NomadJS: A new way to learn

Almost two years ago a friend and fellow conference speaker, Cal Evans, began an interesting experiment: a virtual PHP usergroup he called NomadPHP. The event started small, just a dozen or so attendees, which isn't out of the ordinary for a usergroup generally. But the meetings had fantastic speakers focusing on deep technical content. That idea has blossomed into another endeavor: our new group called NomadJS. I want to take a few minutes to introduce to this group, ask for your help, and invite you to join us.

Top Shelf

You might be wondering how NomadJS differentiates itself from any other online learning tool. There are hordes of truly wonderful videos online to learn not only JavaScript, but any other technology, and we're not trying to replace them. If you need to learn Angular directives you can find plenty of content to do just that. We want to provide a place where you can learn new things, topics you might not have even thought you needed to know.

And we're going to make sure you're learning those new things from the best folks around. We seek out experienced conference speakers and make sure they are compensated because we value their knowledge and commitment. Our recent speakers are core contributors to popular libraries, keynote speakers, and O'Reilly authors. Additionally, these meetings are live, meaning you get to ask all of the questions that are on your mind.

And we want to foster a community. We want NomadJS to be a true usergroup, where the attendees participate by suggesting topics, asking questions, sharing knowledge, and generally making everyone feel welcome. This brings me to my first request for help: we need you to participate! Hit us up on Twitter, join us in IRC (#nomadjs on freenode), and contribute to the conversation! You can help shape this community and ensure that our content is relevant and exciting.

What about my local group?

Just as we are not trying to replace all that wonderful content already online, we are not trying to replace local (IRL) usergroups. Virtual learning and communities have a lot of benefits, but they can't replace real human interaction. Get out there and share what you know, meet some new folks, and learn smething new!

One of the reasons we started the Nomad* groups is for those folks that don't have a usergroup in their area. For you folks we say this: start one! We have resources to help you, reach out to us! In addition to guidance and connections, we'd love to offer your local group (old or new) a free ticket to give away at your next meeting. (Also, usergroup leaders are always welcome to join our meetings for free!)

What's next?

Here's where we have to ask for your help again: in addition to joining in the conversation, we need your help to promote the group. Share it with your friends and colleagues. Write a blog post on your experiences with the group (if you've joined us for one of our meetings). And if you want to help in other ways, just let us know!

We're three meetings into NomadJS and we're growing well. We want to see you at the next meeting in January. We're going to have Jafar Husain from Netflix in our seesion talking about "The End of the Loop" and writing elegant asynchronous code. Then in February we have Margaret Leibovic from Mozilla talking about how Firefox uses generators in their own code.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to Cal and Kathy Evans (EICC) for starting NomadPHP, contacting me about NomadJS, and for all of their wonderful support in administering NomadJS. (They take a lot of the load off of me for most of the back end work that needs to be done.)

Published on December 17, 2014