beaumont.js: Calling All SETX Coders

- 3 mins
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Something interesting happened in Beaumont on Monday. beaumont.js conducted its first ever meeting. What’s that you say? What is beaumont.js? It is a veritable geek-gathering of software engineers, web developers, graphic designers, data-wranglers, SEO specialists, teachers and anyone else interested in building stuff for the interwebs.

From beaumontjs.org:

beaumont.js is a monthly meetup for web developers in the Beaumont, Texas area. Come discuss what you’ve been working on and learning, and get a chance to meet other people in the area passionate about programming for the web.

After all the attendees finished adding their info to the Fibonacci sequence numbered sign-in sheet, Joah Gerstenberg, the group’s founder, kicked off the meeting by defining the group. He first outlined what the gathering is not: a place where any form of harassment is tolerated. As such, members will follows the JSConf Code of Conduct:

JSConf is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.

tl;dr don’t harass people.

Next, Joah defined what beaumont.js is: a place to meet like minded people, foster community growth, de-stress, share knowledge, and provide leadership opportunities.

If you’ve been in the Beaumont area for any length of time, you know that people passionate about computer technology makeup a small minority of Southeast Texans. Although there are small enclaves of computer nerds here and there, many enthusiasts and professionals move off to Austin, Houston, or Dallas – areas that typically offer better opportunities to those hoping to make careers in the tech field. beaumont.js seeks to change that by providing a place to destress with coffee and code.

Using slides riddled with funny GIFs, Joah finished the introduction by explaining his plan for the structure of future meetings. The format is simple. Meetings will consist of 1-2 short technicals talks delivered by any member on any topic within the scope of web development, a passion talk from a member about anything they are passionate about (anything – well, anything that fits within JsConf Code of Conduct), then discussion and sharing time – the most important section of the meetup, devoted to giving members an opfportunity to “connect, network, and learn from each other.”

Monday night’s meeting, however, proceeded first with a get-to-know-you session. Going around the room one at a time, each person introduced themselves, talking about family, interests, skill-sets, and careers. The skills and interests were wide and varied, and the professional experience diverse; the job titles included data analysts, marketing specialists, front-end web developers, server-side software engineers, graphic designers, teachers and technical support agents.

After the short meet-and-greet, members of Capital One’s Spark Pay dev team kicked-off the sharing session by discussing their use of various Javascript frameworks including Angular and React. Then, Joah shared a personal project, chs.xyz – a chess app built with Ruby on Rails that pairs players together and features a chatbox that supports Markdown.

Other projects included a code snippet sharer that utilizes the Stanfford Javascript Crypto Library to send and recieve encrpyted chunks of code, and an animated beating heart constructed with CSS and Javascript built by Haley, a math teacher (and Joah’s Fiancee ). I even got to talk about my current learning project – a presidential candidate social media statistic tracker built on C#.NET. I’m a little self-conscious about my code, so hearing positive feedback from people more knowledgeable than myself was a huge motivation boost.

Overall, it was an awesome night of coffee and code, and I look forward to our next meeting Tuesday, January 19 at 6:00pm at Sertinos in Beaumont. If you’re interested in attending, checkout the beaumontjs.org and RSVP on Meetup.com.

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