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Communities / Events / meetups / Philly Tech Week / Super Meetup

Philly’s tech meetups are back IRL. Here’s where to find a bunch of them in May

"There is a pent-up demand for local tech meetups, as people miss both the content and the fellowship," one organizer told us. Catch these groups at Philly Tech Week 2023.

Super Meetup 2019. (Gif by Paige Gross via a video by Sam Markowitz)
Though the pandemic shuttered in-person meetups for at least a year, Philly’s tech community didn’t stop meeting.

Many turned virtual, or picked back up where they left off some time in 2021 or 2022. And in 2023, it’s clear that meetup groups in Philly have picked up steam.

Ed Keenan, an organizer of Philadelphia JavaScript Developers, got involved with the organization in November of last year. The meetup had been dormant throughout the pandemic, and the handful of virtual events they did host “lacked traction and attendees,” he told Technical.ly in an email.

But the org recently hosted its first IRL meetup since 2020 on March 2, and saw about 50 attendees join in Center City, Keenan said. Since the fall, Philadelphia JavaScript Developers has added more than 200 people to its user group, with weekly growth.

“Really showed us that people are hungry for more in-person events, mostly just to network with like-minded peers as they work for remote companies all over the US,” Keenan said.

Tim Allen, organizer of Philadelphia Python Users Group (aka PhillyPUG) said his meetup group had also tried some Zoom events, but attendance was low. But the group found success in March when it, too, hosted its first in-person event since before the pandemic, this one in a partnership with DataPhilly.

“The human connection is just far superior to virtual Zoom events. The community is thriving and doing well.”Yingquan Li DataPhilly

“We are thrilled to report that we had one of our biggest turnouts ever, standing room only! All the pizza was demolished, people were hugging old friends, and the talks and discussion were great,” Allen said in an email. “It feels to me like there is a pent-up demand for local tech meetups, as people miss both the content and the fellowship.”

Yingquan Li, an organizer of DataPhilly, said his group never stopped meeting throughout the pandemic. He called its continuation “a blessing,” as well as a challenge.

“After the pandemic, we noticed that people are more interested in in-person events to connect with their fellow technologists,” Li said in an email. “The human connection is just far superior to virtual Zoom events. The community is thriving and doing well.”

There’s been a resurgence in the tech community’s networking and continued learning, said Joe Woods, director of the 2022-launched Philadelphia JavaScript Club. He hasn’t just seen this among software developers, but across a bunch of fields.

“I think many of us have the same drive to share our stories that we’ve always had,” Woods said. “As we adapt to the changing world around us, I’m glad that meetups continue to provide a great place to learn new things, get to know new people, and break into new industries.”

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Interested in joining a local tech meetup, or finding out what they’re all about? You’re not alone. As Technical.ly staffers began planning the slate of events for Philly Tech Week presented by Comcast 2023, running May 4 through 13, we kept hearing from meetup organizers that they’d like the chance to get everyone together. So, after the Technical.ly Developers Conference on May 10, you can join an impromptu Super Meetup.

Yep — that’s a call-out to an event we used to host where we’d bring together as many active tech meetups as possible to encourage organizers and members alike to meet each other.

So from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10 at HealthVerity’s Center City offices, you’ll find folks from:

And if you’re interested in joining a meetup group, but won’t be around that day (or are looking for a different specialty), we’ve rounded up some of the other active, Philly-based meetup groups for you to check out:

We’re sure we’re missing a few, so please reach out if you have an active meetup group in the region you’d like us to include in that list: philly@technical.ly.

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All the organizers we spoke to emphasized that the in-person meetings they’d been having lately are the heart and soul of why they got involved.

“In our case, I don’t think the pandemic has changed our purpose, but has underlined how important our purpose is,” Allen told Technical.ly. “We’re a bridge: we bring people together.”

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