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How to get involved in #dctech, a beginner’s guide

Previously confined to the inside of a private notebook, today we're sharing our guide with you.

But what's the definition of #DCTech? (Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)
From time to time we at Technical.ly DC get approached by a #dctech newcomer looking for tips on the ecosystem layout and suggestions for how to get involved. To streamline these meetings, we made a handy-dandy guide.

Previously confined to the inside of a private notebook, today we’re sharing that guide with you. It’s targeted at a beginner, but who knows — maybe local startup vets will find something of value here, too. And so without further delay, here are nine ways to get (more) involved in #dctech.

1. Open a web browser and type in “www.meetup.com

  • Filter by “tech” and “Washington, D.C.” to surface a list of events happening in the area. It’s sure to be long — find one that sounds interesting and RSVP.

2. Skip the first part of the process above and just check when the next DC Tech Meetup is happening

  • The popular monthly event regularly draws crowds in the hundreds, so it’s a good place to get facetime with a bunch of ecosystem players all at once. Sign up to pitch your startup on stage if you’re ready for that, or make an announcement during the open mic portion of the evening (just keep it to 20 seconds.)

3. Read Technical.ly DC!

  • Yes, this is a shameless plug and yes, by virtue of the fact that you’re reading this you’re already on board. Thanks for being here ?. DCInno is another great publication for staying up to date on #dctech news and events.

4. Find your tribe

  • Are you a woman in tech? Founder of color? Ruby on Rails engineer? Virtual reality enthusiast? There are (in many cases multiple) groups for each of these interest groups and more — look for specific events that fit your identity or cater to what you’re trying to achieve.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask people for suggestions or help

  • The #dctech community prides itself on being welcoming and friendly. This includes yours truly.

6. Check out 1776

  • The local incubator and seed fund is often thought of as the epicenter of the local tech scene. It also (together with General Assembly, which is housed in the same building) holds regular free events.

7. Find a wing(wo)man

  • This is a strategy your humble reporter used a lot when getting to know #dctech — there are certain players in the community who just seem to know everyone. Event organizers, like the group that organizes DC Tech Meetup, The Vinetta Project’s Amelia Friedman and others are often these people. Hang out with one of these people at an event (though probably not an event they’re hosting — they’ll be a bit busy) and you’re sure to walk away with some valuable introductions.

8. Don’t be intimidated

  • Recently, at an event, Technical.ly noticed a young woman who raised her hand and boldly identified herself as a soon-to-be college grad searching for a job in tech. A week later, we saw her at another (very different) event. There’s no doubt in our mind that, after hustling to a few events and paying attention, this young woman started to recognize some key faces — the core of the active #dctech community just isn’t that big. So don’t be intimidated, you’ll figure out the lay of the land soon enough.

9. Keep up on social

What did we miss? What strategies have you found helpful in getting to know the #dctech community? Tweet us and let us know.

Companies: 76 Forward / General Assembly

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