is successful because we have support and engagement from many local Townsville employers and their employees,” he said.
“Some of our members are high school students interested in pursuing careers in software engineering, university students studying IT and hobbyists.
“Other members are established in software industry roles (e.g., software engineers, designers and local business owners), whilst others are educators, product and graphic designers, and even scientists who use programming as part of their discipline.
“There are many more businesses in North Queensland doing innovative things with technology and we want to hear from them! There is always something more our members can learn from you or your employee’s experiences or things your business can learn from others.”